Mountaineering is the Sport

Mountaineering is the sport, hobby or profession of walking, hiking, trekking and climbing up mountains. It is also sometimes known as alpinism, particularly in Europe. While it began as an all-out attempt to reach the highest point of unclimbed mountains, it has branched into specializations addressing different aspects of mountains & may now be said to consist of three aspects: rock-craft, snow-craft and skiing, depending on whether the route chosen is over rock, snow or ice. All require great athletic and technical ability, and experience is also a very important part of the matter. Some of the common terrains we encounter in the mountains require certain specialized techniques. Here’re just a few of them:

Snow-While certain compacted snow conditions allow mountaineers to progress on foot, typically some form of mechanical device is required to travel efficiently over snow & ice. Snowshoes can be used to walk through deep snow approaching the mountain or on lesser slopes up the mountain. Skis can be used everywhere snowshoes can and also in steeper, more side-hilled landscapes although it takes more practice to develop sufficiently strong skiing skills for difficult terrain. Skis can also be a form of the sport by itself, called Ski Mountaineering. Crampons may be used on hard snow (neve) and ice to provide additional traction & allow very steep ascents.
Glaciers-When traveling over glaciers, crevasses pose a grave danger. These giant cracks in the ice are not always visible as snow can be blown and freeze over the top to make a snowbridge. At times snowbridges can be as thin as a few inches. Climbers use a system of ropes to protect themselves from such hazards. Basic gear for glacier travel includes crampons and ice axes. Teams of two to five climbers tie into a rope equally spaced. If a climber begins to fall the other members of the team perform a self-arrest to stop the fall. The other members of the team enact a crevasse rescue to pull the fallen climber from the crevasse.
Ice-Multiple methods are used to safely travel over ice. If the terrain is steep but not vertical protection in the form of pickets or ice screws can be driven into the snow or ice and attached to the rope by the lead climber. Each climber on the team must clip past the anchor, and the last climber picks up the picket. This allows for safety should the entire team be taken off their feet. This technique is known as Simul-climbing. If the terrain becomes vertical then standard ice climbing techniques are used.

Mountaineering is an extreme sport and as all extreme sports, it’s got its fair share of hazards. The most obvious ones are the danger of things falling on the climber, the danger of the climber falling and inclement weather.

Here’s just the tip of the iceberg, about the dangers of mountaineering:

Falling rocks

Every rock mountain is slowly disintegrating due to erosion, the process being especially rapid above the snow-line. Rock faces are constantly swept by falling stones, which are generally possible to dodge. Falling rocks tend to form furrows in a mountain face, and these furrows (couloirs) have to be ascended with caution, their sides often being safe when the middle is stoneswept. Rocks fall more frequently on some days than on others, according to the recent weather. Ice formed during the night may temporarily bind rocks to the face but warmth of the day or direct sun exposure may easily dislodge these rocks. Local experience is a valuable help on determining typical rockfall on such routes.

The direction of the dip of rock strata often determines the degree of danger on a particular face; the character of the rock must also be considered. Where stones fall frequently debris will be found below, whilst on snow slopes falling stones cut furrows visible from a great distance. In planning an ascent of a new peak mountaineers must look for such traces. When falling stones get mixed in considerable quantity with slushy snow or water a mud avalanche is formed (common in the Himalaya). It is vital to avoid camping in their possible line of fall.

Falling ice

The places where ice may fall can always be determined beforehand. It falls in the broken parts of glaciers (seracs) and from overhanging cornices formed on the crests of narrow ridges. Large icicles are often formed on steep rock faces, and these fall frequently in fine weather following cold and stormy days. They have to be avoided like falling stones. Seracs are slow in formation, and slow in arriving (by glacier motion) at a condition of unstable equilibrium. They generally fall in or just after the hottest part of the day, and their debris seldom goes far. A skillful and experienced ice-man will usually devise a safe route through a most intricate ice-fall, but such places should be avoided in the afternoon of a hot day. Hanging glaciers (i.e. glaciers perched on steep slopes) often discharge themselves over steep rock-faces, the snout breaking off at intervals. They can always be detected by their debris below. Their track should be avoided.


