It was always my dream of hiking the Mount Kinabalu. My mum went up there in 2011. I wanted to join but she said I was too young at that time. After many years of persuading my mum, she finally agreed to take me there. The happiest time of my life.
Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in South East Asia
My first time hiking the Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in South-east Asia in Sabah Malaysia. The mountain is well known by many mountain climbers around the world and it was crowned with the title World Heritage site by UNESCO in year 2000 for its beautiful flora and fauna.
Two days of hiking
We have the options to choose a two-day hiking or a three-day hiking package. We went for the two-day hiking package.
The first day I reached Lapan Rata Resthouse
The first day, I woke up 5 am in the morning, a van picked me and my mum up from Kota Kinabalu town then head to Tamparuli town to pick up my uncle Lawrence. It was my first time meeting my mother’s family in Malaysia too. They were very friendly and welcoming. After breakfast, we drove about two hours to the Kinabalu National Park. I enjoyed the scenery very much. The tropical rainforest was beautiful.
We arrived at the Kinabalu National Park, head to the office to pick up our hiking licence. We also met our mountain guide there. Thereafter, we drove to the Timpohon Gate where we start our climb.
We started hiking at about 8.30 am and we arrived at the Lapan Rata Rest House about 2 pm in the afternoon. I was starving at the point. My mum ordered the most delicious plate of fried noodles and a super size hot chocolate for me. Afterwards, I went straight to bed and slept like a baby.
The second day I reached the summit of Mount Kinabalu
The next day, we all woke up at 1 am in the morning, we had breakfast at 2 am then we start hiking in pitch black about 2.30 am. The climb was tougher than the first day. I was a bit grumpy because my legs were tired and my muscle was sore. Yet, I did not want to give up. My mum knew me well and she was very patient with me.
If you watched my video, you would see the steepness on the rocky mountain when we were coming down from the summit in daylight. I think it was a good thing, we can’t see the steepness in pitch black. We were just following other climbers and our mountain guide.
My feeling at the peak of the mountain
When I got up to the peak of the mountain, I felt so good. I felt like I could do anything and I could conquer the world. The feeling was so empowering.
Subsequently, I shared my hiking experience with my cardiologists and I learnt that there was a cardiology research on the impact of altitude on children’s heart. The reseach team took healthy children to Mount Everest Base Camp 1 about 3500m above sea level for their case study.
Mount Kinabalu is 4095m above sea level. My mum also searched on the internet to see if any kids with a congenital heart defect has attempted a mountain similar height with Mount Kinabalu. So far, she found none. This makes me the first kid with a heart condition attempted a mountain with an altitude more than 4000m above sea level. I am so proud of myself.
From my hiking experience, I learned that my mind could override my body discomforts. My legs muscles were sore and I was tired but I did not want to give up. The minute I declared “I am going to do it” I stopped being a grumpy kid. I focused on taking one step at a time. I put one foot in front of another and I kept going till I reached the summit.
Like Scott Fisher said, “it’s not the altitude, its the attitude.”