We returned from Borneo on Saturday 14th April, exhausted, in need of a hot bath, and a little disappointed.
From the moment we arrived at Mount Kinabalu, it became evident that our training had been nowhere near enough. For some strange reason I had been under the impression that the climb would be over three days; in fact it was two! By way of an interesting statistic; climbing Kinabalu from bottom to top and back, is the same distance as climbing Mount Everest one way, hardly something to undertake in one day! (thanks Lucy)
There was much more scrambling over loose rock than we imagined and some of the steps were nearly as tall as Sue! The length of time from each point was much longer than we were told and our water supplies were consequently almost always inadequate.
Day one saw us set out at around 9 o'clock and we did not reach the rest stop at Laban Rata until nearly eight in the evening which meant some of our journey was in the approaching dark.
After almost no sleep we continued on at 3 the following morning in darkness with head torches against the advice of our guide to try to reach the summit.
Surprisingly neither of us appeared to suffer any form of altitude sickness although by this point we were over 3,500 metres above sea level.
Finally, at around 5am we reached at solid granite rock face at about a 45degree angle where the only hand hold was a rope bolted into the rock. In the darkness we could not see how far it stretched or where it went. Our guide only spoke broken English so it was difficult to get a detailed picture of just what was involved fron here but he made it clear that the rope continued right to the top and the climb only got harder.
After a lengthy discussion, safety prevailed and we had to admit that it just would not be safe to continue, ( pulling yourself up hand over hand is impossible if you can only use one hand)
Another two hours back to the rest stop, then a short break, top up our water bottles and back down the mountain. We reached the bottom at around 2.30
We had been walking for around 23 of the last 29 hours. Not bad going, and at the finish we discovered a warning sign telling people NOT to attempt the climb if they had ANY pre existing medical conditions (some of those mentioned were much less debilitating than Dystonia.)
The Park Ranger was so impressed with Susan that she was awarded with the certificate usually only given to those who reach the summit.
This site will remain open for donations until 4th June, many many thanks for all the support especially from the following people;
In no particular order,
Paul and Jackie, Glenda, Lucy, Fiona, Kylie, Sarah, Christine, Nicola, and Joe the guide who wasbrilliant.