I have always had a great interest and pleasure for the outdoors, hiking especially and for this specific reason that I have climbed Mount Kinabalu more than 10 times! Ahh, yes Mount Kinabalu… the highest mountain in Borneo and Malaysia respectively, which has drawn travellers from every corner of the globe to flock up the mountain, troop along in single file to get in time to the summit plateau for the sunrise. This to me has taken away the exciting feeling of hiking the trail, with crowds taking turns to take photos at the Low’s Peak to taking turns to be at the peak (as it is only a small area), gives me the touristy feeling.
For this very reason, I sought out for an infrequent and quiet adventure and ‘voila’ I climbed Mount Trusmadi and get a buzz out of it. If you are the type of traveller that prefers to explore the unexplored or off-the-beaten trek then you should seriously climb Mount Trusmadi.
Climbing Mount Trusmadi ideally would take 3 days, or 4 days if you would like to take pleasure in the countryside and have a down time enjoying few cans of beer in the cool night air of Sinua town in Tambunan, for a well deserved treat after the hard and challenging hike.
Getting there to Mount Trusmadi from Kota Kinabalu takes about 4 hours drive, passing the town of Keningau to get to Sinua Village of where the hike will begin. Leaving from the city just after lunch, would ideally get you to the base Camp 1 by 5 pm. The camp offers basic amenities, where the accommodation are choices from stretch hammocks to private huts, and as for the bathroom, it would not be a hot shower but a bucket and a bailer for taking bath. Toilets are with seat-down toilet bowl, which is a relief as after the descend this would be very helpful.
Second day, at about 8 am after breakfast we loaded up unto the four wheel drive to the starting point of where the 7.4 km hike to Camp 2 starts. What is so interesting along Mount Trusmadi trail are the rich hue of plants to see, there are wild orchids, pitcher plants, mushrooms (which my guide collected along the way, and became our dinner that night), some small interesting looking insects and to add to the challenge leeches along the trail.
As the climb get closer to Camp 2, the vegetation changes. Now being surrounded by the upper montane forest the temperature are more cooling and the trails are covered with spongy mosses. From here onwards the trail are narrow, rugged and some path that would need me to pull on to lianas, climbing on ladders that are made from the forest wood and what I did not expect was, there are some down hills too and this would mean more up hills later as logically I am climbing up a mountain. Felt somewhat I have gone through an obstacle course challenge with the last 2 kilometers.
Seeing Camp 2 was like a heavenly music playing in my head, not just because I was dog-tired but that I was so hungry and ready to gobble whatever lunch is serving. Enjoying the view from an elevation of 1,750 meters, was fascinating. Watching the clouds coming in and the sun setting from up at this elevation, with a hot cup of coffee – it was surreal.
At about 1 am, I was awoken by the sounds of alarm beeping and knowing that is my que to get ready, get supper and off to the summit. It was a tough climb though I only had a small bag for water and to keep my jacket (later when it’s warm), compared to the day before with a big bag of all my clothing and toiletries with me. The trail to the summit is steep, muddy and rough with lower tree branches to maneuver around with some path of the trail is almost vertical climb. After about 4 hours of hiking, the view was even more rewarding the range has three peaks altogether, to get the Mount Trusmadi peak you would need to traverse through the ridges of two smaller peaks and all the way a breathtaking view from both left and right of the ridges of the view from this Crocker Range.
Descending back to Camp 2 was not as tough I thought as to compare to Mount Kinabalu with its bare rock face, which was very hard on the knees as there’s a need to break the likelihood of running down the mountain slope. It only took us about 2.5 hours back at Camp 2 for breakfast, had a short rest followed with packing the rest of my stuff and ready to head down to Camp 1 which took me half the time from Camp 1 to Camp 2.
As I have only planned for 3 days trip to Mount Trusmadi, my ride back to the city awaits at Camp 1. Leaving right after lunch, I wished that I could have stayed for the night at the base to enjoy the beautiful countryside for one more day.
Mount Trusmadi, probably because it is the second highest mountain may not be a very popular mountain destination, I strongly feel that with its varied and challenging terrain, astounding view and feeling of great adventure (with the leeches and obstacle path), Mount Trusmadi proves to be a destination to delve and a climb deemed to pride over. If I am asked to choose between Mount Kinabalu or Mount Trusmadi,I would surely climb Trusmadi again!
Watch here for video to …Climbing Mount Trusmadi0