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Climbing Stong Mountain - 1422 meters of pain

by Azlan MN
(Kelantan, Malaysia)

Back in 2001 a few friends asked me if I wanted to join them climbing Stong Mountain in Kelantan, Malaysia. It'd be fun, they said. And a lot of cute girls will be joining too. Naturally I said yes ;-)

The whole trip lasted 4 days and 3 nights. Our group consisted of 19 teenagers around 18 to 20 years old (9 boys & 10 girls). Most of us were of average fitness and only 3 of us had any experience climbing mountains before.

The first day started easily enough. We arrived at the foot of the mountain and began hiking along a trail that ran beside a river. After a while the trail started sloping upwards and our guide had to slow down because some of the girls started lagging behind.

We stopped for an hour for lunch and resumed hiking but by then the trail had turned steep requiring handholds and everyone moved at a snails pace.

I still remember how heavy my feet felt and how every step seemed to take every bit of strength I had left. I wanted to lie down so badly.

We finally reached the first camp site and most of us sat there in a daze as the rest put up our tents and made dinner.

I don't even remember where I slept. I only thing I remember about that night was lying down on someone else's sleeping bag because mine was already taken and I didn't have the energy to push them off :-)

The next day was a lot better. We left our heavy backpacks behind and brought only our lunch packs to finish the climb up Stong Mountain. It was pretty uneventful, and somehow everyone made good time even though the trail didn't get any easier.

Among the highlights I remember was dunking my head in the river to wash my face before noticing a friend washing his feet and boots upstream.

We finally reached the peak, which was surprisingly a huge boulder (stong = stone?). The journey back was down was slow mainly due to a light drizzle that made the trail slippery and dangerous.

Some of the girls accidentally grabbed onto vines covered with thorns when they slipped. Ouch!

The third day was spent climbing a neighboring mountain called Ayam Mountain.

When we finally got back to our camp I pulled off my boots and found it filled with blood. Damn leeches. I was too tired to create a ruckus and went to sleep after dinner.

The last day we all climbed down, got into our bus, visited the night market, and then traveled back straight to Johor (~700km).

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