Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Journey Up The Mountain… narrated by Ted a.k.a Sunny Ting

As like any other year, our flight out to Kota Kinabalu on 11th July was at 6.50am. Most of the 100 trekkers were on this flight, while the rest were on flights a day earlier or later in the afternoon. On hand to greet and send us off was the staff of Persatuan Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Kajang Selangor (PKIK), headed by Ms. Lai (Ms. Kong was away at this time). Some last minute donations in form of cheques were also given to PKIK at this time.

Upon our arrival at Kota Kinabalu Terminal 2 airport at 9.30am, Api Tours 3 coaches were ready to pick us up to Kinabalu Park a.k.a base camp of Mt. Kinabalu. Along the way, we had KK famous fish head noodles for lunch, stopped at a mall to buy heaps of rations and ate deliciously sweet pineapples. We arrived at Kinabalu Park (approx. 5,000ft ASL) at approximately 4.30pm. Jimmy Lim our ever faithful organizer, quickly arranged to check us all in to our various accommodations spread throughout the park.

Dinner was served at 7pm and later followed by a briefing from myself, Jimmy and park ranger. During the briefing, Jimmy conducted an impromptu demo on Fusion Excel products which got the trekkers excited and dumb-founded. For those who got the lucky draw in the form of the sponsored Fusion Excel pendants, they were all eager to see how this special pendants work for them during the trek. Here, a special mention of THANK YOU to Fusion Excel for their generosity in donating RM10,000 to PKIK and RM11,000 worth of pendant products to the trekkers.

As the morning breaks on 12th July, the sight of a clouded Mt. Kinabalu beckons a rainy trek ahead. Most of the 100 A Piece Of Hope (APOH) trekkers were ready at 8.30am assembling with their gears in check at the park management office. At last count, only 98 trekkers were registered for the climb. Approximately 33 trekkers took the Timpohon trail while the rest Mesilau trail. With all the nametags given out and park guides and porters arranged, APOH trekkers and organizing team then posed for a group photo before embarking on the trek.
As the morning turns into afternoon, trekkers start arriving at Laban Rata (approx. 11,000ft ASL). The earliest to arrive is approximately 2.00pm. From then on, many arrive between the time of 3 to 5pm but some as late as 7pm plus. After shower and some dinner, all trekkers one by one hit the bed for a much needed rest and to recharge for the final assault come the wee hours of the morning.

The following is an excerpt from Jimmy Lim of the night climb:

“Come morning at 2.00am the strong wind was still howling and some trekker decided they will not proceed to the summit while the rest of us brave the strong wind and manage to reach Sayat Sayat Hut (the last stop to the summit) where we have to check in. After Sayat Sayat Hut the strong wind persisted and the mist was heavy with visibility of not more than 10 meter and the strong wind blowing with misty rain make us more difficult to walk as it was cold, wet and windy.

As we struggle towards the summit some of the earlier trekkers have make their way back to Laban Rata saying it was impossible to stay at the summit (Low’s Peak) as it was extremely cold. I was able to convinced one or two of our trekkers to follow me to the summit, we did finally reach the summit but did not stay very long at Low’s Peak as we could feel frost bite on our fingers and toes and the strong wind and misty rain continue to hit us.

On our descend from Low’s Peak we did not see many trekkers coming forth like we use to in the past years and as we reach Laban Rata rest house we were informed by our fellow trekkers that most of them upon reaching Sayat Sayat Hut were turned away by the guide for fear that it might be too dangerous for the trekkers to proceed and they felt so disappointed.”

With such extreme weather conditions, assembling the jigsaw puzzle at the summit is near impossible. Our ever strong trekker, Ng Har who willingly took the task of carrying the jigsaw base, had to resort to waiting at Sayat Sayat Hut for the pieces of jigsaw to arrive with the trekkers. Here, although far from the summit, many trekkers made it but as in the words of Jimmy, they had to turn back for safety reasons. Approximately, 15 pieces of jigsaw didn’t make it to be stuck on the jigsaw base.

Although the weather condition was extreme, the first trekker reached the summit at 4.15am, a marvelous feat indeed. As an incentive, Fusion Excel promise that the first 5 trekkers to reach the summit, a pendant each will be waiting for them. Listed below are our heroes and heroine:

1) Mr. Joseph Sim
2) Mr. Ng Har
3) Ms. Chan Poh Sim (photo not taken as she went back a day earlier)
4) Mr. Low Chong Yew
5) Mr. Chew Ling Kiat

A Piece Of Hope Chapter 3’s main aim is to raise funds for Persatuan Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Kajang Selangor and along the way make friends and have fun conquering Mt. Kinabalu. As to date (27th July 2009), a total of over RM50,000.00 has been collected so far. Donations are still pouring in even after the trek. With more continuous effort from our trekkers, we will eventually reach our target of RM100,000.00.

Thanks to ALL who contributed in some way or another.

For more photos of the climb, one of our trekker Mr. Lim Beng Hong (some of the photos above are from him) uploaded loads of them at: