Monday, June 23, 2008

[Day 2] Low’s Peak Circuit Via Ferrata

While waiting for William to arrive, I removed my midlayer polar fleece jacket and just don my shell jacket (I know I will be sweating hard on the Via Ferrata). I also replaced my polar fleece gloves with my old full-fingered mountain biking gloves (I need more dexterity). After donning our harnesses and helmets, Nani then said her goodbye and headed down towards Laban Rata for some rest before we head down towards the Park HQ.

William gave me the other end of the running-belay rope and I tied it to my harness loop with a ‘follow-thru figure-of-8 knot.’ Then he gave me the go signal. No ‘belay on’ - ‘on belay’ communication ensued here, just ‘OK?’ and ‘OK’ interaction between me and William.

I walked towards the edge of the Sayat-Sayat slab. Time check: 0630hrs.

Clipped both my auto-locking karabiners to the cable and threaded the belay rope to the Prisme rung. Off I go to the rock face and to the next rung.

On the next rung, I stabilized my stance and then I unclipped one karabiner and snapped it on the next cable after the rung; I unclipped the other karabiner and clipped it next the first one. I tugged on the belay rope, which is connected to William, and threaded it again to the rung.

This is the repetitive move that I did on the ‘Low’s Peak Circuit’ Via Ferrata. It is a descending route towards to Summit Trail before reaching the Gunting Lagadan Hut. Asia’s first and World’s highest Via Ferrata.

‘The Preamble’ Via Ferrata is the ascending approach towards the top-edge of the Sayat-Sayat Slab headwall. For ‘The Preamble’, Mountain Torq recommends a 3days/2nights stay on the mountain (Pendant Hut) because of the more strenuous procedure. But the ‘Low’s Peak Circuit’ Via Ferrata (descending) should not to be looked differently or down-rated, because when doing the ‘Low’s Peak Circuit’ Via Ferrata the climber has to endure looking at the exposure beneath his feet every time he has sketch a foothold and clip/thread-in to the ‘iron road.’

At the arête, old bolted and hammered protections can be seen. It is said that it was used by some Japanese rock climbers previously to surmount the slab years ago. Some new bolts can be seen, but these were placed by the French contractors who built Mount Kinabalu’s Via Ferrata.

Looking towards Laban Rata and Pendant Hut, I can see some spectators looking at William and me. Of the 158 climbers on Mount Kinabalu that day, I was the only one who walked the ‘iron road.’ William then radioed the other Mountain Torq guides at Pendant Hut to see if they can see us. William informed me that they were very happy to see us and we were very fast.

The first part is the slab face down-climbing, then the traverse towards the slab arête. After some time of rock, rung, cable, and platform-grabbing, the Via Ferrata leaded me to the hanging bridge. The only fixed system of the hanging bridge was the two cables for holding-on and the belay cable (?). The pathway of the bridge was freely-swinging. Under the bridge was a 100+ feet drop. Then the bridge ended to another sideway traverse.

After a downward climb the iron road exited to a vegetated portion of the route. Unclipped, I walked towards the next route. While walking, I again felt my feet have heels. Here I get to munch on some granola bars.

After some minutes on the jungle trek, the next rung again appeared.

Just I was getting used to the traversing, the cable bridge appeared. The cable bridge spec’d with the two cables to hold-on to and only one cable to walk on. Then the traverse iron road again.

Before reaching the end of the Via Ferrata, the monkey bridge was next. One cable for protection and handhold and another cable for the footwork.

After the monkey bridge, it was only 300-meters to go towards the end of the Via Ferrata. It was mixed emotions time for me. I wanted to stay for the fun of climbing Mount Kinabalu and walking the iron road, but I also wanted to end the climb to go back to my family… and work.

Reaching the yellow-colored warning sign, it indicated that my iron road walk has now ended. Time check: 0900hrs.

I thanked William for accompanying me on the Via Ferrata then I walked towards Gunting Lagadan Hut, Laban Rata, and finally, Pendant Hut. Climbers staying in Gunting Lagadan and Laban Rata took pictures of me while I was descending. One European climber commented that I am ‘hardcore’ and a Malaysian climber said something that I cannot comprehend (maybe he was saying that I’m a fool).

Reaching Pendant Hut, the other guides congratulated me and offered me a second breakfast! Yeah!

Mountain Torq Via Ferrata

4 comments:

Ashna said...

I admire you. Congratulations. =) I and a friend will be doing the LPC on July 21. Looking at your pictures, my head is bombarded with, "Diyos ko, kaya ko kaya?" Would to ask tips from you. Ash (09163992932)

jaymz said...

Hi Ash!
thank you for visiting my site! :D
yes, you can do it!!!
good luck & God bless!!!
don't forget the kwento & pix after! please say 'hello' to mountaintorq/ pendant hut guys for me!

Korndamned said...

Hello Jaymz.

I plan to do Mount Kinablu via Ferrata, Low's Peak Circuit end-May. I'm a single traveller. Would it be OK for you to email me at iamdagreatkornholio@yahoo.com

I have some enquiries. Thank you.

jaymz said...

Cheenang/Korndamned,
good luck on your endeavor!
God bless!!!
don'f forget the photos... blog about it after! please say 'hello' to kinabalu cemerlang & mountaintorq/pendant hut guys for me!