Malaysia: Climbing Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu is the highest peak in Borneo at 4095 m (13435 ft) and a must-do climb. It’s a two-day adventure, and a strenuous one. You start at 1866 m (6,122 ft) and climb steadily on a very steep route through a tropical rainforest to 3,270 m (10,730 ft) where there is a large hut. Once there, you sleep until 2-3am and then make the push to the true top over sheer granite rocks. And this is where things went wrong – only the first group of hikers (20 people out of about 120 for that night) – managed to get through the gate leading to the top after which the gate was closed due to incoming typhoon north of Malaysia. At 5:23 AM, I was at the top in an absolute downpour. Descend was something out of this world – the rain turned the entire mountain into thousands of cascading streams and waterfalls everywhere. Some places, it took rappelling down the mountain with ropes underneath crushing water, crossing streams and streams of water that didn’t exist an hour before. Insane but a true adventure.