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50 on Kinabalu: Countdown

Day 1 - Sunday 24 Sept 2017 (KK to National Park)

6.00am - Welcome to Kota Kinabalu!  Your first stop for the day should be the Gaya Street Sunday Market . It opens from 630am and it's an incredible collection of sights, sounds and smell.  Have your breakfast at one of the many coffee shops along Gaya Street and buy your souvenirs. 

1.00pm - Make your way to the Grandis Hotel where we will gather. With more than 50 of us, the hotel lobby will be quite crowded, so smile and don't grumble - shake hands and make new friends.  As you meet each other and exchange notes on what equipment you have packed, you may realise that you are short of some things.  There is a adventure shop called Montanic that's located next door in level B-68 of Suria Sabah Shopping Mall where you can buy last minute gear.

I will be seating at the Starbucks next to Grandis Hotel from 11am onwards if you want to come by and have a chit chat.  I'll be happy to treat you to a latte and we can take a selfie for the MIA Facebook. 

2.00pm - the route from Kota Kinabalu to the Kinabalu National Park is about 100km and will take approximately 2 hours.  We will be travelling from sea level to almost 2,000 metres above sea level by the time we reach the National Park.  The road is windy and some of you may get car sick, so make sure you have plastic bags handy.  You may get some slight symptoms of altitude sickness - a bit of headache and some nausea. Enjoy it! I get it also, even for experienced climbers. 

👍🏻If you want to have the best views, sit on the left hand side of the bus - you will be able to see spectacular views of Mount Kinabalu as we approach the National Park.

👕Recommended attire: T-shirts, bermudas and slippers (let your feet rest - they will be tortured over the next 2 days).  Bring along a light jacket as it will get chilly once we get higher and closer to the National Park.

5.00pm - We should reach Kinabalu National Park, and you must now learn the art of being patient.   There are 9 different accommodations at the National Park and we will have to sort out the keys to the accommodations.  While that is being sorted out, take time to breathe in the fresh cool air and enjoy the peacefulness.  Talk to each other and make new friends.

6.00pm - Make your way to the National Park Auditorium where you will be briefed about the climb and your questions answered.  This is where you start getting nervous and wonder why you ever signed up.  Be brave!

👕Recommended attire: T-shirts, long pants, beanie and shoes.  I normally wear compression shorts and ladies can wear tights under the long pants. It will start getting chilly so wear a fleece jacket, and depending on the weather, bring a windbreaker in case it rains.  Also always bring your headlamp with you from now on- NEVER go anywhere without your headlamp.  It gets very dark.

7.00pm - Dinner and depending on the weather, you can join me 🙋🏽‍♂️after dinner to look at the stars in the night sky.  Simply awesome.

Day 2 - Monday 25 Sept 2017 (Timpohon Gate to Panalaban)

5.00am - Wakey wakey!  Pack everything that you don't need to bring up the mountain into a separate bag.  You can leave this at the Park Locker located at the National Park main reception.

👕Recommended attire: T-shirt, fleece jacket, long pants (compression shorts/tights), beanie and shoes.  No need to wear thermals for now.  You can take off the fleece jacket and beanie as it gets warmer. The weather from Timpohon Gate to Panalaban is generally pleasant and not cold, unless it rains. 

6.00am - Breakfast. Eat lots of carbohydrates - bread and noodles. You will need the energy to climb. Don't forget to collect your lunch pack which you will eat at Layang Layang. 

7.00am - This is where a lot of confusion happens, so you have to be very patient and focused.  You have to register, get your climbers name tag, deposit what you don't need with the Park Locker, look for your guide and look for a porter and agree how much to pay to bring your backpack up the mountain and down.  Once you have settled all these, you will have warmed up considerably and you can take off your fleece jackets. Look for your buses next. 

8.00am - Get on board the buses which will take us to Timpohon Gate, the starting point of the climb,  The ride is about 15 minutes.

8.30am - And the climb begins.

1200pm - You should target to reach Layang Layang by noon and eat your cold package lunch. By now, you will be hot and sweaty and beginning to wonder if you can even reach Panalaban/Laban Rata. Of course you can!

Layang Layang is the first " I want to give up😩!" point. Be strong!

3.00pm - The average climbers should reach Panalaban by 3pm. Good climbers reach by 1pm. The slow and steady climbers should reach by 5pm. I will be with the slow and steady climbers and will push you to reach Panalaban. 

Into the zone - by the time you arrive at Panalaban, you would have reached 3,300 metres. You will feel very very tired, cold, miserable and the full effects of altitude sickness may start to set in. This is where you want to give up. Never, never, never give up!  It's just 5 more minutes! 👋🏼

5.00pm - Buffet dinner will be served and end by 7.00pm. Sunset is breathtaking so get all your cameras ready. 

8.00pm - Time to get to bed. It's going to be difficult to fall asleep, even though you are so so tired. The altitude sickness plus people walking up and down the corridors going to the toilet will be so irritating.  It will also be very cold and you will need to sleep in all your layers. 

Tip - bring your own 3-in-1 Milo and have a hot drink before sleeping. It helps.  

I usually don't bother bringing any sleeping clothes. I sleep in the same clothes that I trek up with and when I wake up, I go on the summit climb with the same clothes. 

Day 3 - Tuesday 26 Sept 2017 (Panalaban to Summit and then back to Timpohon Gate and to KK)

1.00am - Wakey wakey!

👕Recommended attire: For upper - T-shirt, thermal shirt, fleece jacket, down jacket/outer shell. For lower - long pants,compression shorts/tights, beanie, buff, gloves and shoes.   You can leave the rest of your clothes in your bunk.  Just bring a backpack and water.

2.00am - Breakfast. Eat lots of carbohydrates! Don't eat meat. 

2.30am - Let's start the push to the summit!  The next 4 hours is going to be the toughest part of the climb. It's dark, miserably cold and you are just ready to give up anytime. Don't give up!

5.00am - We must reach Sayat Sayat by 5am as this is the cut-off. Climbers will not be allowed to climb beyond Sayat Sayat if they reach after 5am. 

7.00am - We will reach the summit and watch the sun rise. This is a moment that you will never ever forget for the rest of your life!

8.00am - Start coming down from the summit.

10.00am - Reach Panalaban, have a quick bite, pack all your stuff and start heading down to the Timpohon Gate

3.00pm - Reach Timpohon Gate and you are now officially a Mount Kinabalu summiteer!

7.00pm - Back to Kota Kinabalu and a hot shower.

Day 4 - Wednesday 27 Sept 2017

Depart for home sweet home.  See you at the MIA AGM on Saturday 30 September 2017!

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