We woke up bright and early at 645am the next morning to pack for the climb. After a breakfast of nasi lemak, we rode 5km to the trailhead and started hiking around 840am. There were a few farms near the trailhead where we picked up some potatoes and long beans for our dinner.
There are 6 checkpoints (POS1, POS2, POS3, Shelter 1, Shelter 2, Shelter 3) between the trailhead and summit. Our target for the day was to reach shelter 2 where we would set up camp for the night. We stopped at Shelter 2 for lunch, consisting of rice with tofu, egg, sambal, crackers and tempe (soyabean nuts). It was a simple fare but having packed lunch while mountain climbing is already considered as a form of luxury. Some of the interesting sights along the trail were wild boar footprints, hornbills, beetle, giant millipedes, cicada shell, wild orchids, wild ginger flowers and pitcher plants.
The trail is not very well-marked but it is quite obvious with a few spilt trails. Fortunately for us, it did not rain for the previous two days or we would have been stepping on muddy land. It is compulsory to engage a mountain guide and apply for the national park permit if you wanted to climb to the summit. The climb is quite straightfoward and of average gradient from the trailhead to Shelter 2. However after Shelter 2, the trail gradually becomes steeper, sandier and windbeaten. There were a few fatal cases involving climbers who climbed without a guide. Therefore, don’t try to save money (that should be well-spent) or be a hero – always engage a proper certified mountain guide.
After climbing for more than 6 hrs, we finally reached Shelter 2 around 315 pm. According to our guide, most climbers took more than 7 hrs to reach shelter 2. Hehe…we were considered as pretty fast. There is a proper campsite with concrete plinth which can accomodate more than 3 double tents. However it is very exposed to the elements and is dotted around with rubbish. We set up our tent in a small but wind sheltered clearing inside the vegetation.
The area around Shelter 2 was littered with rubbish left behind by campers. We saw a rat scrambling among the heap rubbish beside our tent. I wonder how the rat managed to come up all the way to 2,800m. Dinner was sumptuous and romantic. Sumptuous because each of us had two main courses – instant noodles with vegetables followed by rice with sardines. Romantic because it was dinner under candlelight. (but we were in the wrong company, definitely not the right ambience for two macho men!)
The table below shows our arrival times and the altitudes at the various checkpoints. My Casio barometric watch was much more accurate than my Garmin GPS in measuring altitude. The watch agreed more or less with the signboard values whereas the GPS consistently gave a much higher values.
|Altitude / m
|Difference / m||Time reached|
|Shelter 1||2400||2508||108||1210 hrs|
|Shelter 2||2940||3063||123||1515 hrs|
|Summit||3635||3802||167||0645 hrs (next day)|