Bukit Tabur east climb
I've got a confession to make. I'm addicted to hiking and climbing. The thing about hiking is, you just can't do it alone. You must have a buddy or a group to tag along. Lucky for me I've got a fellow hiking/climbing enthusiast at work. He's been actively participating in outdoor activities for quite some time now and I must admit I am quite envious of him (in a good way that is).
So a few weeks ago I asked him to bring me somewhere for a little bit of hiking and climbing and he suggested Bukit Tabur in nearby Taman Melawati. Reading the news and reviews only Bukit Tabur sounded like a pretty dangerous and difficult place to climb but that doesn't dampen my resolve to climb it anyway.
From a two man journey, it turned into a 6 person trip when my friend Syiaful asked some of his climbing buddies to join as well. I like how we organize this climb. Ask anybody on Facebook if they want to come and tell them to turn up at Taman Melawati at 5:00-ish in the morning. Simple as that, no fuss, no fees, no bs.
I set my alarm clock for 4:00 am that Saturday morning to make the 5:00 am rendezvous time. By 5:30, we were already at the foot of the Tabur east hill and began our hike. Unlike Tabur west, we didn't need no permit to enter the hill. Besides, I doubt nobody will there to bother you at 5:30 in the morning.
The climb up to Tabur east peak took about one hour. There were 5 guys and girl. Most of the participants are experienced hikers and climbers including one Ah Tong, a professional mountaineer who has been to some of the highest mountain peaks around Asia. I was so lucky to have him around and learnt a lot of tips and advice on climbing.
Climbing in the dark is somewhat more difficult than during the day, especially for a challenging hill like Bukit Tabur. I had my torch light ready but for some of those rocky patch, I had to hold the light with my teeth so that my hands are free to climb. It's probably a good idea to get a decent head lamp for my next trip.
That said, climbing in the dark is also much faster since I can't see anything much except for the trees and rocks in front of you. In a way, it's much easier to climb in the dark since you can't see how difficult the terrain is up ahead and your mind is focused only on the route in front of you.
After 50 minutes or so we finally reached the peak of Tabur east, after stopping a few times to catch our breath and admire the magnificent view of Taman Melawati. Our initial plan was to catch the glorious sunrise at the peak but it was just not our day. The sky was cloudy all morning, in fact it began to rain while we started to descend down the peak. So no sunrise for us today. Still the view and panorama from the hill's peak was absolutely stunning and gorgeous even without the sun. It makes all the hardship we endure during the climb more than worth it.
We hung around on top of the hill for 30 minutes or so before making our way down. The descend downhill was much harder than the climb. Probably because for once I can see the route up ahead and how difficult it is. It's all psychological I think.
About 80% of our climb that day was land and trees with the rest are rocky and sharp boulders which are quite a challenge to climb (up or down). The boulders were hard but they're not impossible and even beginners like me who had no prior experience of rock climbing before should be able to do them without much difficulties. If I can do it, I should think most people can do it. It's all about your determination and resolve.
We took a completely different route for our descent downhill which was much easier than the climb. Still, since it drizzled a little, the slopes was wet and slippery and you can forget about keeping your shoes clean. Ah Tong said it's dangerous to climb anything during the rain. The ground is slippery as well as the rock. If it rains, you might as well pack your bag and go home and try again another day according to him.
We reached the foot of the hill at around 8:00 am and come out among some big ass bungalows in Taman Melawati. We stopped by a mamak nearby to have our breakfast and a little chit chat before parting ways. I learnt a lot from my first serious climb up Bukit Tabur. How to dress properly (shorts, not track bottom), get a proper head lamp, eat something before you climb to the secret climber's hand shake (there are such thing!).
Bukit Tabur may sound dangerous or difficult to some if you only read the blogs or news about the recent mishap and accidents. For me, honestly, they are not that hard provided you have an experience guide to guide you. Experienced as in someone who had been there before a few times or somebody with years of climbing experience. I was lucky to have a couple of them during my last trip there. And respect nature and the environment. No fooling around or doing daring pose on top of the rocks. One wrong step and you might fall down the rocky ledge and end up as a statistic for tragedy at Bukit Tabur.
The climb is moderately hard but the reward is truly worth it. You get to see the entire Klang Gate dam or reservoir up to Genting Highland on one side and the entire Taman Melawati and the Kuala Lumpur skyline on the other. Like Mandela said, it always seems impossible until it's done.
Alright Syiaful bring on the next rock!