Monday July 18

0140 alarm, 0200 first breakfast. Rugged up in our thermal gear and head torches we set off. Our guide Eddie led the way but the pace was very slow as it was dictated by the long line of trekkers ahead of us. Happy to go slow as we didnt want to arrive at the summit too early as we had been warned it was very cold up there.
Lots of wooden staircases and very steep rock faces with ropes to assist. About 800 m of the track is relatively new and constructed to divert around the area damaged by an earthquake last year that killed 18 people on the mountain. We were very lucky, it was dead calm and the sky was clear.
We went through the checkpoint at Sayat-Sayat before heading out onto the smooth rock face of Mt Kinabalu. A white rope marks the route to follow. Slow and steady with lots of rests. I now had a bit of a headache, presumably from the altitude. Nice ego boost from Hill our Thai friend. He was surprised how fit I was at my age. He was finding it really hard going.
Lea and I continued on to the summit, arriving just before sunrise as planned. I had noticed a little dizziness and slight loss of co ordination near the summit together with a mild headache but otherwise we were feeling good. I was surprised how cold it was. We waited for a school group from Cornwall, UK to finish on the summit then made our way up as the light increased and the magnificent vistas began to appear. 4095m. 800m accent over 2.7km.
We got one of the students to take our photo then went back down a little way to sit and wait for the others and enjoy the scenery as it unfolded from the dark.
John and Kerry and the others soon joined us. Kerryn was busy taking lots of photos so I borrowed her gloves to thaw out my hands.
We thanked Eddy, our guide.
And got another summit picture with Hill and Kumi.
We had been on the summit for over an hour so it was time to start our decent.

Stopped for a refective photo.
very happy with our achievement.
Then back to through the knarled alpine vegetation we had not seen in the darkness as we climbed up.
The lodge was a welcome sight with the anticipation of another hot breakfast and a cup of tea by 0830. There is new accomodation being constructed as 2 lodges were destroyed by last years earthquake. All the materials and supplies for this new building and running the existing ones are all bought up by porters. Some of the galvanized steel beams we saw being carried up were 5m long and weighed 28.2kg. We were also often overtaken on the trip down by Porters jogging down the mountain after delivering their loads.
With 140 walkers per day and the new buildings, the Park has a huge input into the local economy and appears to be very well run.
Breakfast was good. Left for the return to Timophon Gate at 0945 in lovely weather.
Found an even better speciman of the pitcher plant on the way down.
The last climb.

And the last steps to the Gate and we were checked out and done. I tried poles for the first time on this walk. They were great on the uphill parts of the track but useles on the smooth rock faces and got in the way when using a rope to ascend. They slowed me down too much on the decent. Not sure I would bother with them again.

We had taken 3.5 hours to come down from Laban Rata. Lea and I took 13 hours of walking to do the return trip from the gate of 17.4 km. Every year they have an international race to the summit and back from HQ which adds about 3 km each way. The mens record for this is 2 hrs, 23min, 33 sec. for the 23 km. Maybe we're not so fit after all.

A full buffet lunch at the HQ restaurant was included in our package so we had more food. We got the bus to stop at a roadside stand and we purchased some good locally grown fresh veggies. Would have been nice to snooze on the bus trip back but torrential rain and a lead foot driver was not particularly soporific despite our early morning and exertions.

Back at Sutera Harbour the storm was intensifying with thunder and lightning very close to the boats. We sat in the restaurant overlooking the marina drinking beer instead of getting wet going to the boats. Lea enjoyed her first beer in 9 days after her “dry” stint.

Back on Gemini Lady we were dismayed to find all the power out and the fridges off. Our immediate thought was that we had been hit by lightning again —–!!!!!!!!. Fortunately it was just the BMC on the Lithium Battery that had tripped out either due to a side flash or an AC spike through the inverter. All good after a reset, thank goodness. Shared a bottle of wine and crashed.

Tuesday July 19

Legs a bit sore and soon learned to dread going down stairs. Washing plans fell through as the marina has no water pressure. Had to fill the tanks via jerries.

Major drama during engine checks when I discovered the glass bowl under the genset fuel filter had shattered. While Lea did all our trekking washing by hand I Ubered into town with John to source a new filter housing. Soon found what we needed in KK much to my relief.

All sorted by lunchtime but we decided to stay another night and enjoy the pool to loosen up. Fixed the Marina bill for an early start tomorrow. A bit dear by Malaysian standards working out to about $50.00 AUD a night but considering the facilities on offer still good value.

Said goodbye to Dale and Lorraine on Umbraluna as they are not continuing on with us.

Another walk to a local Indian Warung with John and Kerryn to loosen the legs. John was having refridgeration issues so over a nightcap on Gemini Lady we read up from Nigel Caldwells book of boat mainanence then armed with new knowledge went over to Esoterica to sort it out. Found 2 stuffed thermostats and one stuffed solenoid but fortunately all Tx valves working ok. Bypassed the thermostats to effect a usable manual system..

All set for the next adventure through Pirate territory and Eastern Sabah.

 

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