I have not shown you my photos…

I posted 6 photo-blog post on Special Olympic Mt. Kinabalu Challenge for the past few weeks, but I did not have my own photos included. Oh, I also did not introduce to you the medical team that went up the mountain, volunteering for the health and safety aspects of the athletes.

I don’t know about you, but for me, going up there for the 5th time, there were nothing special about the mountain and me. It was more of the athletes and the mountain. When you walk side by side with these athletes, and seeing their special gift from God, you will feel really thankful to Him, by not having any disability.

Anyway, these are my photos, and this is the last post on the event.Special Olympic

The medical team: (From left) Dr. Ahmad Tarmizi, Dr. Loriot, Dr. Azlan, Dr. Hanafiah, me, Dr. Sakinah & Dr. Azuan. Dr. Liaw (the medical team leader) is not in the photo, as he was giving the briefing while this photo was taken.

Special Olympic

Early morning, before we started our journey. Photo was taken from Bundu Tuhan Retreat Center.

Special Olympic

I tore my right knee meniscus few months back while playing football. That is why I wore an open cap knee-guard to support it. It helped a lot!

Special Olympic

Laban Rata resthouse. The temperature is only 8.4 degree Celcius.

Special Olympic

Going down Kinabalu with my Crocs-like Asadi sandal and my hiking pole.

An email from Wenky on climbing Kinabalu

I received an email from one of Kinabalu Blog readers, Wenky. I hope you could benefit from then answers that I gave to her. My answers would be in bold.

Dear Drizad,

Hi, I’m a visitor of your blog, this is my 2nd time writing to you. We have a lot of questions about Mt KK climbing which needs your direction and guidance.

We are going to ‘conquer’ the Mt KK next month, and since this is our 1st time to Sabah and Mt KK, many things is DIY, without the help of agent. Hopefully you could help us to solve our simple questions. 😉

1) Is it convenient to get public transport from KK city to KK park? What is the price range for bus service from KK city to KK park?
Getting a public transport from KK to Kinabalu Park is quite easy. You just have to go to the bus station near Padang Merdeka in KK city center, and you could see the label and booth for buses to go to Ranau/Kundasang/Kinabalu Park. The cost would be around RM15-RM20.

2) Know that SSL also provide shuttle service from KK city, but how frequent is the service? Is it only 1 service per day?
I am not sure about SSL’s shuttle bus services, as they always revised it. You need to ask them about it here: http://www.suterasanctuarylodges.com

3) Does the Kinabalu park itself provide transport within the KK park, poring hot spring, canopy walk and other nearby tourist spots?
No, but there are public transport available. You just have to get info from the Sabah Park Management office there in Kinabalu Park.

4) Does public transport such as taxi and busses by pass KK park frequently ? Is it convenient to get public transport from KK park to other tourist spots?
Yes.

5) We plan to stay in KK park on the 1st day, b4 climbing on the next day, but found out the accommodation is pretty expensive, they charge 1 bunk bed in one of the oldest and low budget hostel for RM70 per pax, is the price reasonable?? And what is the earliest time to check in?
I am not sure about that hostel pricing, as it sometimes depends on other services available in the hostel also. You have to ask them about the check-in time, but usually after 1pm.

6) We plan to register at KK HQ 1 day ahead b4 climbing, so does it mean we can directly proceed to Timpohon Gate on the day of climbing without gather at the KK HQ?
No, you don’t have to. Because you have to get a bus from Kinabalu Park HQ to Timpohon Gate. They will provide you with the bus. You don’t have to go to Timpohon Gate yourself. And that morning, you will be given a guide, before you are allowed to climb.

7) Does KK HQ provide transportation form the HQ to Timpohon gate? Is it inclusive transfer package once we register?
Yes. I am not sure whether the bus fare is inclusive in the package. You have to ask the package provider.

8) Is it true that we can store our bag in KK park HQ for RM10 per piece per day?
Yes, but I am not sure about the pricing.

9) Does the porter walk together with us when climbing up to Laban Rata? Can few persons share 1 porter? Since they calculate by weight.
Usually porters walk by themselves, but if you insist them to follow you, they could. Sharing porter is okay, but they usually have their maximum limit of the weight they carry.

10) Does foodstuff sell at KK park such as energy bar, isotonic drinks, fruits sold at a reasonable rate and not tourist rate?
I am not sure about that, but the last time I went there, they are quite pricey.

11) We plan to stay in KK park, any recommendation of nearby eating outlet sell good food and yet and a reasonable price?
There are some stalls and restaurants just opposite Kinabalu Park entrance. Some says that the food/price is reasonable. Otherwise, you can just get a transport to Kundasang town for foods.

12) What other precautions we have to take when climbing Mt KK?
Precautions? The most important thing is to take care of your health. I have written some info on that matter in the website. Here:
http://mount-kinabalu-borneo.com/mount-kinabalu-health.html
http://mount-kinabalu-borneo.com/mount-kinabalu-medical.html

Thanking in advance for your kind solution, hope you don’t mind the countless questions above. Thank you very much.

