FuFu Travel - Kota Kinabalu, Sabah -
18 - 24 April 2009 + Episode Five + Mount Kinabalu +
Blessed with an astonishing variety of flora and fauna, Mount Kinabalu is one of the rich botanical paradises in the world where the climbers will fully enjoy the exotic rare flowering plants, orchids, birds and many more.
The popular ornamental plants, Medinilla.
The park has been proclaimed as an area with the richest diversity of flora and fauna, continually attracted naturalists and mountaineers from around the world since it was established.
A very special red coloured fern.
This atomic shaped plant is so cute!
One of the wild orchids thriving in Kinabalu Park.
The lovely cluster of little tiny flowers.
The pretty moss covered on a tree.
This is the best i could capture since birds are not easily snap.
Squirrels are easily seen at Mempening Shelter.
The squirrel back to his own nest eating the bread i gave.
You will be blessed with these rare and captivating sights.
The insect eating pitcher plants.
Layang-Layang Shelter is the area which abounds with the insect eating pitcher plants for which Kinabalu is famous. Ten out of 36 species in Borneo are found in the Park, three species of pitcher plants grow on the mountain are found nowhere else in the world.
The dried/dead pitcher plant.
These include the spectacular Nepenthes Rajah, the largest pitcher plant in the world. The pitcher plants are delicate and easily damaged by trampling feet. Thus, look carefully where you tread.
It's great to see these pitcher plants in near distance.
The pitcher plants hang from tendrils.
These pitcher plants look very cute.
The unique plant found near the pitcher plants.
This little Rhododendrons thrive in the crevices on the summit.
It's below 0°C. Yet the frost never kill the tough Rhododendrons.
Stunted shrubs, tough grasses and flowers in the crevices.
They boom in the harsh weather conditions on the summit.
I love this beautiful orange-coloured species of Rhododendrons.
Please salute to these tough flora thriving on the summit!
The stunted trees cover the granodiorite boulders.
Here, you are able to see many oddly shaped stunted trees.
The wide view of the peaks of Mount Kinabalu.
A breathtaking view over the mountains around Mount Kinabalu.
Particularly love the distinctive South Peak of Mount Kinabalu.
While it does not require special skills to do the climb, you must also at least have the very basic fitness condition. Adapting to the height is not really an issue, because the Low's Peak (4095.2m) is not that high if compared to Mount Everest, which is almost 8840 m above sea level. Also, the whole climb lasts about 24 hours, within 24 hours you go up and down.
The beginning of the forest trail i like the most!
The wooden paved path.
The staircase of gnarled tree roots.
The forest covered in spongy mosses and liverworts here.
The spooky path full of gnarled tree roots.
The properly made staircase.
The trail rising deeply and continuously up and up and up.
The path covered with gravel changes to huge stones.
Crossed the trail up over a rapid stream.
The path of ultramafic soil.
As follow the trail up, the path becomes more rocky.
The forest becomes more stunted here.
Vegetation here changes dramatically on higher altitudes.
The regulations of Kinabalu Park require all climbers have to engage the services of a registered mountain guide and purchase the insurance. Porter services are available and recommended for the beginning climbers. RM8 per kilo for the whole journey up and down.
Laban Rata, one of the accommodation on Mount Kinabalu.
You shall book your accommodation to stay overnight on Mount Kinabalu beforehand you plan your trip to Kota Kinabalu. Since there's a limited number of beds and number of climbers up to the Low's Peak, i would suggest you to check the availability of the bed first (at least half a year earlier).
Always stay close to the rope so you will not get lost.
There's hand railings and ropes to help you over the steeper slopes.
Most of the climbers leave the next morning between 2.30am and 3.30am in order to reach the summit at 6am to experience the spectacular sunrise. It's important not to arrive to early on the summit, to avoid freezing in the cold night waiting for the sunrise. The view of the surrounding peaks is also magnificent.
The Low's Gully.
The South Peak.
The Peak of Saint John.
The Peak of Donkey ears.
The Peak of Tunku Abdul Rahman.
FuFu was particularly amazed by the South Peak.
The eerie surface of moonscape you would walk across.
It's incredibly steep here.
The gradient after Low's Peak can become incredibly steep and can be quite tricky and treacherous in parts, there are some places where the trail can be as steep as 70° angle!
Rope is provided at some point where the trail is steep.
Remember to bring your gloves along.
The descent to Laban Rata from Low's peak will take about two to three hours. According to our guide, while descending, never run down the summit slabs as several climbers break their limbs every year. It is because when they get to a steeper slope and find that they are unable to stop. Be very careful!
You might be wondering about my outfit.
Only a jacket, long sleeves shirts, tee shirts and jeans?!
Yes! It's not that cold for me, honestly speaking.
I am used to the weather after living in Japan for five years.
It's indeed harder to descend the mountain.
When climbing down, it's more exhausted actually.
Because the weight will fall on both of your thighs and knees.
Also the ball of your foot. Thus need to be very careful.
See, it's this steep! Luckily we didn't see in the early morning.
Sayat-Sayat check point is the highest mountain hut at 3810 meters. Climbers will have their number and name checked. This is also the last shelter to refill water and to answer the call of nature. Beyond this point to Low's Peak, there's not even a small bush to hide while doing your nature's call! However, you still could find a huge rock to block yourself as what FuFu had done up there.
FuFu's first love, the South Peak of Mount Kinabalu.
I love the spectacular view over the sky with drifting clouds.
You can always see better view if you go higher, phew.
Couldn't believe how we managed to climbed up Mt. Kinabalu.
A porter using his head and shoulder carrying stuff up.
The heavier he carries, the more money he would get.
FuFu calls this as hard earned money.
It's a satisfying climbing trip to Mount Kinabalu.
Anyway the downhill walk from Laban Rata is blessed relief to your weary legs. However, as most seasoned climbers know, it's often harder to walk downhill for long periods than it is to climb uphill and Mount Kinabalu is also no exception.
Not willing to say sayonara to Mount Kinabalu.
The steep staircase was nearly taken our lives away!
We started climbing down at 11am, and arrived at Timpohon Gate at about 5.30pm. There's a bus waiting to pick and send you back to the Kinabalu Park office. You can also purchase your certificate for climbing the mountain, a colour version for those who reach Low’s Peak (RM10), and a black and white version for those who reach Sayat-Sayat Check Point (RM5).
Remember to get the certificate back as souvenir for yourself.
For those who have climbed to Low's Peak of Mount Kinabalu.
For those only been to Sayat Sayat Check Point.
The certificate recorded FuFu has visited Kinabalu Park (RM1).
Again, take your guide's advice about where to walk and how to approach some of the more dangerous steep sections. Stop for a short break and drink water regularly, eat high energy snacks as it will get warmish on the way up and down and you need to always remain hydrated.
The last few hundred metres climbing was the toughest part!!
Always remember to rest for a while at every shelters, pack your gear and head on up to the Low's peak the next morning and down afterward. Keep our own pace and never race with other climbers.
See what are written on the signboard?
Take nothing but photographs.
Leave nothing but footprints.
Keep nothing but memories.
Never disturb the piled-up stone on the summit.
In keeping the local customs and Kinabalu Parks rules, climbers are advised not to take anything from and on the mountain, be it flora, fauna or piece of stone, etc. Climbers are to behave respectfully and be on good behaviour. Shouting, name callings, anger and teasing-fooling-around are not advisable.
Last but not least, please keep the park clean and beautiful!
[Next Episode : Parasailing, Snorkelling, Sunbathing on Sapi Island]