Friday, May 29, 2009

Kinabalu Climb - 10th Thoroughbred 20 years of friendship (part 4)

Day 2 - 21 May 2009 (The Climb - 1st stage)

Ironically, the climb started with a descent. As if telling us to enjoy the gravity before it saps the energy out when you go against it. We started by walking in one big group. All 11 of us. The air was cooling and refreshing. Couldn't be better. But, after few corners, the track changed to ascending mode.

We passed thru a small waterfall after abt 20 mins of walking. Then we faced the first hurdle, a very steep makeshift stairs with the elevation of about 20m. It may sounds low, but the distance between one flight to the other was quite high. We had to raise our leg as high as the hip to get to the next flight of stairs. Some of us let the others passed thru at the bottom of the stairs. They wanted to catch as much air as possible before climbing up.

Just after the stairs, we stopped at the first hut - Kandis. Few of us starting to have doubts on the climb. But ppl like Itik, Capoi, Own had really helped them by giving motivation and cheering them up.

As I mentioned in previous posting, we kind of split into 2 groups. I was with the group that push off first from the hut. But as we started walking, Capoi reminded us no to go too fast, as it is still a loooong way up. And its not a race anyway. Stick to the target -> to reach Laban Rata in healthy condition with enough gas to climb the peak the next day.

At this point, we were still walking in thick jungle with mostly moist clay track. Humidity was quite high. After 30-40 mins, we stopped again at the 2nd Hut - Ubah. Bedul, however, continued walking as he told us that he wanted to keep his pace and rhytm.

The group that I was in had Ayun, Idi and Farouk. We will always munch something every time we stop. Betul la cakap Capoi, u'll always feel hungry. Luckily the ration pack that they gave us was quite a huge portion. Every pack had 3 sandwiches, 2 boiled eggs, 4 popiahs, 1 fried chicken and 1 big fuji apple. Air dpt air soya. It was supposed to last untill Laban Rata. The ration reminded me of the food they provide in Charlie(TUDM's Hercules C-130). As a boy, I always had this kind of food when travelling between Kuching and KL. As a matter of fact, it almost tasted the same. Same caterer kot.

In addtion to the ration, we had all the supplements given by Mantat, and not forgetting the cola electrolyte tablet as well, that we can put in our drinks to replenish the stuffs that goes out with the sweats. I fully utilised the stuffs given by Mantat. Before climbing, had the peanut butter PowerBar, managed to finish it albeit struggling a little bit. Powerbar ni kalau time sejuk keras gila. Boleh patah gigi. On top of that, I always munched my trusted mini sneakers bar, even if I felt slightly hungry. Worked for me in Gunung Tahan, I'm sure it will do its wonders again in Kinabalu.

By the time we reached the 3rd hut-Lowii, we met the first group coming down. Exchanged few words, well, mostly we asked their experience climbing it. They gave some encouraging words, enough to keep our spirits high.

I still sticked with the same group from second hut. We took the opportunity to snap any nice pics along the way. And from time to time, Ayun and me will start singing. Our repertoire of songs ranges from P.Ramlee, to lagu cheer to lagu rock kangkang 80s&90s. Most of the time lagu rock kangkang la. Mcm terer je nak nyanyi, padahal tercungap2 jalan. Habih lirik semua kitorg tukar.

Next stop was Mempening. By the time we reached there, we saw Bedul lying to the tiang with both feet flat on the bench. He said he was starting to feel the cramps. Tgh lepak2 makan my mom called, asking me to go the Australian Embassy to sort out her visa. Alamak, lupa nak cakap mak aku yg aku panjat gunung, sori la mama, balik kl nanti baru buatla.

From this hut and all the huts until Laban Rata, we will call Itik asking on the condition of the group he was in everytime we stopped. It seemed that the are still slugging it out and enjoying every moment of it. Itik said not to worry, they will be in Laban Rata in time for dinner, which will be at 5 pm. So, they are shifting their focus to food now, not a bad idea.

After Mempening, some of us were showing signs of struggles at times. Ayun and myself could only give them words of encouragement to keep them going. Hold on, we did more than that, we finished up their food. Some of them wanted to reduce the load, so I helped them by finishing up their rations, bcos mine dah habih by 4th hut. OK la tu, kira tolong la jugak tu, tolong makan. This was also the time when masing2 sudah bawak keluar all the deep heats and what not. Kaki dah cramp2 beb.

Yg best bila berenti makan kat hut was that all the cute squirels will kerumun u mintak makan. Bagi apa pun depa telan je. Mcm aku la, bagi apa pun aku telan je. Mantat cerita, in his group , Izat will cabut lari bila tupai2 ni mintak makan kat dia. Geli dia kata.