Regards,

Wen Ki

( Ipoh Mari)

If you think you have a better answers, you can just drop your comments in the comment box below. Cheers! 

The flora & fauna of Kinabalu

This would be my 6th post on Special Olympics Mt. Kinabalu Challenges. After posting about the athletes, escorts and the volunteers, this would be a post on flora & fauna of Kinabalu.

Frankly speaking, I have never shoot this much photos on the flora and fauna on my previous trip up the mountain. Enjoy!

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Rhododendron sp.

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Mountain squirrel. You usually find them around Pondok Ubah, Pondok Mempening & Layang-Layang Hut. They are now more demanding. Unless you give them expensive chocolate, they will bug you…

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

A group of Nephentes villosa.

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

Stunted trees on summit plateau.

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

The rope on summit plateau with plant in the rock creases.

Nephentes sp.

Who know what species of Nephentes is this?

Flora & fauna of Kinabalu

This is an out of focus fern. The problem when you use point and shoot camera…

Rhododendron sp.

Another color of Rhododendron sp. 

The Unsung Heroes of Kinabalu : Porters & Guides

Ahh… We will not be able to reach the peak of Kinabalu without them. We will cry in agony if nobody help us on carrying our 32kg (~70lb) backpack for our 1 week stay here in Sabah. The Unsung Heroes of Kinabalu.

I would like to dedicate this post to them. I wrote one post on them few months ago, but things seemed to be viewed differently when I captured it myself with my Powershot A470. By the way, this is my 5th post on my trip up the mountain with Special Olympics Mt. Kinabalu Challenge.

One of them carrying a 39kg frozen meat up to Laban Rata. One of them carrying an athlete – Harris, an 18yr old Down’s Syndrome down from Paka to Villosa (oh, he’s a Sabah Park Renjer actually). Others just carrying things that you can’t imagine

Anyway, enjoy the photos!

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu
The gas tank weigh 16kg…

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu
He is carrying a 39kg frozen meat up to Laban Rata.

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

I am not joking. I snap this porter with an “Adidas Kampung” WITHOUT SOCKS!!! And he even walk faster than me!!!

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

They are our guides. Look closely. You may think that they are wearing Crocs up the mountain.

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

The porters who overtook us during the climb.

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Yes, they are porters. All of them carrying the weight which are 5x heavier than mine…

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Guess what did they carry? GARBAGE! I snap this just about another 100 meters to Timpohon Gate, on my way down from the peak.

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

Porters & Guides of Kinabalu

They were carrying garbage from Laban Rata Restaurant.

Kinabalu Summit Plateau – I only reached 7.5km…

My fourth post on Special Olympics Mt. Kinabalu Challenge 2008. Unfortunately this time, I did not able to reach the peak. It is not because of me, but more to the athletes. Some of the athletes were just not fit to continue. Almost all whom did not able to continue experienced fatigue and maybe mild acute mountain sickness (AMS). As the last person to climb, I have to stick with the last athlete and his/her escort.

We reached 7.5km mark at 6.30am, in which, the guides and renjers ordered us to climb down, as time was running out. For me, I don’t mind that I did not able to reach the peak this time. As I said before, this journey was not about me. It’s about the athletes. I was just glad that although we only managed to get to 7.5km mark, nobody gets hurt.

Enjoy the photos!

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Rock boulders at 7km mark.

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Mala, an athlete from Brunei that I escorted.

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

She hurts her knee while going down.

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Sayat-Sayat Hut.

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Down the Rockface.

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Summit Plateau

Kinabalu Rockface

To be continued…

Wanna see the thrill at the “Rockface” of Kinabalu?

I think this would be my third post on Special Olympics Mt. Kinabalu Challenge that I volunteered to be involved. The challenges of getting 40 special athletes up the mountain became more intense at this part of Summit Trail of Kinabalu – the “Rockface”. Rockface is a place where the jungle trail ends, and climbers of Kinabalu have to start using rope to climb. At some place you also have to scramble to get up and down trail.

Problems with these special athletes (not all, but some of them) are poor coordination and balancing while having to use rope or moving up and down the trail. Like for example, a Down’s syndrome guy, Harris, has to have his escort holding him all the way up and down, just to make sure that he do not fall down.

The Rockface is very steep, around 70 degree angle, where you have to move sideways up the trail. While climbing up in the dark, you won’t see and feel the height, but it would be a different story when you come down in daylight.

Most normal people just need to hold the rope tight to get up the Rockface, but for these special athletes, they need extra safety to make sure that nothing bad happen. With the help from OBS (Outward Bound Sabah), these special athletes were equipped with helmet, sit harness, carabiner and rope for those who have poor coordination and balancing.

The photos below tells you almost everything. Again, as a sweeper team, I am with the last athlete…

Special Olympics

Just before we start our journey at 2am in the morning from Gunting Lagadan.

