Increase Your Odds to Reach Summit

Not everyone who attempt to climb Mount Kinabalu can reach Low's Peak. There are a few common reasons for the unsuccessful attempts. First, let's look at my statistics at hand.

Reasons of failed attempts

First thing first, failed attempt to summit is not failure. It is merely motivation to try once more.

In year 2010, twenty five of us, colleagues, attempted Mount Kinabalu. We split into 3 groups.

There were 8 of them in Group 1 who attempted the climb in August 2010. Five of them made it to the summit and three did not make it. There were combinations of multiple reasons:
  • No training at all, plus inappropriate shoes (he wore badminton shoes)
  • Altitude sickness, plus a bit of overweight
  • Fitness issue, which disguised as age issue

Our group, 8 of us in Group 2, attempted in September 2010. With the information provided by previous group, seven of us made it to the summit and one did not make it. Reasons being:
  • Altitude sickness
  • Incorrect way of walking uphill (he rushed and stopped and rushed and stopped, instead of walking uphill slowly and consistently.)

In our group, it had shown that AGE is NOT a reason of failing to reach summit. Mr Wong, at the age of 57 were the second person in the group to reach Low's Peak. (Note: I was the the 7th, the last, to reach Low's Peak at 7.30am.)

Group 2. Reaching peak on 19 September 2010.

There were 9 of them in Group 3 attempted in October 2010. Eight of them made it to the summit and one did not make it. There were multiple reasons:
  • Altitude sickness
  • Fitness issues, and 
  • A very bad and demotivating personal mountain guide

The next year, in my second climb, there were seven of us. Three of them decided right before the climb to only  climb up to Laban Rata and will not attempt to reach summit. Out of the remaining four, only three reach the summit. Reasons being:

  • Fitness issue delayed her summit attempt. She reach Sayat Sayat checkpoint a few minutes after the gate closed at 5am. The ranger did not allow her to enter.

We can summarize the above reasons of failed attempt as below:
  • Altitude sickness
  • Lack of training that affects fitness level & walking techniques
On 16 September 2011

Increase your ODDS

Let me start with a story. Zoe, my teammate, joined us for hiking 3 months before the climb. We went to Bukit Gasing at Petaling Jaya. In her first 2 hikes, she had troubles to finish the hike and was suffered along the way. I doubted whether she could really climb Mount Kinabalu.

She did not train a lot. She joined us for our weekly hike at Bukit Gasing, probably less than 10 times before the climb.

On the real climb, she was the first 2 persons reaching Low's Peak. (while I was trailing at far back behind.)

These were a few more measures she took to increase her odds to reach peak comfortably:
  • She hired a personal mountain guide all for herself, despite that there were mountain guides already available for the group! The personal mountain guide would just take care of her, pull her up at steeper area, carry her backpack that contained lunch pack, water bottles, raincoats, etc. (may need extra charge on the weigh, beside charge of mountain guide. Ask first before you ask your mountain guide to carry your backpack, etc.)
  • She stopped at every rest place, pondok, to apply muscle relaxant cream like yoko-yoko on her ankles and knees.
  • She took altitude sickness pills to avoid altitude sickness

She was single minded. She did not try to "prove herself" like most of us who refused to hire a personal mountain guide to help us physically, refused to take "altitude sickness" medication, refused to use muscle relaxant, etc. She was single minded, she just want to reach the peak. That increased her odds, and she did it fabulously.

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