We got up at 1.40am and didn't get that much sleep.... the Japanese guy who was sharing our dorm had the most unusual snore and kept us awake for most of the night so we only got about 2 hours in. After piling on our clothes and a quick snack, we started to climb the 2.7km to the summit in the pitch black in around 8 degrees. We had bought some little torches that fastened around our heads to help us find our way and for the first 1 km it was pretty straight forward. However, at the 7km point, the climb started to get very steep so much that all the climbers needed to use the ropes that had been secured on the huge steep granite faces. Lawrence our guide was very good to Sophy in helping her up, as the slopes got steeper and steeper . Also the higher we got, breathing got harder and harder due to the altitude. At around 8km, we could just about see where the summit roughy was as we spotted all the climbers torches up ahead. That gave us a muchneeded boost! With around 200m to go, the climb became very hard and we could see quite a few climbers sitting on the top of a gigantic pileof rocks and we joined them thereby about 6am just in time for sunrise. Yeah! Sitting on top as the sun came up with some of the other climbers at 4,101m (13500ft) in 0.5 degrees, was a real highlight as you could see for miles and see all the clouds below you. It was really remarkable. As other climber made it to the top, it got a little crowded (and Sophy had lost all sense of feeling in her hands and feet!!!) so we decided to start our climb down. The descent down to our 6km resthouse was a real joy, we could see for miles and the impact of the climb upwards hit us as we could see where we had climbed only hours before, the temperature got a lot warmer and the views were incredible, which hopefully you can see from the photos. Standing there and seeing all this, literaly does takes your breath away and you almost have a spring in your step as your achievement hits home of what you have just accomplished. We took so many photos and finally arrived back at camp at 8.45am after just over 6 hours on the slopes and tucked into a well earned breakfast as we were starving. Our legs were really starting to ache and then we realised that we still had to descend a further 6km down to where we had started from and thought it can't be as bad as the way up which took 6 hours and really hurt our poor legs!.......... WRONG. The climb down was so hard, our legs were so tired and really stiff that it was so hard to walk down the steep slopes that we climbed the previous day. We stopped quite a few times for water, to rest the new/different leg muscles we were using and for a rest from the hard rocks and steep slopes. Still, the locals ran up and down the slopes with huge bags of supplies which apparently they can do up to 4 times a day! We even saw one running down in flip flops! Crazy! Oh, and our guide Lawrence often stopped for a cigarette and let us go on ahead and he then caught us up, we were that slow! He was very patient with us and helpful to Sophy who needed her hand holding toget down some of the steep steps/rocks! But to Lawrence it was probably just a gentle stroll in the park (which he does 2/3 times a week up and down!). We finally made it back after just over 4 hours and in total we had been climbing for around 14-15 hours in the 2 days!! After we finished, we both agreed that this was by far the hardest thing we had ever done and that was echoed by other climbers we talked to. We were then amazed that there is an annual "race" (21km) to the summit and back. The record for this is by Italy's Marco de Gasperi who finished with time of 2 hrs 36 min and 59 sec. He got to the top in 1hr 36min and the year he broke the record, the 2nd place guy was only 1 second behind!! After doing this, we both find it incredible that these guys can run at speed both up and down the mountain in such conditions....You gotta take yourhat off to them!
The rest of the day was spent at a small town called Poring in the Kinabulu National Park which is famous for it's hot springs. We were glad to soak our weary limbs in the hot bath temperature waters and also have a massage afterwards :O) This was both heaven and also painful as our legs were incredibly stiff, so much that we were finding it difficult to walk. That evening we were in bed at 7pm (!!) and slept for around 13 hours until the next morning. I guess we must have needed it??!! The following day, we had another quick visit to the springs where we had our own private tubs for an hour long soak and headed back to Kota Kinabula to pick up our backpacks and head to the airport where we were off to Sepilok and the Orang-utan's!!!