Friday, June 12, 2015
Risk of Climbing Mount Kinabalu
I have roughly gone through the THREE main risks of climbing Mount Kinabalu and I shall elaborate more here.
1) Wet Weather
On top of any mountain which is 1000m and above, it will always be WET in the morning. Many climbers have stated in their writing that it started to drizzle or rain during the early morning climb to the summit. Actually that may not really be "rain" but just "condensation" during "dew time" whereby the sudden drop in temperature in the atmosphere will result in a condensation of water vapor droplets in the cloud or atmosphere. These will turn into water droplets and drizzle down onto the mountain. This is also the source of water for the many rivers and streams running down from the mountain.
Such condensation will make everything wet on the mountain and couple with the granite rocky path leading towards the peak, this will make the climb extremely slippery. Most of the time the climbers started very early in the morning (2 am) so to catch the sunrise and thus, you just imagine walking uphill along such slippery rocky path in the darkness with sharp rocks everywhere along the climb. Is that risky?
As Kinabalu is situated in tropical region, humidity in the atmosphere is high and thus, you should expect such wet situation every morning without fail.
2) Thinning of Air and Altitude Sickness
At the height of 4095m, the thinning of air and thus reduced oxygen is a real challenge to many people. When your lungs lack oxygen, your heart beats will rise, your brain lacks oxygen, your mind will become lethargic and reactions to situation will be compromised.
Even when you do not suffer from altitude sickness, your body coordination will be compromised. And if you are expected to climb that slippery rocky path, the risk is actually much higher than most people think.
3) For any mountain climbing, the more hidden risk lies in the descending part. This is because after the climb of the summit, there will always be the feel of excitement and joy. On top of that, due to the effect of gravity, people normally thought that the descend should be "easy". However the strain on the knees and ankles is the greatest when you descend and if you are not careful enough, you may just slip and fall down the path. And if the descend is made in the morning, the initial descend will be faced with slippery path.
Most serious injuries to the knees and ankles are suffered during the descend.
These are the basic inherent risks which mountain climbing will have and that is why mountain climbing of certain height will always be considered as medium-high to high risk.
For Kinabalu, despite of what many people say of such "easy climb" or "technically not challenging", it will still be considered as High Risk to me basically because of its height and natural elements. This is especially so for young children of 12 years old
Goh Meng Seng