Just when I thought I won’t be scaling Mount Kinabalu again : My journey to the ‘Highest Office’ in Sabah

Written by @joehairie & Content arranged by @Lan
(Photos by @joehairie)

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It is the highest ‘landmark’ in the entire Borneo Island. Standing firmly at 4,096 m above sea level, it is famously known as Mount Kinabalu with many stories behind its name. It once shook the state of Sabah, when that 30 seconds earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 occurred. That was on June 5, 2015 at 07.15 am. I never thought of scaling the mountain again after doing it for so many times, the first was in 1988. I even have to climb it again after landed myself in my current job. I was not sure if I want to go there again after the 2015 earthquake but perhaps the main reason for that was my thoughts of having enough with scaling mountains, not because of the quake.

My job

Recently, I received the work order from my superior and together with a colleague and on August 25, 2016, we found ourselves registering for the climb permit, this time around to program the network, in our ‘highest office’ here..! At the majestic Mt Kinabalu? Yes, you read it right. August 26, 2016, tremors felt again after an earthquake measuring 4.0 on the Richter Scale struck Ranau at 9.39 am. How about that?

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Me and my usual daily place…

Writing and photographing are my side activities and so is blogging (though together with @Lan we do it professionally) . I am actually working full time in a company (will not be telling you which company) that requires me to look after the Information Technology thingy, specifically in network programming. In the middle of Mt Kinabalu, we have a station there and we take turns to go up Mt Kinabalu, fixing things that need to be fixed.

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Though the ascend do not actually reach the peak, mates in the office know how massive the journey will be and will always stay that way!. Massive as it always need tremendous effort, carrying all that things that we need, looking after our brain and fingers as these two are important to ensure the network programming done smoothly. That shall explain, briefly, why we need to scale that sacred mountain as part of our job! Is that something cool or what?

The Journey

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Wefie with DW…

Tagging Mr DW along, we drove from Kota Kinabalu to Kinabalu National Park early in the morning on August 25, 2016. The weather was pretty awesome that morning and we reached our destination in less than 2 hours. Registering ourselves as official visitors (on official assignment) at the Park HQ was an easy task and in record time we received our official tags.

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The plaque describing Kinabalu National Park as World Heritage Site
Me (Left) and DW (Right) posing at Kinabalu National Park

Since we were on official vehicle, we took the opportunity to go around the Park and here are some photos of the surrounding area. It’s a basic park actually, a place where climbers started their journey up to the sacred mountain. Chalets, Hostels, restaurant and basic amenities are available in the surrounding areas.

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It’s getting colder and colder, luckily it did not rain although the sky was suggesting that! Anyone will wish not to get wet in this kind of weather, of course! Highlands does have unpredictable weather condition though, we both were totally prepared actually for the long walk to the office right in the middle of the mountain!

So. after doing some round at the surrounding area of the park, we decided it’s time to head to the start of the trail, the famous Timpohon Gate. Climbers will definitely go through this gate unless if one opt for the 2nd trail that starts at Mesilau. There were some other climbers starting their journey when we reached Timpohon Gate. Excited they were, as what I experienced years ago. There are some changes as I observed here and there, probably some upgrading and major fixing after that 2015 earthquake. If you have plan to scale this mountain (first time climbing), do note the regulations/rules set-up by the authorities here and keep in mind that this is a Sacred Mountain.

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The rules…..
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A reminder to climbers, respect & respect is the key here..

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Timpohon Gate-where the climbers start the journey...
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Trail Map-take note of the Timpohon Gate location at the bottom
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The winners of Climbathon 2014
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There is even a grocery shop at Timpohon Gate, in case you don’t want to ‘touch’ your supply

Walk to the Office in the sky..The Gallery

Me and DW happily getting ready for the ‘climb’

For this section, I will let the pictures speaks for the beauty of the trail that we followed, the same trail for climbers.

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Foggy weather along the way…
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Lovely flowers here!
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Beautiful Shot!
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Tame Squirrel!
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Upgrading the trail…
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Met some climbers at Kandis Hut
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At KM 1.0!
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Wonder what’s that for?
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DW Posing!
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Green!
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Managed to catch up with some climbers…
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A short break..gotta quenched that thirst!
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DW enjoying the moment!
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We reached Pondok Ubah …
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Some description of the Pondok Ubah surrounding..
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Carson Fall
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The water, extremely cold!
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More greenery! 
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Up & up…
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We reached our ‘Office’ but DW stucked outside!
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Our foggy and creepy ‘office’..
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If you see this, walk faster!
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Done with work, it’s time to descend!
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Proud Mr DW, completing task for today! Congrats…
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We’re at the base again…

My Thoughts

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Me & my official tag..

It’s not everyday that we all have the chance to scale (well, half way actually) Mt Kinabalu for official task. Luckily I’ve been here so many times so it is easy for me to adjust to the weather and ‘punishing’ walk all the way up to the highest office in Sabah. If you are climbing to the top make sure that you are physically ready and well stocked (food and drinks), you will need that… I stocked quite a number of food items plus beverages and that were not enough for the two of us, we were extremely hungry soon as we descended..

The fate of an apple…

We admit it was a bit tiring but we actually enjoyed the scenery along the way to the ‘highest office’ in Sabah. Well, actually there is another ‘office’, a bit higher than ours. We managed to complete the task given to us by our superior and when we descended, we took time admiring the beauty of Mt Kinabalu, the amazing flora & fauna found along the way. Being a local and having the Kadazan Dusun root in me, I believe the ‘Sacred’ status of this mountain. From my experiences through many climbs before, I advise the first time climbers to adhere to the local belief to look after your own attitude, be wise in whatever you want to say and do, while ascending..

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That is me!!…

So, we completed the task. It’s time to get back to the city and reporting to the superior about the work that we both have completed. A day after arriving in the big city, I was quite speechless when I heard the news that another earthquake occurred in the area that we have just visited. If the big boss summon us again and ask us to do another ‘assignment’ at Mt Kinabalu, will we do it again? Definitely yes. We love our job, programming the network for the betterment of Sabahans all over Sabah, doing it half way up the mountain, an office in the sky!

If you have any intention to scale Mt Kinabalu (especially if you are first time visitor), click this links for more information:

Official website of Sabah Parks

www.mountkinabalu.com

www.sabahtourism.com

Wikipedia-Kinabalu Park

Kinabalu International Climbathon

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