The avalanche is the most underestimated danger in the mountains. People generally think that they will be able to recognize the hazards and survive being caught. The truth is a somewhat different story. Every year, 120 - 150 people die in small avalanches in the Alps alone. The vast majority are reasonably experienced male skiers aged 20-35 but also include ski instructors and guides.[citation needed] There is always a lot of pressure to risk a snow crossing. Turning back takes a lot of extra time and effort, supreme leadership, and most importantly there seldom is an avalanche to prove the right decision was made. Making the decision to turn around is especially hard if others are crossing the slope, but any next person could become the trigger.

Dangerous slides are most likely to occur on the same slopes preferred by many skiers: long and wide open, few trees or large rocks, 30 to 45 degrees of angle, large load of fresh snow, soon after a big storm, on a slope 'lee to the storm'. Solar radiation can trigger slides as well. These will typically be a point release or wet slough type of avalanche. The added weight of the wet slide can trigger a slab avalanche. Ninety percent of reported victims are caught in avalanches triggered by themselves or others in their group.


Crevasses are the slits or deep chasms formed in the substance of a glacier as it passes over an uneven bed. They may be open or hidden. In the lower part of a glacier the crevasses are open. Above the snow-line they are frequently hidden by arched-over accumulations of winter snow. The detection of hidden crevasses requires care and experience. After a fresh fall of snow they can only be detected by sounding with the pole of the ice axe, or by looking to right and left where the open extension of a partially hidden crevasse may be obvious.

The safeguard against accident is the rope, and no one should ever cross a snow-covered glacier unless roped to one, or even better to two companions. Anyone venturing onto crevasses should be trained in crevasse rescue.


The primary dangers caused by bad weather centre around the changes it causes in snow and rock conditions, making movement suddenly much more arduous and hazardous than under normal circumstances.

Whiteouts make it difficult to retrace a route while rain may prevent taking the easiest line only determined as such under dry conditions. In a storm the mountaineer who uses a compass for guidance has a great advantage over a merely empirical observer. In large snow-fields it is, of course, easier to go wrong than on rocks, but intelligence and experience are the best guides in safely navigating objective hazards.

Summer thunderstorms may produce intense lightning. If a climber happens to be standing on or near the summit, they risk being struck. There are many cases where people have been struck by lightning while climbing mountains. In most mountainous regions, local storms develop by late morning and early afternoon. Many climbers will get an "alpine start"; that is before or by first light so as to be on the way down when storms are intensifying in activity and lightning and other weather hazards are a distinct threat to safety.


Rapid ascent can lead to altitude sickness. The best treatment is to descend immediately. The climber's motto at high altitude is "climb high, sleep low", referring to the regimen of climbing higher to acclimatize but returning to lower elevation to sleep. In the South American Andes, the chewing of coca leaves has been traditionally used to treat altitude sickness symptoms.

Common symptoms of altitude sickness include severe headache, sleep problems, nausea, lack of appetite, lethargy and body ache. Mountain sickness may progress to HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) and HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema), both of which can be fatal within 24 hours.

In high mountains, atmospheric pressure is lower and this means that less oxygen is available to breathe. This is the underlying cause of altitude sickness. Everyone needs to acclimatize, even exceptional mountaineers that have been to high altitude before. Generally speaking, mountaineers start using bottled oxygen when they climb above 7,000 m. Exceptional mountaineers have climbed 8000-metre peaks (including Everest) without oxygen, almost always with a carefully planned program of acclimatization.

In 2005, researcher and mountaineer John Semple established that above-average ozone concentrations on the Tibetan plateau may pose an additional risk to climbers.

Menguji kesabaran di laluan Bowen dan Kotal, Kinabalu Sabah (Bahagian 1)

Destinasi :  King George Peak 4062 meter (Eastern Plateau)  
Tempoh    :  8 hari 7 malam
Pendaki   :  Apau,Bob,Marwan& Arif
Jurupandu :  Inuddin & Izan

Persediaan kami untuk ekspedisi ini : Latihan fizikal sekurang-kurangnya 2 bulan sebelum seperti jogging 3x seminggu, berbasikal dan berenang secara konsisten.

