Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hiking up The Pinnacles - Gunung Api 1750m

Dates of my visit - August 27-31, 2010
Location : Mulu National Park, Sarawak
Itinerary :
Day 1 - Arrive Miri, Visited Lambir National Park, Overnight at Dillenia Guesthouse
Food recommendation : Sarawak Laksa at Restaurant Tasty Point, Seafood dinner at Restaurant Meng Chai

Day 2 - Transfer to Mulu on the morning flight, Canopy Walk (needs to be prebooked), Langs Cave, Deer Cave, Evening Exodus of bats, Overnight in Riverview Lodge
Note : There is no phone reception in Mulu except at the peak of Pinnacles. Only bottled water is available for purchase. Another option is to purchase in Miri and carry in.

Day 3 - Boat ride for visit to Penan Village, Wind Cave, Clearwater Cave and transfer by boat to Kuala Litut to begin the 8.8km trek into Camp5, Ovenight in Camp5
Note : Pack light to trek into Camp5. The rest of clothings can be left at the Guesthouse. The trek is about 90% flat but long. A decent walk would take about 2 hours. At Camp5 drinking water is available in a stainless steel pot. No power points to charge phone/camera.

Day 4 - Pinnacles Climb (The only place with phone reception is at the peak), Overnight in Camp5
Note : Terrain is about 50 degrees all the way and must arrive at the ladder point by 11am. Otherwise will not be allowed to go up to the peak. From Camp5 to the ladder point would take approx 3 hours and the ladder to the peak approx 1 hour. This is of moderate speed with some photography sessions.

Day 5 - Trek out from Camp5 to Kuala Litut, transfer to airport for return flight to Miri then home

How to get there : From Kuala Lumpur Fly Air Asia to Miri then MasWings to Mulu OR Fly Direct on MAS to Mulu (also via Miri)

Accomodation :
Miri - Dillenia Guesthouse at Jalan Sida (Can arrange for pick up with owner, Mrs Lee) - Various choices of accomodation available with breakfast included. Coffee, tea, water help yourself to it.
Contact details

Mrs Lee's own handiwork
 Mulu - Riverview Lodge, Outside the National Park (Electricity available from 5pm to 12 midnight).
Dormitory Style with 4 bathrooms available
Mulu - Camp5 (Sorry! Did not take a picture) - Basically dormitory style living by the river with cooking facilities. Some trekkers cook on their own while some package all with food included.

Places of interest
Miri - Lambir National Park
Go to Pujut Bus Station in Miri town (it is the outstation bus stop in town) via bus or taxi
At Pujut buy tickets from the counter - ask to go to Lambir National Park, inform the driver that you are stopping at Lambir National Park
Many trails available, clearly marked and map can be obtained when you register at the counter. The trail we took was for approximately 4km and completed in 2 hours
To return, just hop on any bus which says Miri - it will take you to the Pujut Bus Station where you can get a taxi to Miri town

Latak Waterfall
Nibong Waterfall
Clearly marked trails
 Miri - Marina Bay to watch sunset - a friend took me there.

Mulu - Canopy Walk "The Mulu Canopy Skywalk at 480 metres is the longest tree-based walkway in the World. As you walk among the ferns and vines 15 – 25 metres above the forest floor and river you will enjoy this unique opportunity to get closer to the rainforest ‘web of life’"
The entrance to the National Park
Hanging bridge

Some things one can see along the way

Mulu - "Langs Cave.Small and intimate, with walls beautifully decorated with long shawls, layers of rim stone pools on the floor, and throughout the cave, spectacular stalagmites and stalactites. In this smaller cave the bats are easier to see, small white cave prawns hide in pools of water and shimmering near the roof are strands of web spun by the thread worm larvae waiting for a passing meal"


Mulu - "Deer Cave with ancient riverbed and one wonders at the force of the water that once roared through, tumbling huge boulders around and carving the scalloped walls. Above your head columns of water stream from the roof to join the river passages that twist and turn through the mountain, continuously enlarging and changing the shape of the cave. The path continues to wind deeper into the blackness of the cave and suddenly the Garden of Eden appears in the distance, a green oasis shining in the sunlight. Nearby are Adam and Eve’s Showers spouting 30 metre columns of water to the river far below."At the Deer Cave a profile face of Abraham Lincoln can be seen!

