I’m climbing what?

A couple of months ago I mentioned that even though I’m not a gym person, I joined a gym. Today I’m telling you why. We have booked a trip to Malaysia, which is less than two months away. I’m not trying to get into bikini shape for the beaches. Instead I’m hoping that I don’t kill myself while hiking Mount Kinabalu, a mountain on the island of Borneo, which is located in Sabah. It’s 13,435 ft (4,095 meters) above sea level. This makes it one of the highest mountains in South East Asia and it’s the 20th most prominent mountain in the world. We plan on completing the climb in 2 days. On the second day, our wake-up call will be at 1:30 a.m. so we can hike to the top and watch the sunrise and then make our way down.

Here are some facts about Mount Kinabalu

* It was formed approximately 10 million years ago, which makes it a rather young mountain (at what age is a mountain old?)

*Mount Kinabalu National Park has over 5,000 different species of plants and animals. This includes over 100 mammal species and 326 bird species.

*They estimate that there are between 5,000 and 6,000 species of plants. Many of which are only found in this region.

* There are more than 800 species of orchids, more than 600 fern species, and 13 species of carnivorous pitcher plants (I’m not sure what this is yet)

* In Sabah, there are 850 butterfly species

I’m not going to lie; I’m super excited about all of this, which is why I joined a gym. I want to be able to experience all of this beauty. I learned from my volcano climbing experience in Guatemala that I just can’t show up and hope for the best. That hike was no fun. I was completely out of shape and boy did it show. Seriously, I was on my hands and knees part of the way—that is until we got close to the top and I couldn’t touch the rocks. They get damn hot! I made it to the top, but by the time I got there I was so beat I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

Yes, I expect Mount Kinabalu to kick my butt—I hear it’s difficult. But I don’t want to make matters worse by not attempting to get into shape. Wish me luck. I’m going to need it.

I would like to give a shout out to the best running buddy in the world. Miles I couldn’t do this without you.

He's always ready to hit the trails!

He’s always ready to hit the trails!

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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78 Responses to I’m climbing what?

  1. Lottie Nevin says:

    Good luck! How exciting – I really admire you, I need to take a leaf out of your book! There are lots of volcanoes that I want to climb on Java and Bali but like you, I think I need to kick ass and get into shape first. You’ve inspired me. 🙂

  2. Tara says:

    I climbed the Mt Kianabalu in 2003 and had some side effects due to the high altitude. Now – there are two ways to reach the top – the fast one which is steep and tiring one ( and preferable one by the local agents) and the second one which is longer but more pleasant especially if you are not fit and worried about the high altitude. Check which one you are taking. Make sure you are staying overnight at the top ( we stayed at the hostel ) and experience the sun rise next morning which is fantastic! Hire a Sherpa even if you have a small bag to carry…they do make a huge difference…if I didn’t have one i wouldn’t never ever be able to reach a top. …and i would miss all the orchids on the way!

    • TBM says:

      We are staying at the hostel, which will be such a relief. and I will keep the Sherpa in mind for my bag. I think that will be extremely beneficial. I don’t want to miss the orchids! Thanks for all the tips!

  3. wow! i look forward to your pictures, and i admire your dedication to preparation. sounds like a challenge! 🙂

  4. hillarypat says:

    Malaysia sounds amazing! Have fun and be sure to tell us all about it when you get back!!

  5. Preparation is the key here–and you are doing it – good luck — what an adventure!

  6. fgassette says:

    YOU CAN DO IT! YOU CAN DO IT! Wishing you much success on your climb. We will be back here rooting you on. We know you will reach the summit with flying colors.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

  7. thirdeyemom says:

    Awesome!!!! I had thought of this one myself but I still have my heart on Kilimanjaro which I do intend to do very soon! You can do it!!!! Can’t wait to see your pictures! Do some stair master if you can but even walking on the treadmill will help. I usually just run and do long walks to prepare for a climb or long hike and it works well even at age 41. Can’t wait to hear about this!!!

  8. Best of Luck. May your dreams come true!

  9. blade3colorado says:

    I’ve climbed 14ners in Colorado and the key as you pointed out, is preparation. If at all possible, prepare at altitude, e.g., Denver for example offers the front range, which are only 20 miles away, with mountains having trails of 8000 to 14000 feet (with Denver at a mile). Also, you are going to be dealing with extreme heat and humidity, especially that time of the year. I just left there and it was their “cool” season. LMAO. It was 33 C, which in F means HOT.

    If you don’t do any of the aforementioned – you absolutely need to bring trek poles (2 preferably). You wont need them as much going up, as you will going down (mainly because your legs and knees will already be rubber). Also, drink plenty of water, not only because of the elevation, but the humidity. Last, but not least – bring aspirin (not tylenol or ibuprofen) . . . You want aspirin because that will thin your blood and works much better on headaches. You are going to kick ass on that mountain! Good luck and have fun!

    • TBM says:

      Thanks for all of the tips. I won’t be able to train in Colorado unfortunately. I used to live there, but now I reside in England. And aspirin–that’s a good tip. I’m worried about the humidity. At least at the top of the mountain it will be colder. Probably still pretty humid though. I’ll find out soon. Yikes!