Tahap kesukaran laluan : Memerlukan keupayaan fizikal dan mental yang cukup, memanjat tangga aluminium setinggi 20-25 meter, purata menuruni curam yang akan dilalui adalah 70-90 degree..jangkamasa perjalanan harian sekitar 8-10jam... berkhemah di altitud sekitar 3200 meter hingga 3750 meter dengan suhu purata sekitar 10 darjah celsius dan suhu akan turun pada waktu malam.. 9/10

Keperluan yang disyorkan :
1.Pakaian 3 lapis terutama pada waktu malam
2.Tali statik 3-5mm sekurang-kurangnya 20 meter panjang
3.Harness merupakan peralatan wajib yang disyorkan oleh Taman Sabah dalam permit yang dikeluarkan untuk ekspedisi ini
4.Bekalan makanan untuk 6 hari 5 malam(pastikan mengandungi keperluan nutrian yg mencukupi)+ makanan tenaga tambahan
5.Khemah untuk 2 orang berbanding 4 orang amat sesuai semasa ekspedisi ini
6.Telefon setelit jika ada kerana tiada liputan di antara Kem Red Rock  ke Kem Mekadau (perjalanan selama 2 hari)kawasan lembah Kinabalu...
7.Pastikan kasut dalam keadaan tip top..
8.Mental yang mantap...     

Hari pertama - 01 September 2012 (Sabtu)

        Setibanya aku bersama Apau di Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kota Kinabalu (T1)  manakala Bro Bob dan Marwan yang naik flight Air Asia...aku dan Apau disambut oleh Inudin seterusnya ke Terminal 2, K.K untuk pick up Bob dan Marwan.. Arah perjalanan  dari airport adalah ke Kampong Mesilau,Kundasang,,,,,

Setelah menempuh perjalanan selama 1 jam setengah, kedinginan yang menusuk tubuh terasa setelah menjejakkan kaki di pekan Kundasang untuk kami mengisi perut yang belum diisi. Kami singgah di restoran yang jaraknya dengan Kundasang War Memorial lebih kurang 100 meter sahaja di tepi jalan utama.

Tempat penginapan kami pada malam pertama adalah Mesilou Atamis Homestay,ketinggian altitud kampong ini lebih kurang 1380 meter .. sebelum merehatkan diri, masa untuk kami membuat persiapan terakhir sebelum mengharungi laluan Pintu Timpohon ke Laban Rata(sepatutnya kami melalui Kotal Route dahulu tetapi atas sebab-sebab keselamatan, perancangan kami terpaksa ditukar dengan laluan terbalik melalui Bowen Route dahulu seterusnya melalui Kotal Route dan keluar di Kg.Mesilou)..barang-barang keperluan yang penting dan perlu digunakan sahaja akan kami bawa selama 6 hari...setelah dibahagi keperluan makanan kami, setiap orang perlu membawa sekurang-kurangnya 12-15 kg termasuk peralatan lain...

Malam itu selesai solat Magrib dan Isyak di Masjid Al-Hikmah, kami disajikan makan malam oleh pemilik homestay tersebut dengan sajian nasi kampong dan ikan goreng serta sayur kangkung sahaja tetapi sangat menyelerakan,,,,kerana nasi kampong hanya terdapat di kawasan sana saja dimana ianya hasil beras yang ditanam sendiri.

Malam itu suasana di kawasan kampong Mesilou amat dingin dan sejuk, dianggarkan suhu sekitar 15 darjah celsius.."aircond semulajadi katakan"..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Hari kedua - 2 September 2012 (Ahad)

Seawal pagi sesudah mengerjakan Solat Subuh, kami disajikan sarapan pagi sebelum bersiap untuk memulakan pengembaraan di gunung Kinabalu...

Kelihatan gunung Kinabalu melalui tingkap 'homestay' semasa sarapan pagi...

Dengan harapan setinggi gunung Kinabalu, mengharapkan perjalanan kami diberkati oleh-Nya agar sentiasa selamat pergi dan balik...... berbekalkan pengalaman yang tak seberapa, saya mengharapkan perjalanan ini memberikan seribu satu pengalaman yang mungkin tidak dapat di beli kat kedai outdoor...

Berposing di Kg Mesilou sebelum memulakan perjalanan ke Timpohon...

Kami bertolak dari Kg Mesilou sekitar 0730 pagi dengan menaiki 4x4 menuju Kinabalu Park. Selepas selesai urusan di pejabat SSL,kami menuju ke Timpohon Gate seterusnya memulakan perjalanan sekitar 0900 pagi..laluan yang sudah berulangkali kami lalui kecuali Marwan yang baru pertama kali menjejakkan kaki disini...

Sentiasa ada pendaki dan potter di trek...
Kelihatan Laban Rata Rest House...

