To say that the second day of the Mount Kinabalu climb was tough is an understatement for me. But, having said that, I made it to Low’s Summit at 4095 metres above sea level just in time for sunrise. Our timing was absolutely impeccable and I sort of pity those who were more enthusiastic than us (leaving at 2:30am instead of 3:30am) or faster climbers than us when summiting, because we saw many people who reached the summit and then came down before sunrise because they couldn’t handle waiting in the cold wind. The sunrise was absolutely stunning. We were actually very lucky to be able to summit, as it had been closed the two days prior due to rain. We had to hike 1 km to the final checkpoint before finding out whether or not we’d be able to continue. This is also the site of the only toilet between the Laban Rata Resthouse and the summit, so use it!!
To summit by following the guide and literally hauling myself up large rocks or cliff faces with the aid of a rope and headtorch in complete darkness was a strange feeling. Coming back down in daylight made me realise just how high up we were for most of that last 2.7 kms. Had I been able to see where I was actually going and how steep the ascent was at times, I don’t think I would have continued to get to the summit. (I am a bit of a chicken when it comes to heights and cliffs). Having said that, coming down using the ropes was actually much easier than expected, provided you listened to the guide’s tips.
The toughest part of the second day was actually the descent from the Resthouse after breakfast, but that is because of my bad knees. The Mountain was absolutely brutal on my knees… to the point where 3 kms from the bottom, I broke down emotionally due to the pain and feeling of hopelessness. An extended break, clever strapping, and ibuprofen helped lift the spirits somewhat, and I eventually made it to the bottom of the mountain. It doesn’t matter that we were last off the mountain for the day – the important thing is that I did it! What an incredible feat!
To put things into perspective, these are the crazy times that the Mount Kinabalu champions do (inclusive of ascent and descent).