Taking Care of Camera While Climbing Mt Kinabalu

Wendy asked,
"I will be joining the climb in this coming november which is unfortunately the raining season. Is it advisable to bring my Canon Powershot SX40 HS (weighing appx 600g) for the climb? Which i will be lugging it along my neck for the whole climb."

Whether raining season or dry season, as I understand, it always rains. We need to make our choice between the chance of taking good photograph versus possibility of spoiling our camera.

For me, I brought my camera along my climb despite knowing it was probably going to rain along the way. Most of the time, during both of my climbs, my SLR camera was hanging on my neck. During heavy rain, it went into my water resistance backpack and covered under raincoat.

Here are a few things you should bring to keep your camera dry.
  1. A water resistance backpack. I think most backpack are water resistance. During heavy rain, put your camera in the water resistance backpack.
  2. A very light raincoat that can cover your head, your body and your backpack. When there is rain, cover yourself and your water resistance backpack inside the raincoat. Now there are two layers of water resistance.
    (You can get this small little disposable raincoat pack from Guardian pharmacy. Unlike the normal raincoat (which is heavy), this raincoat is light enough to put in your backpack. It is disposable, so buy two or three. It is made of plastic bag material and, so it is not very environmentally friendly though.)
  3. Wear a water resistance windbreaker jacket. In a drizzle, you still can hang your camera on your neck, yet hide it inside your water resistance jacket covered under raincoat. But be careful, sometimes rainwater can find its ways from your face and neck and go inside your raincoat and jacket.

Three more things to note:

During your night climb, right before Sayat Sayat, there is a stretch of trail that requires you to use both hands to hold a rope while walking on a ledge. Your body will slant slightly forward on the rocky surface of mountain. You will not want your camera (which is hanging on your neck) to knock on rocky surface. You can either put your camera back to your backpack OR continue to lug it on your neck, put it inside your windbreaker jacket and zip up the jacket.

After Sayat Sayat checkpoint, there is a stretch of route before 8KM (approximately 3800 meter above sea level), you will probably feel very tire due to the height, steepness of the trail and lack of oxygen. The 600g camera suddenly becomes very heavy. You probably regret why you ever want to bring this "bulky" camera to this mountain. In my first climb, at that very moment, I did regret.
But it is all worthwhile to bring your camera right to the peak and down.

Descent from summit to Laban Rata is the most scenic part of the climb.
The problems:
  1. I enjoyed so much of the scenery that I was very reluctant to snap photo spoiling the moment. Then I regretted of not taking enough photograph.
  2. But it was so beautiful at the summit looking downward. Shouldn't I just experience the moment, absorb all the grandeur views of the mountain into my eyes instead if snapping photo?
  3. It is dangerous to walk, to enjoy the scenery and to snap photo all at the same time. You can twist your leg easily if you are not careful during the descent from summit. So be careful.