  10. wolke205 says:

    Goooood luck & yes you can! 😀

  11. Daniel says:

    How exciting! Malaysia is a truly beautiful place – there’s no doubt you’ll love it!

    Daniel
    http://www.myworldatyourfingertips.com

  12. nrlymrtl says:

    Heck, I am excited for you! Giving yourself 2-3 months to get into shape is an excellent idea. You will enjoy your hike the more for it.

  13. I’m excited for you! I have some pals who did this a few years back and they said it was tough but amazing.I think they sell little canisters of oxygen on the way up for people to use…very handy they said!

    • TBM says:

      I will keep that tip in mind. I used to live in Denver Colorado so I’m hoping the altitude won’t bother me. But who knows now.

  14. niasunset says:

    Good Luck dear TBM, sounds so exciting, my heart with be with you. Thanks and Love, nia

  15. IsobelandCat says:

    You are a braver woman than I am!

  16. Pogue says:

    I am so excited for you. I am not a fan of working out, but I know it is good for me and a wonderful thing to do. Good for you, and if you can pictures?

  17. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Oh you’ll love Borneo, I was there for Christmas 2009 and spent 5 days in KL first, then Kota Kinabalu and finally Sepilok. I didn’t climb, my knees and asthma don’t let me, but the snorkelling at TAR park was incredible as was the Kinabatanga and visiting the Orangs!

  18. Wow, good for you! Sounds like the trip of a lifetime. Can’t wait to hear all about it and see photos. Good luck with your exercise regimen!

  19. Wow, that sounds like it is going to be an unforgettable and amazing experience!! What a life you have :). Make sure you pack some chocolate in your pockets for extra energy LOL!

    • TBM says:

      They actually suggest packing chocolate. Might bring more nuts and such than chocolate though. A couple of our friends have done this hike so I’ll hit them up for suggestions.

  20. Way to go. I love that you are preparing for your trip for reasons other than appearance.

  21. pattisj says:

    What an exciting adventure! I can’t even imagine sunrise from the top of a mountain, so I hope you get lots of fabulous pictures. 1:30 wake-up? How do you see to climb? (I have much to learn).

    • TBM says:

      We have to pack head lamps and torches for the night climb. I’ve gone hiking in the dark, but mostly on level surface. This will be a whole new experience.

  22. How exciting! It will be good to get in shape so that you can enjoy it more. I’ve never been to Malaysia. I hope you take lots of photos and share them and their stories with us!

    • TBM says:

      I’ll do my best getting photos. not sure how much we’ll see or what shape I’ll be in to take photos 😉 This is our first time venturing into Asia and I’m super excited.

  23. Novroz says:

    Whoa…climbing one of the tallest mountains? cool!!
    I remember when I did a hike on Mount Gede, I started at 11pm and haf a rest at 4am. We began again at 6am. Before noon, we weren’t on top yet and a couple of Westerners passed by…they reached the top before us…and when we reached the top, that couple started to descent. They amazed us, they had better stamina than us 😉

    • TBM says:

      Trust me, I won’t be the first up and down. I’m always one of the last ones wherever I go. I claim that I’m taking it all in. But to be honest, I’m just slow and tired 🙂

  24. So exciting!! You are wise to train first. Hopefully you’ll have some time at a higher elevation before you begin the ascent. If you’ve lived in Denver, you should be OK with the altitude. I envy your seeing all those orchids…can’t wait to see photos!

  25. FoodMorningAmerica says:

    Good luck to you on this journey. Don’t let the gym be what you do to get to your adventure….let the gym and the workouts that get you ready be a part of your adventure!

  26. petit4chocolatier says:

    You are inspiring!! Best wishes my dear 🙂

  27. Oh my goodness! The description of your climb has exhausted me and I have to lie down. 🙂
    Seriously – this is going to be an exciting trip. Good luck getting in shape.

    I hope you get to finish your trip relaxing on a white sand beach! Will you be visiting other islands or cities while you’re in Malaysia?

    • TBM says:

      We are ending the trip with a few days on a beach and maybe some snorkeling. We’ll see how exhausted I am. I might just laze about and watch the water. I’ve been known to do that for hours and never get bored. we have a few stop in Malaysia including KL. Not sure of all the names just yet. I need to read more of my travel book. Luckily two of our friends live there so they have been helping us with the planning.

  28. samokan says:

    I so envy you. It would be awesome. I hope the current situation in Sabah right now would not affect your trip. Be safe.

    • TBM says:

      We are aware of the situation and are formulating back up plans in case we have to make any changes. Hopefully all is well and everyone is safe. Thanks for your concern.

  29. mcjbt says:

    Hey I have been enjoying your blogs for some time now. That being said, I hope the political/military crisis involving Sabah hopefully will be resolved by the time you get there for your trip. Be safe!

  30. lynnsbooks says:

    Okay, so forget answering my question on your next post! I’m going back through recent posts that I missed whilst away. Good luck with your training – at least you’re getting into shape which is great.
    Lynn 😀

  31. my money is on you making it. you may be tired and sore when you get there but i think you will be triumphant

  32. Fergiemoto says:

    Wow, that sounds like an awesome trip! I look forward to hearing about it when you return.

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