Climbing Mount Datuk

by Ervinna Hon , May 5, 2003 | Destinations: Malaysia / Sabah

Sunrise at Mount Datuk "Every mountain has its own different slopes and routes.. It could be a dense hike in the low lands. Or a strenuous hike to the mountain vegetation in the upper elevations. Every step is a challenge to the submit, waiting only to be conquered by passionate mountaineers. There are mountains to tempt every level of climber in Malaysia. Where each one offers a different experience to a climber..." Mountains in Malaysia, they are not as high as Everest and K2, or the alpine-like Masherbrum standing at 7,821 meters or the Kilimanjaro (5,895m) that dominates the Kenya-Tanzania border, the highest being Mount Kinabalu at 4,101 meters. Beginners can start with well-marked trails and friendly atmosphere such as Mount Tangsi in Negeri Sembilan, Mount Jerai in Kedah and Mount Korbu in Perak where it takes two to three hours hiking. For more advance adventure seekers, they can choose a journey through the wilderness to climb Mount Tahan, the highest point in Peninsula Malaysia (takes up to 7 days) or the Mount Gagau in Taman Negara. Regarded as the world's oldest rainforest, much of these areas are still unexplored. Having only climb few mountains myself, such as Mount Irau at Berinchang (Cameron Highlands), Mount Santubong in Sarawak, half-way there (so called) Mount Nuang at Hulu Langat and recently Mount Datuk at Seremban, I still wonder why do people climb mountain. Merely to seek advice from the long-bearded wise man meditating at the peak? Or because the mountain is just purely there? Whatever reason it is, there is always something new to learn and experience with every step. And I have begun to treat mountains with reverence as I take on the inches. The weekend camping at Mount Datuk, also known as Mount Rembau at 2,900 feet above sea level turned out quite different from other mountains. An indescribable portrait of nature welcome climbers at the peak - big rocks stacked up in a way only Mother Earth can create, holding it in place for us to admire the view of Rembau, Tampin and Port Dickson. The climb itself took about two hours for average climbers and definitely less for super climbers. The group I was with was a challenge itself as I try to catch up with those loaded with camping gears, tonnes of food, charcoal and even watermelons to my amaze. And yet to no avail as I endured the trail - a 40 to 50 degree slope up all the way to the peak. Darkness began to take over the surrounding forest as we neared the peak. Pungent smell of food greeted my drumming tummy - giving a hint there is an existence of other humans besides us. Somehow the forest seems to be sleeping. No distant cricket sound could be heard. Nature echoes, soon I found out was coldly replaced by noises from other campers who were starting their noisy live band to my dismay. A real bummer the camping site was over-congested - perhaps more than 60 people where as the place would have only fit nicely for about 10 campers. A better alternative? Grabbed the sleeping bag and hit the peak for a chill sleep. Situated at the end of Titiwangsa Mountain Range, admiring the sunrise over the mountain sitting on top of the highest rock next to a deep ravine was somehow interesting. The sky changes its colour and work on well with yellow, orange and blue colour combination. Of course, windy breeze is ever present to welcome another glorious morning. Far below, few sleeping bags scattered around with human cocoons wrapped inside - apparently tranquil dreamland still beholds them. Not a single snore released. Far out to where the light was penetrating, the town slowly comes to live to greet another Sunday morning while the night residence of the forest shying away to their hideouts. I have yet to admire all mountains in Malaysia especially East Malaysia - having more variety of challenging mountains. Adventure seekers and enthusiastic avid climbers will definitely not run out of destinations for a weekend outing. Just gear up, take safety precautions, follow the trail and voila - a great outdoor greets you with an open arms.