"Abdandoned by my mountain guide" Taman Negara Kinabalu by skyangel_k1
Taman Negara Kinabalu Travel Guide: 271 reviews and 543 photos
Poor guide + Altitude sickness = sure disaster
Of course, I feel a little disappointed, but not all that upset at the end of the day. I learnt much and achieved much in that little time I had on the slopes of Kinabalu. The journey to get there was as enjoyable as the final destination itself. So whilst I did miss out on the glorious sunrise and spectacular panorama of photos that would have followed, I am still pleased I got that far, and thus I still have a lot to share with fellow travelers. And hey, I still got a certificate which marked where I konked out at 3827.30m!
We started off in a group of four (two of us combined with another 2 super fit women). The super fit women passed the first leg to Laban Rata in 3 hours flat, even the porter had trouble keeping up.
We took 6 hours, and the mountain guide wasn’t pleased, commenting on how slow we were and that we would miss out on dinner. Come on, give us a break! We arrived at 5pm, with plenty of time to settle and have our buffet dinner.
On day two: It is amazing, that although I did not have any aching muscles when I woke up at 1.30am in the morning, I still did not make it up the peak. As with many others who would empathize with the novice first timer, my attempts to walk, crawl and literally drag myself up the final 2km (the final 200m before hitting 4095m) did not come to pass. After much wheezing, panting and getting pale and then blue in the face, I could not make it pass the rock face. Worse yet, my mountain guide was never with me in the first place at the start of the second leg. I wouldn’t want to blame the guide for my missing out on the glorious photographs and sunrise, and the elated feeling of victory and self-glory, but, he shouldn’t have left me behind! I was very annoyed.
We actually asked the guide if we could have a head start earlier in the morning (eg 1am), but he said No, as the other two would need to stay with us and they would be too fast and too early for the sunrise. So at 2.30am, we started our walk, and got left behind after an hour’s walk. I hadn’t walked a long way, and had about 2km to go. The guide went ahead and then came back to check on us. He then told me that I was too slow and had no hope of getting to the rocks.
I agreed on the point that due to my dizzy state, I could not focus on the steps ahead and it would be dangerous, especially on the granite surfaces. But I sensed that he preferred to spend his time with the faster ladies rather than with the weakest team member. I was sickened by that attitude. It was quite unfair, really.
I know that he couldn’t hope to satisfy two very different groups of people, and I partly blame it on the travel agents who arranged for us to share a guide rather than get us our own guide. He wasn’t much of a guide as he never pointed out anything to us about the fauna and flora of the place. I had to ask questions, only to be given an answer of ‘Oh, that’s an orchid’. Darn, I could have seen that myself. The guide was more an escort than a guide.
Having said that, the porter assigned to us was fabulous. She wasn’t merely a porter, but a companion, motivator, encourager and guide. She would share with us her lifestyle, her culture, talk about the development of the environment and her village, family and extend a part of her life to us. She pointed out plants which we wouldn’t have noticed and encouraged us to rest and enjoy the surroundings.
Nevertheless, as I said earlier, it was the whole journey rather than the end destination that made up the adventure. And the journey actually began even before I set foot on the slopes of Kinabalu. It starts much, much earlier, with all the preparation, homework and groundwork to make the trip more worthwhile.
I have included some bits of my journal of my preparation before the climb as well as what happened in between and after. Other tips are found in the respective ‘tips’ sections.
- Pros:Spectacular scenery, lovely people, good challenge
- Cons:Altitude can get to anyone, yukky toilets at LR
- In a nutshell:Get fit, take it easy and go for it
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