Monday, July 21, 2008

Stories Of The Climb

A Piece Of Hope Chapter 2 Mt. Kinabalu charity climb for Pusat Penjagaan Kanak-Kanak Cacat Taman Megah was a success and like many other charity events it was riddled with many challenges and happy moments.

Booking of beds at Laban Rata was not an easy task as this year we had 106 climbers. Although booking for these beds were made much earlier, the KK Park management made a technical blunder as to the actual number of beds required. These were ‘cleverly’ and ‘painfully’sorted out by our climb organizer Jimmy Lim who had to battle until the final minute of our climb. Thankfully, all was settled when we all arrived at KK Park on 12th July.

On the morning of 12th July, one Air Asia flight departing at 6.50am carrying a majority of the climbers encountered some problems. It was not a delayed flight or anything happened to the aircraft but 4 climbers were not allowed onboard even though they arrived at the gate 13minutes before flight time (Air Asia boarding tickets states that gate closes 10minutes before flight time). It was a disheartening start for these climbers but later they bought tickets for the next flight out to KK.

This year we had a blessing in disguise involving our transportation in and around KK and Mt. Kinabalu. The usual person who arranges these could not offer transportation up to our expectations and requirements. Then came a ‘saviour’ in Ryan, the owner of Zen Resort who gladly arrange 3 comfortable and air-conditioned coaches for us. It was a far cry to the minibuses that we had to endure with the previous years that were not only sloppy interiorly but did not have air-conditioned.

At last count, only 97 people opted to take the treacherous hike up Mt. Kinabalu. Those ‘grounded’ had valid reasons that were personal. Out of 97 people, 7 took the Timpohon trail while the rest the Mesilau trail which was 1.8km longer. This year it took unusually longer to start the climb, some as late as 10.30am due to shortage of shuttle to the Mesilau trail.

As there were a variety of ‘fitness’ among all the climbers, the earliest to arrive at Laban Rata was at approximately 2.30pm. From then on, many arrive between the time of 3 to 5pm. We must thank God for a perfect weather for this year’s climb. Even at 5pm there was no sign of rain (usually at this time we will be soaked in rain). The latest to arrive was at approximately 7pm. There were 3 casualties who did not make it to Laban Rata due to sickness. They only managed to climb to Layang-Layang which is 2km down from Laban Rata. The mountain guides had to open up the staff quarters there for them to stay a night.

The next morning at 2.30am, A Piece Of Hope climbers prepared for the final assault to the summit. It was yet again an exceptionally good weather for the night climb. Rain was not insight and wind was at its lowest. Temperature was approximately 5 degrees Celsius. The start of the night climb usually is slow due to a long queue hiking up the wooden stairs.

Not long into the climb, some climbers reached the summit at approximately 5.30am, in time for day break panaromic scenes at the summit. The summit is where our charity climb breeds its purpose. Each climbers having one piece or several pieces of jigsaw, assembles it by sticking onto a banner. As wind conditions start to pick up, assembling the jigsaw was a chore. Moreover, as more and more climbers reach the summit, space to stand and sit gets tighter. As time goes by the complete picture of the jigsaw puzzle seems to be surfacing and beams as bright as the morning sun.

To end my story and our adventure, A Piece Of Hope Chapter 2 main aim is to raise funds for Pusat Penjagaan Kanak-Kanak Cacar Taman Megah and have loads of fun climbing Mt. Kinabalu. As to date (21st July 2008), a total of RM80,000.00 has been collected so far. Donations are still pouring in even after the climb. Our target of RM150,000.00 seems to be a far fetch thing but we are sure that it will be reached thanks to the generosity of YOU!

Special mention: More than RM60,000.00 is from corporate donors of Mr. Foo Jong Wee’s clients. His effort is daunting but is well praised by all of us at A Piece Of Hope.

Those who wants to see more pictures of the climb can go to these websites below:
Thank you to Chan Chong Meng and Khoo Siah Kang for providing the pictures.

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