Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fashionista's Escapades: Climbing Mulu Pinnacles

One of my personal aim this year is to tick off one or two items off my bucket list. Mulu, or more specifically climbing the Mulu Pinnacles is one of them. I made arrangements to climb the Pinnacles last November and since then have begun my training in preparation for the hike. For those of you who know me, you might have noticed my sudden interest in sporting activities such as hiking and running. All those are just my preparation for this single hike. 

Anyway, here's a photoblog of the trip:

Before climbing the Pinnacles, first we need to reach Camp 5, the base camp for the Pinnacles. To get there, we have to take a long boat for about an hour from Mulu to Kuala Litut.

Long boat. As the river is very shallow, the long boat used for transportation is also small and narrow. 

Some parts of the river may be quite shallow that your guide may have to push the boat either with a stick, or push it himself by getting down into the river.

Kuala Litut. I was expecting a proper jetty of some sort but no, this is Kuala Litut. It's as remote as it gets.

From Kuala Litut, you have to trek for 9 km to Camp 5. It took us almost 4 hours to get there.

Me, Nihal and my Mum with our two guides, El and J.

You have to carry your clothes and whatever gear that you'll be using yourself to Camp 5. So make sure to travel light!

Luckily the trek to Camp 5 was pretty easy. Except for the distance and the backpack, it was a good trek. The pathway is mainly flat, except for two small hills which you need to climb as you get closer to Camp 5.

You need to cross two hanging bridges as well. One is after the first kilometre and another is halfway i.e. 4.5 km to Camp 5.

Camp 5. We arrived at Kuala Litut at 12.40 noon, trekked for about 4 hours and arrived at Camp 5 at 4.30 pm. Accommodation is mixed (i.e. men and women in the same room), there's only a flat mattress (and no pillows) provided for each camper and there's separate washrooms for the men and women. The room is open, no doors or windows, and there's a small space (about 3 feet) between the ceiling and the wall. So, you might have some bugs and creepy crawlies climb over you when you sleep but they are pretty harmless.

The next morning we left for the Pinnacles at 7 am. Honestly, it's a tough climb. Elevation is about 75 degrees almost all the way and the path is covered with either roots or rocks.

Plenty of markers along the way.

Rocky terrain. 

On some parts, there are ropes for you to hold on to.

And some parts may have footholds as well.

The motivation that kept me going was the view. Nothing but the view.

Me and my amazing super strong mum made it! Alhamdulillah.

What comes up, must come down...

The last 400 meters climb had 16 ladders for you to climb on before reaching to the peak.

Me and the Mulu Pinnacles. Mulu Pinnacles bucket list, checked!

So if you're wondering about whether you should climb the pinnacles or not, I'd say, go for it! It's a great climb, extremely challenging and definitely not for the faint hearted. It helped me to realise that I am stronger that I thought I was, and also helped build my determination and character. But before you go, make sure you prepare for the climb. It took me 5 hours to climb up and 6 hours to climb down, a total 11 hours of climbing is not easy and especially with terrain such as these. On average, most climbers would complete the climb within 7 hours. 

The distance from Camp 5 to the Pinnacles is only 2.4 km but the elevation and terrain is what makes it difficult for most climbers. Some do not complete the climb to the summit. A word of caution, the terrain can be extremely slippery if it rains (it rained for a bit while we were climbing down) so your guide may stop the climb (due to safety reasons) and ask you to climb down instead of proceeding to the summit. 

But seriously, go for it! If my 63 year old mum (who has never hiked in her life) can make it to the summit, I am sure you would too. 

To more challenges in the future and an interesting 2016.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

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