Jimbo first became vaguely aware of his surroundings at around 7 am that morning. He looked around and found that he was on a bed in one of the rooms at the Laban Rata rest house. His head was still pounding away and he felt really unwell. He pulled himself out of bed and found that he hasn’t showered since arriving the night before.
It took quite a bit of effort to head to the door. As soon as it was opened, the strong smell of fried eggs and sausages emanating from the eatery downstairs made him wanted to throw up. He stumbled slowly downstairs and got himself a cup of tea without sugar and managed to toast 2 slices of bread with a bit of butter on them.
He sat down and attempted to eat, trying hard not to throw up. He got through about a quarter of one slice of bread and some tea before he felt something rushing up his esophagus! He ran out the door, headed towards the balcony railing, bent over and threw up 5 or 6 times. Everything he has ingested from the week before came gushing out. EeeeeeyuuuuKKK!
Strangely he felt a lot better after that even though the head continued to bang like an ancient Congo drum. Not wanting to eat anymore, Jimbo decided to just wander around the premise.
The air was crisp and clean. It felt good inhaling such pure air. The place seemed deserted. Jimbo looked up and what greeted him took his breath away…
One could only mutter ‘WOW’ in the presence of such massive structures.
More ‘WOWs’ came out of Jimbo’s lips…
And also, “Thank you, LORD for creating such awesome beauty!”
The temperature was 8.9 degrees then.
A bit father down a small trail and Jimbo came across the ‘Summit Trail’. This is the place one begins the final phase of the journey to the top.
The mountain side, which the night before was illuminated by the dying rays of the setting sun, now stands out in majestic beauty.
Say ‘WOW’ with me….
Jimbo didn’t see all these the night before when he arrived. He was too sick and too tired to notice.
Laban Rata, 3272.7 meters above sea level. Just 800 meters short of the peak.
Jimbo then decided to go back to his room to sleep. It was a fitful sleep and he dreamed of this and that.
He next became aware of his surroundings when he heard footsteps in his room. Some one came into the room and there was excited chatter. He couldn’t open his eyes. Slowly he drifted back into fitful slumber.
At around 10.30 am that morning, Jimbo awoke and felt that he needed some fresh air. His head was still pounding away and he was a little disoriented. He got out of the room and headed out to the side door at the end of the hostel. Opening it caused a gush of fresh mountain air to close in upon him and he breathed in deeply. His eyes opened wide and he saw this…
‘WoW!!!’ Some memory of the ordeal the night before came rushing back to Jimbo. The clearing was the spot where Jimbo saw the setting sun against the mountain side the night before. From this spot, Jimbo felt like he was on top of the world!
Lunch was a blur. Jimbo remembered joining the rest of the team for lunch but he couldn’t eat anything and excused himself; went upstairs and slept some more. It was 3 hours later before he got up again and for the first time in almost 24 hours, he felt better.
Water is precious commodity up there. Hot boiling water, even more so. Jimbo had to pay RM 1 for a glass of hot water just so he could make his cup of steaming coffee (3-in-1 bought from Tesco!). He walked out onto the balcony and sat himself down to savour the coffee and a bit of carrot walnut cake that he had brought along during the climb.
The sun was high up and it was warm and nice. Jimbo spent half an hour out there before going in. He felt a lot better compared to how he felt in the morning. The nausea has subsided tremendously and the head didn’t hurt so much anymore.
He felt well enough to go out and snap some photos. With the sun high up against a relatively clear blue sky, what he saw in the morning looked a lot more awesome!
See for youself…
Mountain weather is unpredictable. The sunny glory lasted only an hour or so before dark clouds began to gather. Before long, everything was covered in a thick mist.
The rain began to fall at about 5 pm.
Jimbo was asked just before dinner time if he would like to attempt to summit the peak early next morning.
He felt well enough to give it a try.
He wanted to try…
Some one asked him, “What does your heart tell you? What is your gut feeling?”
Jimbo answered, “My gut feeling is, don’t go”.
At 7 pm, the rain became heavier.
At 9 pm, when everyone retired for the night, Jimbo was wide awake on his bed. He could hear the rain beating against the walls and window panes of his room. He could hear the howling of the wind.
At 11 pm, he fell asleep. The rain has become a storm by then.
At 2 am, he heard the sounds of excited footsteps; people were hurrying to start on the 800 meters journey to the peak. The rain was lashing against the walls.
At 5 am, Jimbo heard a woman crying outside his room. She was muttering over and over and over again, “I’m so cold, I can’t feel my fingers, I can’t feel anything!!!”
Jimbo decided to check out what was going on. He opened the door and peeped to his left.
There, standing in the doorway were a Caucasian couple. The guy was hugging the crying lady and trying to comfort her. He kept on saying, “It’s alright! It’s alright! We can try again another time…”
He looked at Jimbo and smiled.
It was a sad smile.
No one summited that morning for the storm turned the little rivulets on the Summit trail into knee high raging waterfalls. No one went beyond the Sayat-Sayat check point. The guides deemed it too trecherous to allow anyone to attempt to summit.
More than a hundred people were disappointed that morming.
Jimbo was disappointed too. Doubly so.
But he was glad he listened to his ‘gut’ feeling.
Sun, 130708 @ 0700