Standing at 4101 metres or 13,455 feet high, Mount Kinabalu in Sabah is the highest mountain in South East Asia. It has some of the richest flora in the world, the giant red blossom called the Rafflesia, one of the world's largest flower with a diameter over 170cm, can be found here. More than 250 bird species have been recorded and small mammals like mountain squirrels, tree shrews and bats inhabit the mountain. The climb begins with a lowland dipterocarp forest to the montane oak and conifer forest at the middle and eventually to the rocky alphine plateau summit. Lodging is available along the climb, with the highest at 12,500 feet, the Sayat Hut. Despite the majestic height, Mount Kinabalu is one of the world's easiest mountain to climb. No special skills or equipment are needed and it usually takes 2 to 3 days to complete. With extra time to spend, visitors can trek down the graded paths through rich lowland forest leading to mountain rivers, waterfalls and bat caves. The famous Poring Hot Springs are another main attraction. They were developed first by the Japanese during W.W. II, and today the springs are piped into several open air, Japanese style baths. The hot springs contain sulphur water which has curative properties for skin diseases.
For more precise information, visit Malaysia National Park at http://www.interknowledge.com/malaysia/kinabalu.htm Or Howard Lim's Guide to Mount Kinabalu Summit at http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/6293/
I view the distant peaks. Even if my love came to me, Would I be any happier? The peaks neither speak nor smile; But what happiness, O what joy! - New Song in the Mountain by Yun Son-do (1587-1671)
K2, also known Godwin-Austen, height 8,611 metre, 2nd highest mountain in the world. Although slightly shorter than Everest, it is regarded as a far more difficult and challenging climb. This picture was taken from Broad Peak base camp. Trek to K2 Base Camp/Concordia in Pakistan I have been planning to do trekking in Northern mountains of Pakistan for many years back since I was at my age of twenties. I have heard a lot about the famous Karakoram Highway, Rakaposhi etc from guide book and peoples I know. However, I just don't want to see the slide show , photos but I also want to do it. However, there are many uncertainities in my mind that almost leave me no choice to cancel/postphone the trip Finally. I ignored all the uncertainities and decided to go on since I have been putting so much effort on planning this trip. I flew from Singapore to Islamabad via K.L and Lahore by Pakistan airline on 16/July, arrived Islamabad Inter'l airport on early morning, my feeling was full of curiousity and excitment because that was my first trip to Pakistan, I will be happy to meet the giant mountains very soon. Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, in contrast to its twin city, Rawalpindi, Islamabad is a quiet and peaceful garden city in northean areas. I was arranged to meet other team members, Alex and his girlfriend, Miryam, from Switzerland, .S.Sanim, a retired airforce officer living in Rawapindi, at my agent office, and follow a briefing meeting at the Tourism office. At the evening, my agent Mr.Malik drove us to the Margalla hills to view the surrounding of the city and the beautiful Faisal Mosque. Later. We had our 1st and very delicious dinner at Kabul restauant, famous of its roast beef. With help of Mr.Malik, we got the confirmed seat ticket for the scenic flight from Islamabad to Skardu, the flight offers a spectacular aerial view the massif of Nanga Parbat, at 8,125 metre, the world's nine highest mountain and Rakaposhi, we were glad to be invited to the pilot cockpit to view the beautiful mountains and a glimpse of K2, the highest in Karakoram. The trek is tough and demanding, but not difficult, it was rated as Grade D in trekking standards, trekking for several days over rugged terrain, with glaciated moraine changing on every level we reach, climbing up and down the scree slopes, we always watch out the dangers of rock fall and put extra cautioned when travel on glaciers for the hidden crevasses, weather is very extreme in day and night, several time of river crossing on the fast freezing current, eventhough of all these, we were rewarded an everchanging panorama views on every stage, Paiju Peak (6,610), Uli Biaho (6,417), Great Trango Tower (6,286) Cathedral Towers, the view are magnificent. We were also enjoyed the stay with each other, the jokes and fun, during the journey, we have also met other groups and share experience with them, they are from different countries, speaking different languages with its own culture, but our goal are same, love the nature and enjoy trekking. The trek to Concordia is indeed a trek into the throne room of the mountain gods, as Galen Rowell proclaimed, the 70km walk took us eight days to reach Concordia, a junction point surrounded by numerous mountains and meet of five glaciers. Its offer a magnificient view of the four 8,000 peaks in Karakoram, K2 (8,611), Broad Peak (8,047) & the Gasherbrum range, but there are receives strong winds and is the coldest camp on the Baltoro glacier. On 29/July, the most exciting day of the trip, trek to K2 B.C, it was covered by a long & tiring day to the base camp and back to Concordia, everyone was exhausted but we were very glad because we all made it. We moved on faster pace on the return trip as we have already acculimatisated. To avoid the repeating routes, you may try to cross the Gondogora La, 5,940 metre but you must have prior acclimatisation and some basic mountaineering skill with proper equipment is required. To me, it is not only a achievement to complete the trek but also help me to build up confident and looking challenge ahead.
Suggest further reading :
01. Trekking in the Karakoram & Hindukush, Lonely Planet
02. Amongst the mountain god, Action Asia, Oct/Nov/97
* Special thanks to Jocasta, I won't make it without her patience, support and encouragement.