Once, I climbed a mountain…all 4,095m / 13,435′

Just checking in briefly from a tiny internet café in a place called Poring, where people come to soak their weary muscles in the hot springs after ascending Mt Kinabalu. We aren’t soaking, even though we did walk part of the way up the mountain in search of the Friendly Warbler (unsuccessfully, I might add). I took great pleasure in occasionally passing trekkers half my age on their way to the first leg of the summit…

not too often, I will admit, but there were some I could leave behind.

I first climbed Kinabalu back in the days before there were toilets on the way up, or those beautifully graded steps, or that restaurant at the hostel at the edge of the treeline, or those warmed rooms. Now that was the way to climb a mountain. (I love being smugly superior about the “good old days”, and “When I was young…”)

In some ways I enjoyed our “half-climb” more than the real climb I made 25 years ago (twice, although I didn’t quite get to the summit of Low’s Peak the second time around). This time we had time to admire the view, to poke around off-trail, to hunt for birds and pitcher plants…

I love this mountain. I love the way it never looks the same two minutes in a row. I love the way the clouds smoke away the trees like wildfire, only to snag on the anvil-claws of the rock. I love the way it dominates, a stark heap of granite snatching at the sky, all uncaring arrogance, without care for puny humankind scrambling up its slope like ants.

I am glad I had the opportunity to be one of those ants all over again, twenty-five years later. It was a privilege.


Once, I climbed a mountain…all 4,095m / 13,435′ — 4 Comments

  1. Hi Glenda

    Your trip up Mt Kinablu reminded me of my first climb with my late daughter about 20yrs ago. I was 42 then and on a tour of duty in KK for 5yrs.
    Mt Kinabalu has always atrracted me not just bec. its there with all its charm as you described it but bec its the tallest mountain in SEA and I love the challenge. The beauty of the Mt did not occur to me then, as I climbed it, and I could recalled almost vividly the last few steep steps before we reached Panar Laban/ Laban Rata. It was really tough, my heart was pumping fast as if it was about to pop out of my chest, but I managed to literally crawl to the hut that would accomodate us for the night.

    Somehow that morning (3.00am)I managed to regain some strength to make that last lap to the top. My daughter and me got our cert and it was a very memorable day for me.

    Now that you have aroused my desire to climb it once again, I’ll ensure that this time I’ll make greater effort at enjoying its beauty and take as many pic as my digi camera will allow me.

    Thank you for a beautiful article on Mt Kanabalu

    Abdul Rahman Ismail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.