Below is a story about a recent trip to Mt. Kinabalu in Malaysia written by one of my student’s at my English school, Smith’s School of English Ohtsu.
My student’s name is Mitsuhiro. He is a Forest Keeper and a very determined English student, as English helps him with all his traveling. His hobbies include running marathons, para-gliding and mountaineering. This last hobby in particular leads him to travel a lot, and for this he is inspired to study hard every day. He has been studying with us at Smith’s school of English Ohtsu since Fall 2009, and we are incredibly proud of the progress he has made so far. I want to thank Mitsuhiro for allowing me to publish another of his incredible stories, and I hope you enjoy it.
A Record of my Climbing Mt Kinabalu
This traveler’s diary is a climbing record to Mt. Kinabalu on Borneo Island which I climbed in November of last year.
If you are interested in mountains, I think that you have heard the expression called “Seven Summits”. The expression “Seven Summits” means the highest peaks of the seven continents. Namely, Mt. Everest (8,848m) is on the Asian Continent, Cerro Aconcagua (6,959m) is on the South American Continent, Mt. McKinley (6,194m) is on the North American Continent, Mt. Kilimanjaro (5,895m) is on the African Continent, Mt. Elbruz (5,642m) is on the European Continent, Vinson Massif (4,897m) is on the Antarctic Continent and Mt. Kosciuszko (2,228m) is on the Australian Continent. Of course there are some objections for this classification. In particular Mt. Elbruz is located on the Europe and Asia border, so there are arguments that the highest peak on the European Continent is Mont Blanc (4,810m).
In any case, if you are a person to like climbing mountains, it is natural that you want to climb one of these mountains. I considered my economic power and my ability about climbing mountains and I decided that I am going to climb 4 mountains of these. These are Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Elbruz, Mont Blanc and Mt. Kosciuszko.
Then I joined Himalayan Trekking in 2008, I experienced my first overseas mountain climbing. Last year I put my plan into practice. At first it was Mt. Kilimanjaro that I aimed at and I could reach the summit in February. The next aim is Mt. Elbruz. I will go there this year. Meanwhile I had free time for around 1 week last November, so I decided to go to Mt. Kinabalu (4,095m, Malaysia) which is the highest mountain in Southeastern Asia.
Monday, November 8th
I arrived at Kota Kinabalu in the evening by Malaysian Airlines which departed from Narita in the afternoon. The time difference is one hour. I met other members of this tour and a local guide who could speak Japanese for the first time at Koto Kinabalu airport. Our tour team had 4 persons. We were 1 woman and 3 men. We went to Kinabalu Park in the rain by car for 2 hours, after we had dinner at a restaurant in the city. We arrived at a lodge late at night. In Japan lodges meant small mountain huts, but the lodge had some big rooms like resort hotels. However in the late night hot showers were not available.
Tuesday, November 9th
When I got up in the morning, it was a blue sky. I saw Mt. Kinabalu clearly in front of my room. Then we went to the park office, we followed the necessary procedures for climbing Mt. Kinabalu. Meanwhile we had breakfast at a restaurant near the park office. Most people in the restaurant were Westerners. Then we went to a climbing gate by car. We signed the mountaineer list and started to hike up at 10:00 a.m. Shelters were deployed along the mountain trails at intervals of about 30 minutes walk. The lavatories in shelters had western style flush toilets. The climbers are obliged to use these lavatories, and even men are forbidden to relieve themselves in the bush. There were little garbages on the mountain trails and those were kept in good condition. The number of mountaineers per one day seemed to be confined to about 150 for Environmental protection. We were caught in rain on the way, but on schedule we arrived at a mountain hut which was located at about 3,200m at 3:00 p.m. We had supper leisurely. The supper was mainly a Chinese smorgasbord without pork. I was pleased that there were many vegetables. But the rice was Indica. This is not palatable to me for some reason.
Our room which had 2 bunk beds was for 4 people. It was men and women sharing a room. There were clean sheets, blankets and bath towels. But there was a limit for power supply, so heating and hot showers were not usable at that time. Because we had to get up early the next morning, we got ready to sleep hurriedly.
Wednesday, November 10th
We got up in the middle of the night past 1:00 a.m. I saw many stars in the sky. All mountaineers started to prepare the attack to the top of the mountain. We ate light meals and straightened our clothes. We left the hut at 2:40 a.m. We passed on many craggy places with stairs and fixed ropes. Then we took the park ranger’s checks at the last hut which equals the ninth stage in Japan. Finally we entered into the core of Mt. Kinabalu. There was hardly a plant on the scaly rocks in this area. We saw some strange rock peaks in the still gloomy night sky. One of them was shaped like the ears of a donkey. We greeted the sunrise right under the top. At last we stood on the top (Low’s Peak) at 6:20 a.m. I shook hands with one of the members and we were pleased with each other and our climb to the top. We hiked down leisurely after having enjoyed the panorama of 360 degrees slowly. We came back to the hut and had a late breakfast. Many other mountaineers descended by the end of that day on the same route which they ascended. But we were going to depart the next day because we would take another long descending route. We had free time from that time on until the next morning. Usual rain began to fall before noon. I spent a luxurious time while looking at the rainy mountain from the hut.
Thursday, November 11th
It was fine in the morning. We got lunch boxes for breakfast early in the morning and departed. We arrived at Mesilau Nature Resort through tropical rain-forest in the early afternoon. This tour was very good, too. We toasted our good fight with beer and had lunch at a restaurant. We got climbing certificates in this place. Then we headed for Kota Kinabalu by car. I parted from the members here and began to travel alone to another world heritage, Gunung Mulu National Park.
If you would like to read about Mitsuhiro’s adventures climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, click HERE.
More students’ travel adventures can be found at the following links:
ESL Story: A Student’s Trip to Hong Kong
ESL Story: A Student’s Trip to Hawaii
ESL Story: A Student’s Trip to Germany
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