Special Olympics

Joanna (with the helmet).

Special Olympics

Anthony (in green), the Chief Mountain Guide. See the green plastic bag from his backpack? He brought the sandwiches up…

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

Harris, a Down’s Syndrome guy. They are fitting him with a harness.

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

A Taiwanese athlete.

Special Olympics

To be continued…

4th Special Olympics Mt. Kinabalu Challenge – Going up to Laban Rata

These are the photos taken the day we start our journey up from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata. It was a day climb, clear day up to Layang-Layang, but it started to drizzle afterwards to Villosa & Paka. I did get some of the athletes name and where they comes from, and I must tell you that they are the few last participants who arrived at Laban Rata. I knew it because I was with the sweeper team – nobody else would climb behind me, except the renjers, guides & porters.

Special Olympics

Just after the flag off…

Special Olympics

The team from Selangor.

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

The steepest steps just before Kandis…

Special Olympics

An athlete from Taiwan.

Special Olympics

An athlete from Tawau with his uncle as an escort.

Special Olympics

Joanna is a cute girl from Kudat. Dr. Liaw was treating her after she fell down.

Special Olympics

John, one of the volunteer who climbed with me.

Special Olympics

An athlete from Brunei who needed attention while at Layang-Layang.

Special Olympics

At 5.0km mark, 3001m above sea level.

Special Olympics

It was misty. That is why you could see some white clouds in the photo.

Special Olympics

Abu (most right, under the tree) an athlete from Kota Kinabalu.

Special Olympics

Near Paka Hut. Raymond (most left) is an old timer with this 3 yearly event.

To be continued…

4th Special Olympics Mt. Kinabalu Challenge – Flag off ceremony

I am back to my clinic today. After having a very exhausting trip up and down Mt. Kinabalu on Friday & Saturday (18th & 19th April), I am now back to my usual work. Feels good to be back, but missed the fellowship with other volunteers, Special Olympics athletes and escorts.

I am not sure how to write this, as writing every bits and details would bored you up with the schedules and things that I did. I don’t think what I did would matter to you most, as what I did was just climbing up Kinabalu (which almost all of you did). The main star in time around was a group of 40 special athletes from this region, that never climbed the mountain before.

What I think I would do is separating this Special Olympics post into several series of post over the next few days, with a lot of photos (maybe 10 photos in one post) during the climb. I am going to photoblog this post and the next few to give you the picture on what I have did with these athletes. I snapped more than 100 photos. It will take some time for me to upload all…

This few photos were taken during the flag off ceremony by our newly appointed Sabah’s Ministry of Youth & Sport, Mr. Peter Pang at Timpohon Gate on Friday, 18th April 2008.

SOS -flag off

Early morning view of Majestic Kinabalu seen from Bundu Tuhan Retreat Center. We stayed here for one night before we start our climb the next morning.

SOS -flag off

SOS -flag off

SOS -flag off
Our new Sabah Minister of Youth & Sport, Mr. Peter Pang, whom officiating the flag-off ceremony.

Special Olympics

Freddy (an athlete) with his escort, Dr. Lai from Kudat. Freddy is a hyperactive child. He managed to reach the peak.

Special Olympics

Harris (with dotted cap) is a Down’s Syndrome guy from Sarawak. He only managed to reach the Rockface.

Special Olympics

We have to take photo with the sponsors…

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

To be continued…

Looking for a mountain guide name Billy Sapinggi

I received an email from one of Kinabalu climber yesterday. He is looking for his mountain guide name Billy Sapinggi, when he did the climb in December last year. If you have any information on the guide’s whereabout and phone number, please drop a comment. Here is Noor’s email:

Hi, my name is Noor. I’m from Johor Bahru.

Firstly, I would like to say that I really enjoy reading your blog, I find most of the topics interesting / informative.

Doc, I need help!
In December last year, I, and 10 other people attempted to climb the majestic Mount Kinabalu. Sadly, only 3 of us reached the peak, not including me, due to the weather conditions.

Anyway, our guide was Billy Sapinggi. He was extremely helpful and nice and jaga-ed us well. Next time we climb (next year, God willing), we would love have him as our guide again.

The upsetting part is that we did not get a chance to thank him for all his help! This is because when we descended from the mountain, he was still up there with 2 people from our group, and we couldn’t wait for them as our vans were ready to bring us back to our apartment.

When I got back home, I started browsing the internet in hopes of finding his number. I even called Sabah Parks, but I was given a wrong number. I emailed Sabah Parks, and again, they gave me a wrong number. I found 2-3 blogs where the climbers’ guide was Billy, but they didn’t have his number either.

So, I thought of asking you whether by any chance at all you have Billy Sapinggi’s number or know where I might be able to obtain his number.

Thanking you a great bunch in advance.

PS : Good luck on climbing with the Special Olympic team! 🙂

Regards,
Noor

Thanks Noor! Hopefully somebody could give you an answer.