Mengikut aturcara perjalanan kami untuk kem yang pertama adalah di Kem Mendiling iaitu kilometer 6.5 di antara Gunting Lagadan dan Sayat-sayat di mana bersebelahan laluan utama ke Low's Peak.simpang ke Bowen's Route.. memandangkan maklumat yang kami terima dari Ranjer Taman Sabah angin selaju 80km/j pada hari malam  dan amat merbahaya untuk berkhemah di sekitar altitud 3500 meter..kami diarahkan agar menginap sahaja di Maragan Hut (asrama Ranjer bersebelahan Laban Rata Rest House)...

 kelihatan laluan pendaki dari Laban Rata ke Sayat-sayat..

Permandangan pada waktu senja di Maragan Hut..
Apau menikmati minuman panas.... 
Guide Izan sedang memasak makanan malam untuk kami di Maragan Hut

Hari Ketiga - 3 September 2012 (Isnin)

Persiapan kami seawal 8 pagi untuk meneruskan perjalanan ke Kem Red Rock,3750 meter....di anggarkan perjalanan mengambil masa selama 7-8 jam..dengan membuat regangan otot sedikit, kami terus memulakan langkah perjuangan seorang pendaki...bak kata pepatah Melayu "gunung tak lari di kejar" tetapi kederat kami ini yang belum pasti mampu mengapai ke puncak....

Persiapan pendaki untuk bergerak
Laban Rata kelihatan dari hadapan Gunting Lagadan  Hut
Berehat sebentar di hadapan Gunting Lagadan Hut sementara menunggu Guide Izan..

Berposing di persimpangan Bowen's Route

Bergerak melalui laluan Bowen's

 Menyusuri lereng Bowen's Route

Panorama di lereng gunung kinabalu menuju sebelah Eastern Plateau
Izan memulakan persiapan santapan tengahari kami di lereng gunung sebelum menempuh tangga 7....

  Kelihatan tangga 7 dimana ketinggian melebihi 20 meter...laluan ini sahaja yang digunakan untuk menuju ke Eastern Plateau...

 South Peak, kelihatan penuh setelah kamera Ricoh CX3 saya zoom(44.5 mm,F/10.5,1/500sec)...
 Aku di pergunungan Kinabalu
Udin yang sentiasa sabar mendaki dengan penuh emosi 
Kelihatan laluan pendaki dari Sayat-sayat Hut ke Low's Peak di bawah Southen Peak...view  dari Ricoh CX3 ( 20.9mm,F/9.8,1/270sec)di laluan Bowen's

Marwan mendaki tangga yang ke-2 dari 7....masa untuk menguji tahap kegayatan kami dan antara laluan yang merbahaya untuk ke Eastern Plateau kepada pendaki

Marwan memasang strategi sebelum memulakan pendakian di tangga 7, setiap langkah yang silap akan membawa padah...
Inudin memulakan pendakian melalui tangga di samping menguji kekukuhan sebelum kami melalui...
Berehat sebentar selepas melalui tangga dengan selamat... masih awal lagi untuk menilai cabaran yang sudah ditempuhi kerana perjalanan masih berbaki 3 hari... 
Negeri Sabah di bawah bayu... tetapi kami berada di atas awan, melebihi 10,000 kaki..
Kami menuju ke Kem Red Rock(kelihatan Red Rock Peak)untuk penginapan malam ke-3...

Mesilau Peak...

Kem Red Rock 3750 meter/12303 kaki, suhu sekitar 10-15 degree siang manakala malam boleh mencecah 5 degree..
View Red Rock dari khemah aku
Di awal pagi yang dingin...
#3 September 2012 with my team @ Red Rock
  Berlatarbelakang Rabung Barat di mana letaknya Low's Peak(puncak paling tengah)..ku pacakkan Jalur Gemilang kat Puncak King George..
Apau merenung Rabung Barat dari Puncak King George....

Aku, Marwan dan Apau... Pengalaman takkan ku lupakan di Puncak King George 4062m
Bersama Jurupandu kami, Inudin dan Izan...memang mantop...
Kelihatan Low Gully dan permandangan sekitar Kota Belud dari Eastern Plateau...
Menuju kem Mekadao melalui Dataran Timur(Eastern Plateau) hanya kelihatan batu-batu di sekitar laluan.... 
Kem Mekadao 3250 meter...kawasan kem hanya muat untuk 2-3 buah (khemah 4 orang) tetapi permukaan tapak tidak rata...sumber air kurang, punca air paling dekat hanya 15 meter dari kem..suhu sekitar 10-12 degree apabila malam...tiada talian telefon disini,harap maklum...



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