My partner, Jeff, and I, hiked Jebel Toubkal in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains previously. We did it by ourselves, albeit with the guidance of friend of ours, Chris Hardy of Intrepid Travel. So when we were researching Mt. Kinabalu, we were a bit annoyed to read that we would need to employ the guidance of a local guide, on top of all of the other fees that were required. We are not at all opposed to paying our way, but considering hiking the mountain is a one way up, same way down kind of affair, markers every 500m complete with shelters, drinking water and flushing toilets, we were trying to figure out a way around it. So we ended up joining with four other hikers, splitting the cost, gaining the necessary permit, and going off on our own.
|Beginning the ascent with a descent.|
|Markers like these are placed at 500m intervals.|
|Jeff tries on the porter's wooden backpack containing supplies for Laban Rata.|
|Above the clouds at Pendant Hut.|
|We made it!|
The descent was quicker, but more challenging. With lactic acid building in the legs, and a yearning to get down to the bottom as soon as possible, the legs were a tad on the shaky side. The intermittent hand railings helped to take the pain away from the knee joints, and also made it easier to 'fall' down the steps, knowing a barrier was there to hold on to. We passed the next lot of hikers making their way to the top, not envious of the descent they would need to make the next day, but jealous of the brilliant sunrise they would soon experience.