My Travel Log – First Climb (Mt. Kinabalu Aug 2012)

It suddenly dawned on me a few days ago. I have this impending SECOND mountain climbing trip. In three weeks! Oh gosh, I haven’t really prepared for anything, let alone exercising to increase my physical fitness. So last Saturday, I started out the exercise regime, bought a new pair of hiking shoes and some other essentials.

While I’m gathering all the stuff that I need to bring along, I can’t help but reminisce that 4-days-3-nights trip two years ago. My first climb at Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. 

Ideally, a travel log should be written right after the trip, while the experiences are still fresh in mind. However, back in August 2012, I haven’t kicked start my blogging habit yet and was still caught in the social media bug, posting photos of my holidays and outdoor trips. I didn’t bother to re-tell the journey I had in a travel log like this.

So here I am, trying to make amends with my blogger self. I start gathering all the photos from the first climb and pouring out the memories into writing. Hopefully, this will get me in the mood to start preparing for my next one:)


Height? 4095.2 m

When? 17-20 Aug 2012

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It all started at a casual dinner after volleyball game back in the end of 2011. Suddenly, one friend said that she’s going to climb Mount Kinabalu with her colleagues and other friends. She asked for more people to join because “the more the merrier”. At that time, there were 12 people who showed interest including me and the other volleyball buddies. Then as expected, by around June or July the next year, with various excuses, there were only 8 of us left. At the last minute, only 5 people ended up climbing the mountain as planned and we reached the Low’s Peak after a 2-days-1-night grueling first climb!!! Yaaaay to survivors:)

Pictures above are my stash of energy bars during the climb and my climbing buddies. Took a picture before we went to the start-point at Timpohon gate (height: 1866-m). Notice the grey rubber shoes that we wore in the picture? We bought it there at only 7.5 RM. Kampung Adidas. Non-slippery. Good cheap shoes for hiking. I threw it away once I finished the climb. Who knows that I’ll be doing another one soon? I should’ve kept it back then *sigh*. Anyway, I just bought my first hiking shoes last Saturday, I’ll be going for a test-hike soon:)

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We were also given a name tag for identification purpose.

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Once we reached the starting point, we took another picture while we’re still fresh and have the energy to smile for the camera. We rented a hiking stick at the gate and it was a life savior! Really useful for my descent the next day. They also displayed the names of record holder for International Climbathon in 2011. Super human!!!

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Through the first 6-8 hours, we could still take several group pictures. We were also accompanied by real-life super human, our mountain guide cum porter. They helped us carry our heavy backpacks filled with water supply. We couldn’t have had the energy to climb without their help.


Between KM5 to KM7 and a few rest stops, the weather went from sunny to cloudy and then to a slight drizzle verging on pouring. Luckily, we’ve packed a poncho for this kind of weather and we’re still excited to take picture in the middle of the rain.

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After 7 hours, we reached the Laban Rata rest house for our early dinner and briefing for summit climb the next day. Because of the rain, there’s a small water flow coming down from the top. It was foggy and surreal. Felt like I was floating up to the rest house. After dinner, we managed to catch the view of sun set behind the mountain.

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We stayed over night at the Pendant Hut. Slept in a bunk bed with a sleeping bag. The water there was freezing cold. I shivered while showering and brushing my teeth. For breakfast and tea break, they provided us with some bread, peanut/butter/strawberry jam, hard-boiled eggs and ham. The guys were arguing whether we should continue with the summit climb or not. We had to wake up at 2am the next morning to catch the sun rise at the peak. Amazingly, all of us woke up just in time for the summit climb. Since we were already half-way there, why give up now? So we got ready with our gears; head torch and extra jackets to brace the wind, and took a group picture before the climb.

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It was still 3am, chilly and dark. We couldn’t see anything apart from the person in front of us. So we had no idea how the trail looks like when we climbed up. Later on, during our descent, we realized that we’ve passed through a very steep slope earlier. If we had put 1 foot wrong, we might have fallen down the cliff. Thank goodness we were fine. So another 3 hours passed by, with a few rest stops spent eating energy bars and checking pictures in my camera, we could finally see the peak and charge forward with excitement. At this time, the sun is about to rise and we could see blue purplish color peeking behind, surrounding the white fluffy cloud. It was breath-taking.

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The summit climb was very rocky. We had to climb up slowly and watch our steps. We took longer time to reach the Low’s Peak and spent too much time taking photos that we couldn’t make it in time for the descent via ferrata.

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Here are some of the stunning sunrise views from the top. We also saw another mountain peak that looks like a gorilla’s face.

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Since we missed the descent via Ferrata, we just followed the mountain guide down the same slope. We could then see those views that we didn’t get to see during the summit climb.  It was a bright sunny morning. We were equally fascinated by the view and took many rest stops.


It took around 3 hours to descend and once we reached the hut, we had to leave immediately if we wanted to reach Timpohon gate before sunset. I was exhausted and stopped taking pictures after we reached the Pendant Hut. We just packed our bags and had our hard-boiled eggs and toast for lunch (again). Kinda sick of it by this time. We started imagining all the good food we could eat after we reached the city center.

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In the next 6 hours, with the help of my rented hiking stick, we reached the gate in one piece, safe and sound. The organizer gave us a certificate of accomplishment with our name written on it. That night, we ate dinner like a pig. 12 bowls of rice with several seafood dishes later,  we walked back to the lodge and spent the entire night playing monopoly. The next day, we caught our flight back to Singapore and reached in the afternoon.

I walked like a penguin and had sore muscles for the whole WEEK!!! What an experience!


Despite the pain, the climb was totally worth it. The breath-taking views and feeling of accomplishment afterwards were incredible.

I couldn’t wait to conquer another mountain.


Height? 3727m

When? 29 April – 1 May 2014

I did a quick google check and there are tons of reviews for the Mount Rinjani climb.

Like this one –> Mount Rinjani: tips and review and this one Trekking Mount Rinjani.

So folks…that’s all for my first travel log. I’ll find some time to record more travel stories from the past few years before all of the memories fade away. Until then, take care and wish me luck 🙂



*hit the gym and eat right!! 21 days left…

4 thoughts on “My Travel Log – First Climb (Mt. Kinabalu Aug 2012)

  1. All the best for Mount Rinjani climb, Sien! Tips from Shilvia which I found it very useful: after the climb, sleep with your both legs elevated to ease the pain. It does help a lot!

    • Hoho thanks a bunch for the tips Uise!! Will try that method. I’m packing tiger balm and muscle spray too. Just in case. Plan to go for diving/snorkeling at Gili islands after the climb. We’ll see how it goes:)

    • Hi Anna, you are most welcome. I love your blog. All about traveling in Asia. Yay! I was looking for some reference for my blogpost when I stumbled upon your blog. Yes, you should climb Mt. Kinabalu too, it might be too easy for you if you’ve conquered Rinjani first. The summit climb should be easier than Rinjani’s. Good luck!:)

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