Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, located in the Malaysian state of Sabah in Borneo. Eugene and I climbed this mountain back in 1998, when I was at my peak in terms of fitness. It was indeed a challenge of our willpower.
The decreasing oxygen as the altitude increased gave me a constant headache. As I climbed on, my legs just got heavier. And for a person who loves the sun more than snow, the dropping temperature did not help in making the climb as enjoyable as when I first started from the bottom of the mountain.
We started our climb at around 10am and reached Laban Rata, the rest stop, in the early afternoon. Laban Rata is where most climbers rest for the night before making an early ascent at around 2am to reach the peak to witness the sunrise. Although we did not make it early enough to catch the sunrise, I was happy enough with just having made it. I literally felt on top of the world standing at over 13,000 feet above sea level.
The descent was much easier and faster. We 'recuperated' at a resthouse in Kinabalu Park, legs feeling like a ton of rocks. The next morning my friend Nicholas, a local resident of Kota Kinabalu (capital of Sabah), arrived to take us for a dip in the Poring Hot Springs before sending us to the airport.
My five-day visit to Kota Kinabalu and climbing the mountain was a memorable experience.