Granny fulfils dream of reaching Mt Kinabalu summit
Reaching the summit of Mount Kinabalu has always been the dream of Monica Ridang, a 47-year old grandmother of three grandchildren.
She made her dream come true when she and her eight friends arrived at the iconic peak of South East Asia’s highest mountain at 6 am on March 7, 2022.
Monica said they started scaling the mountain on March 6 at 11 am and reached the Panalaban base camp, where the mid-point resthouse is located at 3,272 metres above sea level at 4pm.
The base camp could be reached by climbing four to six hours from Kinabalu Park.
At the Panalaban resthouse they had their rest and dinner and few hours of sleep before resuming their climb at 2.30 am on March 7, and arrived at the peak of Mount Kinabalu at 6 am the same day.
Admitting that the journey was not easy, Monica said climbing Mount Kinabalu was a real test of grit as she had no experience scaling any mountain before, as well as didn’t make any serious preparation and training prior to the expedition.
Except for their team leader, she and seven other climbers are all first timer; nevertheless, they all made it to the summit.
“Probably spurred by my strong mindset and determination I was able to make it to the summit together with the other eight members of our group,” Monica told New Sarawak Tribune.
Two weeks before the expedition Monica was going up and down the hills at her village in Kampung Sapit, Padawan, guiding hiking groups there; the routine treks helped a lot in improving her stamina.
“It was a very tough trek up and I felt wanting to give up half way but in the end I am proud we were able to create a special moment at the 4,095-metre summit of the popular mountain,” she added.
The real challenge began after they left Panalaban base camp as the altitude changed and the temperature was three degrees Celsius.
“I was feeling dizzy and tired and having breathing difficulties and upon checking my oxygen level found it was very low, between 54 and 57. The temperature was three degrees Celsius,” she added.
Monica and her eight friends from Bau arrived in the capital city of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu from Kuching two days before they started scaling the mountain at about 11 am on March 6.
“We only spent about one and a half hours at the summit and then returned to the Kinabalu Park at 3.30 pm the same day (March 7) and safely arrived Kota Kinabalu.
According to Monica, there were 128 participants from different groups from throughout the country in the expedition. Several of them gave up half way.
Monica’s success in the scaling the mountain inspired her relatives and friends who requested her to organise another expedition.
Seven from her village have registered and have bought their flight tickets to Kota Kinabalu on Aug 31 and they are scheduled to climb the mountain two days later.
“They were all very excited and I have advised them to be well prepared for the expedition,” she said.