After Villosa, 5th Hut i think, the terrain has changed. And we are now above the clouds. I think the altitude was more than 2.5K M. It started to get cold, and pokok2 pun berubah kepada pokok2 renek. The track pun dah start berbatu, air started to get thinner. Tapi, mamat2 and minah2 porter boleh selamba lagi panjat angkat tong gas lah, tong minyak lah, pakai kasut getah je bai. Rasa malu je kalau kena potong dgn diorang.

By this time, Capoi managed to catch up with us, dia kata kupon makan ada kat dia and dia nak kena check-in utk kitorg. Pasai tu dia kena cepat, so he had to leave the 2nd group. So he climbed with my group until Laban Rata. Yg lawaknya, Farouk ada la dekat 5 kali kena con dgn Capoi. Bcos he kept on asking 'brp jauh lagi Poi?', after Paka hut. And almost everytime Capoi will said 'lepas corner depan tu"... mmg tak pernah betul la. Angin je Farouk, tapi terubat dgn keindahan awek Jepun yg jalan depan kitorang .

At last, after abt 6-8 hrs of climbing. the first group reached Laban Rata arnd 1515 and 2nd group arnd 1700, just in time for dinner. Way off from our targets. But as I said earlier, its not a race, we were just enjoying every moment of this first stage of the climb by taking pics, singing and busy rubbing deep heat.

*To get a better idea of the trail, u can go to

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kinabalu Climb - 10th Thoroughbred 20 years of friendship (part 3)

Day 3 - 21 May 2009 (pre-climb)

For all the talk that we have talked, this is the time to walk the walk...

Woke up at 0600, dah terang benderang. Bangun-bangun je sudah angin, nak kubab tak boleh pasal air tarak. Dah la terpijak air yg bertakung dlm toilet, mak ai..sejuk gile. Ni semua Mantat punya kerja la semalam. He wanted to sort of clean/rinse the toilet floor, but to his horror the toilet doesnt have any water outlet. Leceh betullah...

We reported to Capoi of this water problem. He went down. 10-15 mins later air dah ada. I think the org cabin tu takut dgn loud speaker Capoi kut. Cepat2 dia bukak pump. Dekat cabin ni, the water heaters are a bit special. They are being heated by actual fire. Serious man, no kidding. They have this kind of penunu bunsen bawah heater compartment to heat the water up. Jakun jugakla kitorang tengok.

We went down arnd 8, wearing the magnificent orange dyr-fit t-shirts designed by Mantat. Jauh sebatu pun boleh nampak. Had another photo session with the mount as the backdrop. Betul la cakap Itik, bila tgk gambar balik mcm team Holland, except the real team tak boroi2 mcm kitorang la.

One thing I wanna touch about this t-shirt is that we had a line of lyric from commando song written at the back "Tiada gunung terlalu tinggi, buat kami daki di tengah MALAM". I'm sure you can spot the difference. Yep, the original line was PANAS, but Mantat changed it to MALAM, accidentally. But come to think of it, it does make sense, bcos our final climb to the summit will be at 2-3 AM. Good thinking lah Mantat.

We reported ourselves at Kinabalu Park arnd 0830. They passed to us the permit to climb, a tag that bears our name. You need to hang it on your neck at all time. As expected, they misspelled my name - Mior Arip Iskandar. Arif la bang. Ada jugak 2-3 org yg nama tak betul. We need to correct this at the last checkpoint(Sayat-Sayat) tomorrow, kalau tak tukar, it will be the one written in the cert.

The guides (Tubik & Sigol) did a briefing on our climb. Some key points that they touched were on cleanlines (jgn buang sampah rata2 and kalau nampak sampah tolong kutip)and on the pace (dont stop for too long nanti senang cramp).

The plan for the whole climb was,
1. Timpohon Gate - Laban Rata (4-7 hrs, 6K)
The next day
2. Laban Rata - Sayat-Sayat (1 - 2.5 hrs, 1.5K)
3.Sayat-Sayat - Low's Peak (1 - 2 hrs, 1.5 K)
4. Low's Peak - Laban Rata (1-2 hrs)
5.Laban Rata - Timpohon Gate (3-6 hrs)

Got on board the van again to get to Timpohon. This time they sumbat all 11 of us in the van. The spirit was very high. Hingaq gila with the usual kutuk-mengutuk. We were anxious and excited. The adrenalin starting to kick in. As we got off the van, Ayun had the last say..."selamat menZAKI" he saw the sign at Timpohon.. "SELAMAT MENDAKI"...Mantat panas.....

Some of us bought the nicely carved climbing pole for RM3 at the gate . Others have the canggih aluminum poles they brought from KL. This walking stick/pole really helps the climb. Advisable to use, as it can lessen the force you put on your legs.

