I'll finish up on the cave connections later... but here's the lowdown on the pinnacles:
Up and down the pinnacles – DONE!!
The trek to the pinnacles started the day before with a 8km trek from Kuala Litut to Camp 5. We started at 10am from the Mulu HQ and had a aboat ride from there. It took about 45 minutes from there. The ride was cooling (from the cool breeze) but super hot under the bright sun. About 2 thirds through, we had to get out and help to push the boat abit as the water level was too low. We didn’t stop at Clearwater Cave though, as we just went through the cave connection 2 days ago. So head on the Kuala Litut aka KL straight.
The trek to Kuala Litut was a simple 8km trek, without much dangers, but slippery nonetheless, especially on the planks. We crossed a small suspension bridge about halfway through, and the guys being as naughty as ever, shook the bridge when I was halfway through…eeeks…scarrie… I alw had this though of falling off the bridge…dunno why tho.
About 2 hrs later, we reached Camp 5, and just in the nick of time, cos right then and there, the rain started pouring. The Camp site was actually a simple dorm area, with superbly clean bathroom and toilets (even cleaner than the one in the dorm) and kitchen. However, the sleeping area was just a simple rubber mat, and that’s it, but to me, it felt nicer than the dorm. There was a river, right next to the camp, and the guys just went and jump in once we arrived. The water was cold and refreshing and the current was strong from the rain. Ok…important thing to di next - Leech check… the suspense built in me…eeks.. I hate leeches… chk chk chk… YES!!! No leeches.. bwahaha
At around 6.30pm, time for dinner. Had biscuits the whole afternoon, so was quite full already. Decided not to have dinner in the end. Helped Jason and Tom cook dinner and Tom gave me a bit of his. It was steamed rice with Beef Rendang (from the can).. tasted good with more salt though. Yummy. We had a short briefing at 7pm from the guide. We’re to start at 7am the next morning, so better grab a light breakfast and early sleep for the trek tomorrow. Packed my army bag, with a bottle of water and camera and 2 powerbars. A little more of Frankenstein (borrowed from Jason) and off to slumberland.
I must’ve woken up 3-4 times before finally forcing myself up at about 6am. Still not used to sleeping for more than 6 hrs a day. Had 2x kaya sandwich – yummy and a cup of water. Simple, but I think I’m getting fatter in this trip, eating more than what I’m using up nowadays. Hm.. might slow me down in the upcoming Ultramarathon though. Oh well, will burn soon enough though, going for the pinnacles trek in a few more minutes, and the 2-3hrs of triathlon training per day back in Singapore. Everyone slowly slumped in, and the guys had noodles for breakfast (they seemed more Chinese than me now). And around 715 am, we started the trek.
There was another group that went we us that they, 2 Scot guys who arrived at Camp 5 the same day as us. Another guide was taking another group of ?Swiss ppl up as well and started about 30mins before us, but that group had a few older people that might slow down the trek. Anyways, the trek up was a 2.4km (distance up) up sharp and rocky and partially muddy areas. We tooka break at 900m (about 15 mins) where I munch on my first powerbar. Up to here, we took about an hr. We moved on to the next 900m and had another 15 mins break before disembarking for the final 600m. We were moving at good fast speed, overtaking the ??Swiss group at the first 900m. I had more water here. The last 600m would be quite treacherous, it seemed. At about the 2km mark, the ladders started. The final push to the top was done in a very simple via ferrata way, using ladders and iron grating to fill up the gaps between the rocks and holes. This can get quite tricky, especially the parts without the ladders, and still have holes. Slippery too as the whole area was just rocks. Ooo…a lot of balancing was required as well… hmm need to do ankle rehab now.. haha
Finally, we reached the top of Gunung Api, and the pinnacles loomed before us. We arrived about 10am (the guide said we were really fast) and the weather was good. No rain so far eventhough it looked cloudy. Hmm… the Pinnacles, what can I say. It looked better from the Twin Otter plane we took 10 years ago. Sigh..mebbe cos I was smaller then. I think it wasn’t as “Wow” as I wanted it to be.. haha..was actually more mesmerized by the tiny little mountain squirrel up there. Really.. hahha…maybe cos I’m too used to all this trekking that it doesn’t impressed me as much already…hehe.. oh well… anyways, took some amazing shots, and had some biscuits from the guys. Had a relaxing 45mins break up there (supposedly usually 20mins, but we arrived there early). Had a lively chat about their travels so far (they’ve been traveling for months) and learned quite a bit about backpacking around south east asia. Was impressed by their stories of Laos and Phillipines…must make a trip down there myself one day then.
Soon, we started on our trip down the mountain. I hate going down!!! Seriously… I hate going down!!.. It was super slippery and the steps were huge for me that I was on all 4 on most of the occasion. It was the same route… but…sigh.. fell down 6 times this time, but no serious injuries as of yet. Okay, now I have a hole in my Salomon pants…and another hole which I discovered later on my Mammut pants. Darn, there goes 2 of my most faveourite pants. It took about 2 and a half hours to get down, and I made another big hole in my North Face shoes. So there goes my shoe as well.. note to self.. heck care, just buy the kasut paya next time.
At last, when I reached down…immediately took of my shirt and shoes, and into the water I went… ahhh…soooo refreshing and cooling…. Nice , just nice…. Soaking in the water really relaxed my muscles… ahh…nice nice nice.. the current was still strong but managed to sit on a rock and rested there for about 30mins before finally getting up to do a bit of washing up. Ackss..a minor abrasion over my shin … darn… so after washing up, the guide gave me some iodine to apply over the abrasion.. tqtqtq.. anyways, I gave him my small military bag/caving bag after that, since I wont be needing it anymore. Nice..this is the life. Spent the rest of the afternoon lazing about Camp 5 and writing this up. ☺. Anyways, the other group got back about 5.40pm, and their guide looked tired. Must have zapped the life outta her. One of the scots guy did a juggling show to pass the time, and he was really really good. Dinner was the same… nice, and simple. Haha… Ian had Indomie goring (which I recommended) and he liked it. Went to sleep after that as I was already so so tired from the trek today. Checked the photos I took…impressive… the camera still works. Hehe..
Anyways, that’s all for now, signing off from Camp 5 in Mulu for now.. wanna sleep already.. ☺
PS, just realized that I’ve been seeing Pink everywhere – pink tinted glasses. Hehe..silly me..
Resting on my bed now in the dorm. Waiting for dinner time. Arrived from Camp 5 this morning after a 2hr trek/race to Kuala Litut. Leech chk – no leech bite this time. Had 3 in my shoe (funnily in my non-hole left shoe) but managed to catch them in time.
Hmm..all in all, the Mulu trip was really exciting and I relearned a bit of myself in this trip… Most importantly, I relearned that I loved caving and am raring to go for more. Climbing up, wading through the rivers, climbing down, squeezing up and down, ahh… I loved it all. Sometimes I wonder if I should just quit my day job and be a mountain/cave guide..that all will be in the future, I guess. Well, flying off tomorrow. It’s been an exciting journey, but it hasn’t ended yet.. hehe.. gonna come back one day to finish up the chambers and finally trek up Gunug Mulu itself… ☺. Gonna miss my new friends here as well, the guides, and the 3 amazingly good guys I became close to. But each beginning has an end, anyways, got their emails, so can keep in contact later on.
So till the next I come back, here’s to Mulu and the exciting trip so far, may more adventures light up my life in the future as well. Cheers’ all
Jonie from Mulu
One more part to link the 3 posts together