When it was suggested that we should climb the Highest peak in South East Asia at only 4095.2m(0.2m it all counts), I (Craig) thought what a great idea, haven't done any proper exercise for a couple of weeks, oh how wrong were we.
We arrived in Kota Kinabalu to find out that it was holiday time and the whole country was trying to climb the mountain. Oh dear, we're not going to be able to do it..what to do?
Well we trawled the streets of KK to find a travel agent who could arrange it and fortunately(at the time), we found a lovely lady called Peggy who said sure, give me GBP160 and I'll arrange for you, Phew we both said, thought we weren't going to be able to do it.!
So all arranged we left our hotel at 0700 for a 2 hour ride to the beginning of the climb.
At 4095.2m Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain between here and the Himalayas, is 99% uphill climbing and has the equivalent of 2500 steps to Laban Ratta which is the rest point before climbing to the summit.
I can only compare the climb to spending 4 hours doing step aerobics non stop. It was tough, but this was only the beginning, upon arrival in Laban Ratta, which was basically a rest-house with a restaurant and like minded climbers(which by the way we now are), we promptly crashed out in our dorm for a couple of well deserved hours of sleep.
Oh yeah, we have now discovered the reason we do NOT sleep in dorms, call us snobs, but lack of sleep any night is bad enough through someone's snoring, but when you have to get up at 2am its even worse, thinking of all the things you can do to stop it, oh just put a pillow over his face, no-one will ever know.
Before you know it, it's 1am and some bright spark gets up and puts the light one. 'Oh are there other people sleeping in here as well, oh well who cares'. Another thought of suffocation goes through our minds.
Nothing else for it we get up at 130am and prepare for the adventure ahead of us only 2.5km to climb, how hard can it be.?
We started the ascent at 230am along with about 50-100 other people, it was a long line of torches shimmering through the pitch black night, not even the moon had come out to wish us good luck and help on the way.
The trek was up steps over rocks and having to pull ourselves over sheer granite surfaces by rope, lucky it was dark, I can tell you having seen it in the light coming down I think a lot of people wouldn't have gone up.
Back to the climb, it was stop start all the way to the top, when climbing at altitude you just have to plod along and stop every 30 seconds to get your breath as the air thins the further you ascend.
It was a constant struggle and having to find the energy and motivation to keep going, every time we got over the brow of what we thought could be the last, there was another 200m climb to the next one.
Eventually we reached the bottom of the last and hardest climb, you could hear the voices of people already on the summit teasing you in the wind, 'can't be that far now can it?'
It took all our energy and effort to make it those last few metres, but what a sense of achievement we both felt when we finally made it, the last 2 1/2hours were instantly forgotten when we witnessed the sunrise over Borneo, absolutely amazing experience, but not to be repeated in the near future, you can be assured of that.
So now the easy part of descending 8.5km 99% downhill! It was quicker than going up but boy does it kill your knees and thighs and it is a relentless decline down the mountain, but once you start you just want to keep going.
After a couple of tumbles by both of us, quite a sight seeing us going head over tit I can assure you, but it certainly hurts when you hit rock hard granite at 6 o'clock in the morning, we eventually made it back down the mountain and today 2 days later we are still walking like Aunt Sally and Worzel Gummidge!
An unforgettable experience for sure.!