Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mount Kinabalu 05: Catching the Sunrise

I set my alarm at 2 am. My friend Charl and I were sharing the room with Jasme, a Muslim man who asked us if he could use the space to pray. His hair-raising chant broke the cold silence. Charl barely slept through the night. The night in the mountain was freezing cold. I had three layers of clothes and my hands and feet could not feel a thing. I was already curling like a freezing madman under the low temperature. This is the reason why I can't live in a temperate country, I could not bear such cold.

Around 2:15 am we were having our breakfast at the Laban Rata Resthouse. I had one toast, some mouthful of noodles, and scrambled eggs. Charl woke up with a bad stomach so she barely ate anything.

climbers on their way to the summit

The hike started at around 2:35 am traversing through the dark, narrow stair trails going through the summit. There was a long traffic of climbers that every now and then we had to stop to wait for those in the lead to move forward. After an hour or so, we reached the granite massif wherein we had to use a rope to climb a steep, rocky mountain. And because it was still dark, we had to rely on our headlights to lead us and pray to the high spirits not to fall on that deep-mile gulley just below us.

After more than an hour, we reached the alpine zone of Mouth Kinabalu. This part is occupied by various jagged, rocky peak formations. The trail all the way to the summit is elevated making it extra exhausting to climb. And because of the high altitude, breathing and recovering was difficult.

8.0 marker

Reaching the 3929 m. marker, Charl was extremely exhausted. Due to the lack of enough sleep the night before and the bad stomach, which she has been enduring since early morning, she could not go on. AMS got her.

Half kilometer away from the Low’s Peak, we rested for awhile and watched as sunrise unfolded before our sullen eyes. Slowly, a bright orange light spread through the vast horizon illuminating the dark portions of the alpine zone. I’ve seen so many sunrise in my life. But this one is special. Everything seems special that Tuesday morning. ^_^


I am literally standing above the clouds and witnessing the streaks of that orange light seeps into the vast horizon.


It was still dusk but behind those granite peaks is the sun making its presence felt.

sunrise 3

I patiently watch the color subsides as the sun streaks start to perforate.


Slowly, even the little grasses growing along the gaps and slopes of the rocky mountain become more visible to the naked eyes. Light is spreading faster than I had expected.


The ravine is damp because of the rain the night before. From here, you can see them like a fine white line enhancing the texture of the rocky mountain.


Clouds, mountains and more...

Next stop...the Low's Peak!


the donG said...

stunning as always. the charm of this mountain can be seen even thru the photos. seeing it during sunrise will definitely make your birthday memorable.

we enjoyed these series from your stories and thru the photos.

thanks for bringing us there thru this series.

redge said...

Wow, you've been traveling a lot. You're so lucky to have photographed this majestic landscape at it's best moment- sunrise. And you're right about how fast light spreads out in the morning, I have experiences when I wished the sun would rise a little slower.

Anyway, good luck in your future travels! And if you ever need a photographic assistant to carry your camera, equipment, etc, you can hire me... Just kidding. I just want travel din..

pieterbie said...

Wow, this is pretty spectacular!

Anonymous said...

A lovely set of pictures, you have excelled yourself and are worth every cent of the $400,000 odd ;-)

Ferdz said...

Grabe Rayts! Kinalabutan ako towards the end reading your narrative while looking at the pictures. I somehow felt how you felt at that time.

Was this your birthday? Ganda talaga ng views and to be aup above the clouds is such a wondrous feeling. Kamusta na si Charl? Did she also reach the peak?

my gulch said...

Hi dong!
yea, it was memorable. the weather was good that day. it rained hard after we descend from the mountain so parang pinagbigayan talaga ako, hehe. may instance dun na dahil nga basa yung mga bato paakyat e ilang beses din akong nadulas, haha! kakatawa, kase mukha akong eskimo na nadulas, as in una puwet. but even that, i consider a blessing. thanks Dong for appreciating these photos, i hope one day you'll be able to see what i've seen.

ako nga mag-aaply na apprentice mo eh. haha. i love the images you produce. i love the 'drama and the mood' you attached to them. may times during the climb na gusto ko na lang iwan ang kamera ko kase hassle minsan sa pag-ayat. at sa tuwing nadudulas or muntik-muntikan akong mahulog, kapakanan ng kamera ang una kong iniisip. o kamusta naman di ba? hehe.

Hi Peter!
thanks! you've used the word 'spectacular' twice already for this Kinabalu series. i am humbled. your appreciation means to me.

Hi Dom!
that's a lot of money. thanks for putting money where you think it's worthy. appreciate everything.

my gulch said...

Hi Ferdz!
actually, i started climbing on the day of my birthday. so yung 'catching the sunrise' was the day after na pero alam mo yun, ang saya ng feeling. yung lahat ng hirap napawi sa mga nakita kong kagandahan sa tuktok. saka iba pala yung feeling na mataas ka pa sa mga sounds poetic and all, but it was all literal. i was really standing higher than the clouds, hehe.

Charl got the altitude sickness. nahirapan na siyang makaayat kase nga she wasn't feeling well nung umaga pa lang so pahinga na lang muna siya sa Sayat-Sayat station. But she was okay na nung bumaba kami.

kyels said...

Really awesome photos! The colors are wonderful.


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