Before the climb, I lead the strecthing and warm up. Meletup-letup bunyi sendi2 and lutut budak2 ni. Angin2 dlm badan, dgn kentot2 semua keluar sekali. Then we huddled up ala-rugby team, one hand on top of the other person's hand, the other hand hugging the mate next to you. Masing2 memberi sepatah dua kata which was caught on Farouk's camcorder. This moment was..... special.

After that, Bedul and Own recited the doa. Finally we had the loudest roars of GEMPUR WIRA. Habih terkejut beruk2 and ungka2 dekat Kinabalu Park yg baru nak makan breakfast.
3 kali GEMPUR WIRA!!!

The official climb started at 0910. And so it began...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kinabalu Climb - 10th Thoroughbred 20 years of friendship (part 2)

Day 1 - 20 May 2009

Woke up at 4:15, went out arnd 4:45. Picked up Bedul at Taman TAR. Supposed to rendezvous with Ayun at KL Sentral. Arrived arnd 5:30, tapi Ayun lambat sikit so we couldnt check-in at Sentral. And we scrapped the idea of using a cab as ERL would be much efficient and just cost a little bit more. Arrived at KLIA arnd 6:15, tried to check-in using the kiosk, failed. Nasib baik Ayun stayed in the line, so managed to check in without much problem, anyway, I didnt have any check-in luggage, so it was fast.

At arnd the same time, Farouk, Mantat and Capoi were on their way to LCCT. The Air Asia flt was abt 30 mins earlier than us. They spent the night before at Itik's house, and they did not sleep at all, as they were busy looking for Farouk's watch which was lost, as assumed by Farouk, in Itik's house. So terbongkok-bongkokla diorang tgh2 malam dok cari jam farouk.

While waiting for Itik and Idi to arrive, we had breakfast at KFC. Ni semua Ayun punya pasai la, dok mengidam KFC dari dlm train lagi. So hentam la kat KFC without knowing that MAS provides meal. Arnd 6:45, Itik and Idi sampai. While waiting, sempat la jugak aku 'kubab'.

Along the way to the aircraft, Idi dok mintak mcm2 kat Itik, mintak upgrade la, mintak tu lah, mintak ni lah. Sekali Itik sudah perli baik punya "Company in memang aku punya, mintak la apa2 hang nak mintak" Adusss, tajam...

Flt was 80% full. I think the meal in the box by MAS is a good idea, cos u can easily carry it off the plane if u want to. And BTW, we did that, saje nak bagi Mantat panas bcos dia naik air Asia, makan kena beli.

Flight was smooth, except for the landing, bumpy sikit. Mantat, Capoi and Farouk greeted us at arrivals as the van picked them up first. We pushed off straight to Hyatt where we will meet Izzat and Own who had checked in there the day before. Bila sampai, berlonggok2 lah kitorang semua duduk dlm satu bilik while waiting for transport to Kinabalu Park. Rasa mcm lepak kat 'bunk' masa boy dulu la. Asap berkepul2.

We had lunch and last minute shopping kat mall sebelah Hyatt. And Pelat, the last member met us there. For some, that was the first time they met Pelat after RMC, 16 years ago man. Quite emotional, especially for the Delta boys.

Bought myself a pair of football socks, to give extra warmness while climbing. Most of them bought towels as Capoi told us our next destination tak provide towels. Ada jugak yg stocked up their medical kits and food supplies, But Farouk was the best, he bought a digital watch for 48 bucks. Dia kata tak complete kalau tak pakai jam.

At 1430, we pushed off to Rose Cabin, located 5 mins from Kinabalu Park, 2 hrs from KK. We split 8 into the van and 3 in a car. The view along the road was breathtaking. Its kind of ironic as Sabah has so much land, but still some areas need to be reclaimed. I can understand this bcos its easier to dump land rather than to blow up hills, especially to widen roads that are sandwiched by the sea and the hills.

We were busy taking photos of the mountain at any glimpse we could get from the van. Memang susah, siap pening2 kepala semua cukup. Fortunately, we pit stopped (more than an hour actually) at pekan Nabalu, abt 30 mins before Rose Cabin, which has an opposite view of the mountain. The town is about 1000M above sea levels, and it is separated with the mount by a valley. We had tea break and took a lot of photos again. Some did their craftworks shopping. I bought a fridge magnet, beli la something buat kenang-kenaangan, takkan tak beli langsung kut.

We reached Rose Cabin arnd 6 and checked in. This was when we supplied our names for certificate preparation. I bunked in with Itik and Mantat. Crap, masa tu terlupa pulak yg Mantat punya dengkur mcm bot ekzos pecah. Settled in an waited for dinner. We had a good look of our track for tomorrow because u can see the landmarks(Power station, Laban Rata) from our balcony.

