<photo: 8km sign post on Mount Kinabalu>
The 8km sign post on Mount Kinabalu is famous because many climbers give up when they reach this point. From here, they can see the summit of Mount Kinabalu in the glow of the rising sun, and it is just another 720 metres to the peak.
But the climbers are totally exhausted when they reach this point, miserably cold and they say to themselves "I can see the peak from here. That's good enough for me. I am too tired to go on."
Besides the 8km sign post, there are several other notable points along the Mount Kinabalu climb where climbers will feel like giving up:
At Layang Layang Hut where you stop for lunch on the first day. You are too tired to continue after eating a cold sandwich and you wish you had done more stairs training;
During the last one hour before you reach Laban Rata Hut (where a hot buffet dinner awaits you). This one hour stretch is infamously called “the never-ending trail” because it really feels that you will never reach Laban Rata Hut;
At Laban Rata Hut, where you start to get a headache, a common symptom of altitude sickness. That’s when you tell yourself “I am getting a certificate for reaching Laban Rata. That’s good enough for me”, especially after eating that delicious hot buffet dinner; and
At Sayat Sayat, the final check point, and then you realise that there’s at least another 2 more hours of climbing in the dark before you reach the summit. At this point, you will have no idea that you will feel like giving up again at the dreaded 8km sign post.
And then you reach the 8km point ..... Nooooooo ......!
If you have never climbed Mount Kinabalu before, it is difficult to imagine why anyone would give up at the 8km sign post or at any point.
Indeed, it’s difficult to connect the dots (or points in this case) looking forward. You can only connect the dots looking backwards when you realise that the sandwich wasn't actually that cold, the trail wasn't really never-ending, the headache wasn't that bad, and it's just 5 more minutes to the summit. That's when everything comes together as one and the dots connect.
"Asam di gunung garam di laut bertemu dalam satu belanga." <Tamarind on the mountain, salt in the sea meet in the one pot.> - Even things that are far apart can meet as one.