Garden of Eden
Abraham Lincoln?
Mulu - Bat Exodus At Bat Observatory Area - "Twelve species of bats have been recorded within Deer Cave, including the Wrinkled-Lipped Bat, a colony of free-tailed bats estimated to number between 2.5 and 3.5 million. Each evening the bats gather at the cave entrance in large ring-shaped formations, circling higher and higher up the cliff face before moving out across the rainforest in spiraling ribbons. It has been estimated that nightly each bat consumes between five and ten grams of flying insects. This means that 3 million bats will return in the morning to deposit a huge amount of guano in the cave and provide a unique ecosystem, home to millions of insects and their predators. The bats leave the cave on most evenings between 5.30 pm and 6.30 pm but on rare occasions do not leave at all"
Mulu - Penan Village (by boat) - where some local hand made products were sold.... the Penans were early settlers in Mulu and were relocated into this village where they are taken care of...... there is a small clinic (no hospitals in Mulu), a school and a new longhouse. It was interesting to observe the place, a back to nature type of life.....The Penans "has a remarkable understanding of the rainforest, they have used for generations for their food, medicines, tool making and building shelters"
The Penan Longhouse

Handiworks on sale

Our boats
Chief steward

Mulu - Wind Cave by boat - "Wind Cave where millions of years ago, the first minute calcite crystals were deposited, building majestic columns and stalagmites in the King’s Chamber" One can feel the wind in a small passage way in the caves - feels like air cond! (Was not able to capture good photographs due to lighting conditions of the chamber)


Mulu - Clearwater Cave (Adventure caving is available) One needs to climb over 200 steps to arrive at the cave entrance. "The river roaring beneath your feet has travelled its subterranean route for over 108 km. Giant logs thrown high on the banks and wedged under boulders are evidence of the power of this mighty underground river.Outside the cave, one can swim in the crystal-clear waters where the river emerges from the cliff face."
Walking from Wind Cave to Clearwater Cave - A prelude to the view of Pinnacles
Entrance into the cave after climbing over 200 steps

One leaf plant

After Clearwater Cave, we head towards Kuala Litut where the trek into Camp5 begins. Along the way, the boat needs to pushed several times due to low water levels and that we were travelling against the river flow.
"Camp 5 sits besides the Sungai Melinau and faces the spectacular Benarat cliffs. This comfortable jungle accommodation has fully equipped kitchens, dining room and bathrooms"

Sg Melinau

Benarat Cliffs with the hanging bridge over Sg Melinau

Pinnacles Climb information available at the dining area
The Pinnacles Climb briefing :
1. We start hike at 0630 (earliest is 6am, latest by 7am)
2. We had to reach a point by 1100 (just before the ladders)
3. If it rains in the morning the climb would be cancelled
4. The first part was "kacang"
5. Then came "panjang" - a very long route inclined with no proper rest areas.....

Mulu - Pinnacles - "The pinnacle formations of Gunung Api and Benarat are spectacular examples of this limestone feature. Mulu’s Pinnacles tower above the surrounding landscape, some reaching heights of 40 to 50 metres.  Centuries of water have eroded and dissolved the rock into razor sharp spikes which knife skywards through the surrounding rainforest.The trail to view the Pinnacles is only 2.4 km long but rises 1,200m and the last section is near vertical with ropes and ladders to climb. Fit, experienced trekkers may reach the top in 2–3 hours, the not so fit around 4–5 hours. For many, the descent is more difficult and can take 5 hours or more"

Gems of the jungle..

At Mini Pinnacles where one can stop and rest. For some bottles of water are unloaded here and collected on return trip to carry minimal weight up the Pinnacles

The trek

The starting of the ladders

The Pinnacles
The Pinnacles
An owl we saw along the way, another gem of jungle!

The Pinnacles Climb is not an easy one although its not unachievable but takes a lot of determination and mental strength to conquer it....

"descriptions of the places are abstracts from the Mulu National Park website"

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