While waiting for dinner, we were busy packing our stuffs for the climb tomorrow. We tried to minimised as much as possible but not leaving the essentials behind. I brought my medical kit, knee guard, compression top and tights, 1 dry-fit shirt, windbreaker, gloves, scarf, snowcap, toiletries, camera, phone, polar HRM and footpod, a small towel, PowerBars and Gels and last but not least my beloved mini pack Sneakers. I guess the others were also bringing up more or less the same stuffs.

We had a good dinner at 7. After that we had the last briefing for the climb by Capoi and distribution of supplements by Mantat. We did discussed on the strategy for the climb and decided that we shd only decide whether to break into groups after the first checkpoint tomorrow. The objective for tomorrow was simple, to reach Laban Rata and yet still conserve enough gas for the summit climb the next day.

After dinner, lepak2 and sembang2 until 10-11.Some of them were still packing and repacking their bags. I only managed to sleep after putting on the ear plugs. Dalam bilik tu mcm medan perang, kalau tak pakai ear plugs tak tidur la aku.

End of Day 1.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kinabalu Climb - 10th Thoroughbred 20 years of friendship (part 1)


3 Jan 2009 marked 20 years I knew most of my batchmates from RMC. On the same date 20 years ago, we registered ourselves, not fully knowing what to expect, into The Royal Military College, our home for the next 5 years of our lives. Should I say here, 5 wonderful years of our lives. From that moment on, we were strangers no more. We have become more than friends, we are family.

To strengthen this bond, Itik and Mantat came up with the boldest idea early this year- "Apa kata kita panjat Gunung Kinabalu to celebrate this?" My first reaction - Gile ke budak2 ni? I fully knew the pain and tribulation of climbing a mountain having had the opportunity to climb Gunung Tahan with some of the boys. This was back in 1992 when we were in form 4. And I can tell you it was not that pleasant of an experience. And this was when we were at the peak of our fitness level.

But I guess, the feeling of doing this kind of activity again, only with the boys, was a good enough reason for me to sign up. And I do agree with Itik and Mantat, what better ways to celebrate our friendship than doing silly things, yeah, its kinda silly considering the fitness level of most of the boys now. Well, boys will always be boys.


Mantat and Capoi were the ones who were practically doing the actual planning and organising. Stuffs like sending emails and sms communications, budget, itinerary, and etc were mostly done by them. We did have few meetings, well basically more of a TTS at Rasta Taman Tun to sort things out and do some discussions.

Itik organised few futsal sessions just to get back the boys in shape in a fun way. I also lent my experience by conducting fitnes sessions (running and climbing stairs). Some of them also had few ping pong sessions, dont ask me how it can help in climbing a mountain, it works for them

All the while from the moment the idea was mooted until the climbing day, the list of participants keep on fluctuating. In the end, only 11 confirmed to climb, they were;

  1. Razlim Rashid - JUO C (Capoi the Sherpa, 6 time reached the summit)
  2. Ahmad Razman Zaki - SP C (Mantat, PowerBar Man)
  3. Khairul Nizam Tajul Hasnan - SP C (Ayun, blackberry Man)
  4. Khairul Anuar Abdul Wahab - SP D (K-Own, Futsal Owner)
  5. Rafiee Kamarudin - JUO D (Pelat, Org kuat Pekan, reached summit in form 4)
  6. Farouk Abd Khalid - SP D (Farouk, Got Streamyx problem, call him)
  7. Tuan Azmil Abdullah - SP E ( Bedul, Official pembaca Doa)
  8. Mior Arif Iskandar - JUO F (Jabir, IronMan wannabe)
  9. Romizan Hanifah - SUO G (Itik the Sweeper, with Golden(MAS) wings)
  10. Eikma Izzat Ripin - SP G (Izzat, Towkay Minyak "we are drivers too")
  11. Idi Kadiron Mat Isa - SP H (Mataron, can sell anything under the sun)

For equipments, Capoi gave us a list of stuffs to bring. I took the opportunity to get my stuff during my biz trip to the States. The others were being advised by Mantat on what and where to get those stuffs. Most of them bought Salomon trekking shoes, damn good. Benda2 yg susah nak cari mcm headlamp, Capoi beli murah je dekat uptown Danau Kota.

For food and supplements, we were fully sponsored by Mantat with his PowerBar products. We got everything, from PowerBar bars, to carbo gels, to recovery drinks and etc. Semua Mantat sponsor.

Flight ticket masing2 beli sendiri. MAS ada Air Asia pun ada, in the range of 170-450 for return flights, we purchased early.

>>to be continued.