Climbing a mountain- is it worth it?

Bringing on 2018, it is easy to come up with crazy resolutions or ideas of how to make the most the year- experiencing new things and challenging yourself. I myself have fallen into this trap, being pulled into climbing a mountain with a friend of mine this upcoming summer. Not being the most athletic person out there, I find it hard to imagine myself being able to achieve such a thing. However, it is important to remember anything is possible once you put your mind to it, and if you have the opportunity to do something, it is usually worth the risk.

The mountain that we plan on tackling this summer is Mount Kinabalu, located in Sabah, Malaysia. It is one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia with an elevation of 4,095m. The climb is expected to take two days, where climbers trek 6km to Laban Rata on the first day, before climbing the summit early on the following morning. Not being too much of a trek, it does seem suitable for first-time climbers like myself.

Following the unexpected and devastating 2015 Sabah earthquake, it is easy to worry about what might happen during the trek. This earthquake was the strongest to affect Malaysia since 1976 with a magnitude of 6.0, triggering massive rock avalanches and destructing infrastructure where 18 lives were lost. Earthquakes are not usually common in this area as Sabah sits several hundreds of kilometers away from where the Pacific Plate, Philippine Sea Plate and other smaller tectonic plates are actively smashing into the Eurasian Plate (the summit trail has since reopened). Furthermore, other worries that I face with the climb are the injuries I may encounter. Being inherently clumsy and not having the best balance is not the best combination for mountain climbing…

However, there are many rewards associated with climbing a mountain: the sense of fulfilment, the tick off the bucket list, and the breathtaking views throughout the climb. It is truly important to step away from pressures of everyday modern life to take time to appreciate mother nature and all it has to offer. Overall, climbing a mountain is definitely something that one should do if they have the opportunity. The whole process of disconnecting from our hectic lives and putting away our material possessions could provide a life changing experience.

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