On the advice of others I took a bus to the park gate and waited around to form a group to share a guide and make an assault on the summit.
I teamed up with three medics on their elective, an Irishman and another Englishman.
Having trekked in the Hindu Kush, the Karakorams and the Himalayas I was not expecting this trip to be particularly tough. It was only a two day trip up and down, and the summit was only just over 4,101m. What I did not factor in my expectations was the rate of ascent. The climb was actually like walking up a flight of stairs all the way to the summit. The path was rarly flat. On my previous treks you would probably gain this sort of altitude over several days. Altitude sickness was not too much of a problem here though as you spent the night at about 3,400m, climbed a further 700m to the summit on the second day before heading all the way back down.
The walk was well marked, and most of the way there was a handrail to guide you. We made good use of the fairly frequent resting spots. Another thing I had not realised that the walke was mostly through rainforest. The advantage of this trip was that you actuall got about the surrounding forest and were able to look down on it to appreciate its size and beauty. Before the end of day one you were also looking down on the clouds.
We were all glad to reach our camp for the first night and soon tucked into the overpriced buffet before settling down for an early night. We shared our dorm with a particularly camp couple who we had met on the way up.
We left the huts at about 3am to reach the summit in time for sunrise. The trail was pretty crowded to start off with but people did eventually spread out. We passed a checkpoint at about 5am where they told us that it was another 2 hours to the summit. Expecting sunrise to be at about 6am I decided to make a break for it soon afterwards. I was not getting up at 3am to miss the sunrise. We all met up at the summit in time to enjoy the sunrise and take a few photos before heading all the way down, stopping at the huts for breakfast on the way.
After a well earned beer at the bottom I headed off to Poring Hot Springs with Pete for a spot of post climb relaxation.
Most of the people that I had met at Uncle Tan's had already climbed Kinabalu and were all suffering from stiffness. As a result I had tried to stretch often on the way up and down, and applied copious amount of tiger balm. I thought that the hot springs would be the perfect way to complete the stiffness avoidance program.