On June 4th 2015, around 9.00am, my friends and I started climbing the Mount Kinabalu via Timpohon Trail in hope to witness the sunrise 22 hours later. Since it was my first experience, I was very excited to begin the journey despite my lack of stamina (I always am, being a PLKN trainee didn’t change it).
|From Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata|
Excluding the killing stairs and the long distance (6km), the whole journey from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata was good. The weather was good, it was not too hot or too cold for me to handle. Upon reaching Laban Rata at about 4.10pm, I went straight to the dining area to feed my starving tummy. Never did I know that that would be my last meal until the next 27 hours.
At 1.00am the next day, Charlene, Lilian and I woke up to prepare our supper. Since our room (Gunting Lagadan Hut) was located 500meter from the diner, we decided to have only bread and coffee for energy, not willing to waste our breath going down to the diner to have our supper. About 2.50am, we were all ready to start our journey to the summit, after our awesome guide; Faldey gave the briefing. The journey was good, though tiring, and nothing extraordinary happened along the way. But one thing that I realize was that the higher our ascent, the more mice I saw. They were like running away from something but I thought it was natural. (I have forgotten to mention this to Orangsabah).
|Taken minutes before the earthquake|
|The donkey's ear|
So when I reached the peak at around 6.40am (thanks to Faldey for making it possible for me to reach the peak. Like I said, I am physically weak, but because of him, I managed to reach the top), like usual, we took lots of pictures, and yet, we felt nothing unusual. At 7.00am, the guide asked us to start descending but we were too engrossed with the beauty of mount Kinabalu that we ignored him. So we move around capturing the scenery and some ‘selfies’ , until suddenly the mountain shook so strongly that it left us speechless for about 2 seconds. It was around 7.15am. Then as if awakened from a trance everybody started running back towards the peak trying to avoid being thrown down the gorge. I have never been so terrified in my life. The tremor lasted for a few seconds, and that was when the Donkey’s ear suddenly broke and fell down, in a slow motion that it felt unreal and the falling rocks started rolling toward us. I really-really thought that we were going to die that day. Luckily, it didn’t go straight to the place where we were gathered, but it went down and suddenly stopped midway. We were all in shock even the guides themselves. It was like some unseen hands had pushed the rolling rocks from the fallen ‘donkeys ears’ away from us and rolled over to the other side.
...to be continued....