Mt Kinabalu

5-6 th September 2004.

Mount Kinabalu was Jason's idea, and it was a good one (now that its over).  It sits at 4095m and is the largest mountain between the Himalayas and Mt Puncak Jaya in Papua.  It is surrounded by lush tropical forests and has spectacular scenery at sunset.

Unless you are a very fit local, it sits about a two day walk from the entrance of the national park... although some nutter can run up there and back in less than 3 hours!!!

This is the early morning view of the peak of Mt Kinabalu from the balcony of the cabin where we stayed the night at 1900m.

We started at 8am armed with a Thai girl, an Aussie bloke Richard, and a kind of guide person / thing.  We weren't allowed to walk without a guide.  We never saw our guide again until the next morning, he was useless.

Jason got to feed squirrels along the way.

The terrain was rough steps and beautiful trees.

Lowes Pitcher plant is the botanical highlight of the trip. This little puppy is about 4 inches long, and contains a sticky fluid to catch flies which it then dissolves and digests (sounds like a women).

Our guide is now totally MIA and we have to root-around in the bush to find these ourselves.

We were hoping to see the worlds largest flower Rafflesia but this seems to be limited to appearing on a blue moon on Tuesday.

Jason spent an obscene amount of time ferreting around looking for plants and animals in order to procrastinate from the 2,000m of vert we had to climb.

...Impromptu snack time. Jason found raspberries.

Despite Claire forecasting doom and gloom for Jason's bowels after too many raspberries all is fine.

Mt Kinabalu is a young mountain hence the reason so much of its flora is endemic only to here.

We took about 6 hours to get to our nights luxury accommodation complete with snoring fat blokes and rats in the ceiling (and no the promised hot shower didn't exist either).

The altitude and the small room kept us awake so 2am couldn't come around quick enough so that we could get on with the rest of the trek.

We started our summit bid at 2.30am after not sleeping a wink between us. Richard (the I slept all night smug Australian!) and a very nervous Claire start the dark, steep walk racing against a rising sun.

Claire was about to find out that some of the mountain was so steep that she was going to have to cling onto rope for dear life (in the dark) as an increasing wind blew through us.

But eating our breakfast of choccy biscuits on top of the mountain at sunrise, was well worth the walk up. It was beautiful and something to be treasured for much longer than the hour we lasted on the summit before our fingers got so numb we had to leave.

BUT HOW COLD was it?!

Claire pretends (very well) to be having a good time following Jason up and down a mountain.


Walking down once the sun was up we started to notice snow, freaky plants and...

an endless moonscape where the once glaciated mountain top has been carved over time.

South Peak showed itself to us off and on for an hour as the clouds came and went.

The ugly sisters as they are called also made brief cameo appearances.

In the daylight we made our way down the mountain, it was a 10 hour walk to the bottom which made it a very long feeling bus journey to our next adventure - the jungle.

Can't wait for that bus ride. We took 5 trips by road in Borneo and everytime we saw a major accident... be it a bus in a ditch of car torn in half. We have never seen people drive so fast.

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