Saturday, July 04, 2009

Gunung Nuang

Sis wanted to check whether I can actually climb KK, so she tested me by dragging me out for a climb up Gunung Nuang, Selangor's highest peak last Saturday. We had to wait for some latecomers, so in the end we turned back after reaching (or for me, almost reaching) Kem Pacat. Some of us had to rush back for dinner dates. =) Lack of photos here because sis and her friend were the only ones who brought cameras. I knew I would be too busy trying not to die so I didn't bother bringing a camera. Entire trek took us about 9.5 hours.

Read here for more trekking info.

Basically, the entire climb is split to a few main parts: The Never Ending Road, The Pipeline, Red Clay and the Summit Push.

The Never Ending Road is just at it sounds. Never ending. Filled with rocks, stones, mud and bamboo. LOADS of bamboo. The long walk both uphill and downhill isn't that taxing when you're all fresh (but unfit me still had to take a couple of breaks in between. Hey, why waste their effort in building those three rest stops eh? :P) but on the way back with no water left and drenched from the rain after having pushed yourself as much as you can? Seriously challenges your mental strength. More on the return track later.

After the Never Ending Road comes the purely uphill forest track dubbed the Pipeline as it follows the old water pipeline. This is most certainly the easiest part of the whole climb and also the part which I enjoyed the most. Entire stretch was full of natural steps made from rocks and tree roots and because the Gunung Nuang track is so overused, every step was very cleary made. Anyone and everyone should blitz up this part very quickly. I know I had fun. Kem Lolo is in this area, and so are the other two campsites worth camping at. Will comtemplate getting a group to go picnicing there if I can get directions on how to get there, and a group who won't complain of being tired.

After the Pipeline Red Clay started. Oh my *insert word here* I HATE that place! At first it was ok, but eventually it got quite hard as certain stretches were really slippery (and we went when it was dry!), there isn't much growth you can use to brace yourself and I had to turn back at some parts to look for alternative routes because it was just plain to hard for me. For usuals it should be ok but for first timers like me, hang in there! During the entire time I knew I would stick to it and just keep on climbing (Just had to prove it to sis!). Sis and 1 other were the fittest of all of us so they took the lead followed by me about 15 minutes behind and another 4 after me. Two had to stop after one of them had bad shoes. Heh. Sole came off.

For a good couple of hours I was climbing alone. At first I was cool with it as I had my bottle full of water and if I slowed down a little I could here the rest at the bottom. After a while though it got a little scary, when my water supply ran low and I couldn't hear anyone anymore. There were moments where I thought somehow I got lost, but the moments where I spotted the markers, now, then was a great feeling of relief.

Slowed down quite a bit nearing Kem Pacat (didn't know I was that near then, or I would have picked up the pace). Was quite tired then. Tired and hurting. The rest didn't know but on my way up I slipped a couple of times, and once I banged my knee on the side of a rock. No lasting damage, but the climb right after banging my knee was filled with breaks every two minutes.

The rest cought up with me by then and after a short while my sis shouted down that Kem Pacat was over run not by pacat (leaches) but by bees. She got stung twice. It was her first time getting stung by bees but thankfully turns out that she wasn't allergic to them. Woe be all of us if she was. The 5 of us ended up having lunch where we were instead of at Kem Pacat because of the bees.

Swapped climbing sticks for the climb down. Originally I was using the broomstick my dad found (hehe, seriously, just a plain ol' broomstick! Worked very well too!) but swapped it with my sister's friend's proper walking stick since it had a pointed tip which was better for gripping. Sis stayed with me throughout Red Clay since she knew it was my first time climbing and getting down would be a pain in the ass. If you're a first timer, it helps a lot having someone instruct you on how to get down certain stretches.

After the lunch break I felt quite good again. Energy from the rest and food probably. Nothing much to comment on the downhill cimb, except that it started to rain when the last of us (ie: me) reached Hut Camp 2 in the Pipeline. Two out of three kittens were still at the stream where we first saw them, and both followed us on our way out. =) Only one followed us all the way to the Never Ending Road though and even then it left me halfway (I was again, the last).

On the way in I hated the uphill tracks in the Never Ending Road but on the way down? Oh man downhill was oh so bad! I had no energy nor enough guts to just run down like everyone else (to reduce strain on mind and knee. Really helps) so I was eventually the last one to get out. That cement chair/log never looked so good.

I was expecting to be practically bedridden the next day from aching muscles but heh, I guess I am a little fitter than I thought. Could actually get up and down the stairs (18 steps mind you!) without having to hold on to the banister (though it helped to lean on to it. =P).

Still having some doubts on climbing Mount Kinabalu end July. I should can make it to Laban Rata if it's like Gunung Nuang (Sis says it is. At least he Mesilau route that we're taking is anyway) but if I ache as much as I do the next day, I'm not sure whether I can stand the final push to the peak or the climb down.

I wonder how much does getting airlifted down costs...

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Will be sitting in an exam hall halfway through my paper (hopefully) when this gets posted. Send me good vibes people!

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