I recently visited the World Of Sports clearance sale and picked up a pair of Columbia hiking boots. I wanted the pair I bought to be waterproof and a high cut version which would protect my ankles in the event I did fall or slip.
Since I mentioned my intent to get a few people to climb Nuang sometime soon, Tey volunteered to be my guide. Peter decided to join us as well. I was told by Tey that it would be easier to climb with just a few people than with a big group. So as early as 5am I picked up first Peter then Tey before proceeding to the foothill at Ulu Langat.
The three of us at the foothill just before commencing our climb. You can easily see who the rookie is.
The first part of the journey, we had to trek across what used to be a tar road but now is a very badly eroded muddy trail. Many years ago when the tar road was still there, people used to be able to drive up to where the waterfall was. I thought this trail was steep but didn't realise we hadn't really started the climb yet. We took about 75 minutes to get to the beginning of the actual trail up to the summit.
Our leader having his breakfast at the rest area near the waterfall and stream.
If you look closely I am already drenched with sweat after the initial 75min walk.
The waterfall and stream which we have to cross before proceeding to the first campsite.
From the point we crossed the waterfall to the summit, things just got tougher and tougher. Just for the record, I've never gone jungle trekking or done any kind of mountain climbing before... not even camping, so I really didn't know what to expect. The next stage was to get to camp Lolo and this took us about another 60mins.
Once reaching Lolo we just stopped for a few pictures and continued on for another 20mins crossing another 2 streams and passing a few more campsites. While crossing the last stream, I actually fell and hit my right kneebone on a big rock. The pain was quite bad I thought that it must be injured badly. After resting awhile the pain subsided so we decided to continue. I hoped that this would not be a mistake that I would regret later.
We finally reached Kem Pacat at 10am and rested again. There was a couple sleeping in a tent there. They must have been there overnight. One problem I seemed to be having was my specs were fogging up quite a bit and impairing my vision. On my next trip I shall remember to spray some anti fog on them.
Photo taken at Kem Pacat
A lot of the track is made up of red clay and it can be quite slippery when its wet. I really respect both Tey and Peter as they were wearing normal running shoes and seemed to be very quick and stable on their feet. Despite my boots which should have gripped better I was finding it difficult. I guess being heavier and taller my balancing is quite bad.
The last two stages of the climb are from Kem Pacat to Bukit Pengasih (the first peak) and from Bukit Pengasih to the summit. This part of the journey was the toughest as it was very steep and I had to really crack my head at times to figure out how to get just 10 metres up. My knee was still paining which added to my mental stress.
We managed to reach the summit at 12pm which was appx 5hrs from the time we started at the car park. Peter mentioned that this was the fastest ascent he had made here after climbing over 5 times so this did please me. By this time I was already exhausted and when Tey mentioned we should be able to descend faster than we climbed up, I told him I thought otherwise.
After having lunch, we started the climb down at 12.30pm. It started raining later which made the ground very slippery. Less than an hour later, I was starting to have severe pain in one of the bones next to my left knee. I could feel a sharp pain with each step I took. I had this pain before when I initially started swimming and feel that it was due to the angle in which I kicked when swimming, so perhaps while descending I was twisting my leg in all funny angles and thus causing this.
Anyway it just got worse from there, coupled with pains on both legs and increasing fatigue, I forced both my members to slow down drastically as well. The mental and physical anguish that one goes through in this kind of situation is much worse than when I had run my first 42k race. By the last couple of hours I was really swearing and cursing. I had to just switch off my mind an keep going at it, this was the only way I would make it back.
We finally made it back to the car park at 6.30pm. It was getting really dark by then. I was glad to have a really refreshing bath before driving back. Despite the pain and suffering both physically and mentally, I am glad that I attempted this climb. I don't know how soon, but I will definitely climb Nuang again not for a better timing but to strengthen my mind and overcome my fears.
The bone pain I suffered is much better now and should almost be non existant by tomorrow. My right kneebone injury is also better and can hardly be felt unless I press down on it by kneeling. My high cut boots did prevent me from having and serious joint injuries, especially at the ankles as I did trip and twist at the ankles many times. So besides really sore muscles, I am fine and should be back on the road tomorrow for an easy run.