It was 3am when the alarm went off as I fought the urge to go back to sleep as I had only manage to get a couple of hours of tossing and turning. As pulled myself out of the bed the excitement slowly triggered and a pot of coffee was essential to keeping me awake for the journey.
About 30 minutes later, Raimy my brother arrived to fetch me and we loaded all the gear at the back of his pick-up. We had one stop before we could proceed to Gua Musang which was to fetch my friend Syiaful in Kuala Lumpur. Initially there were supposed to be four climbers, however due to some unforeseen circumstances, it would just be the three of us.
According to Google the journey was estimated to be a 4 hour drive from the heart of Kuala Lumpur to Gua Musang, and I have to say that the calculation was not far off. Despite driving in the darkness through most of the journey. We arrived just slightly after 4 hours and just in time for breakfast.
We drove around the cozy little town of Gua Musang and found a shop selling the local favourite “Nasi Dagang”. I have to admit it was a very heavy choice for breakfast but satisfactory none the less. And of course I had to have dose of caffeine
After breakfast we then arrived at the camp site of Taman Etnobotani, it was about 9am, we decided to move all of our gear from the pick-up to the base of the climbing wall. There we set up camp and quickly geared up for our climb. The climbing started with Section A which was filled with easy 5Cs to 6As. The routes there were were relatively short only ranging between 11 to 16 meters, but it was a good start for us to get the blood flowing and with the lack of sleep and heavy breakfast in the morning we were not in the most ideal condition to be climbing. Another factor which made the climbs take longer that usual was that there were only three of us meaning that we could not climb in pairs.
After a good couple of hours of climbing, my brother Raimy was getting hungry again and decided to start a fire so that he could cook his instant noodles. I have to admit it had been many years since the last time I was our camping and the idea of just cooking something using wood scattered around the campsite and eating the food from the same pan it was cooked in seemed really exciting. There is a certain excitement that comes from making life simple, throwing away all the complexity of the city life, its Joie de vivre.
To be honest I am no the biggest fan of instant noodles as I tend to stay away from these sort of junk food, but I have to admit after doing some climbing and getting baked in the sun the ‘mee goreng’ instant noodle sure did taste like it was made by Gordan Ramsy and the coffee was brewed from a lavish espresso cafe in Italy. Yes it is perhaps an exaggeration but the meal was great, spirits were high and we were definitely having a great weekend by the rocks.
After refueling our stomachs, we had a short siesta before moving on to Section B where we did a few routes which were a bit more challenging however equally fun as from what we encountered at Section A. The lack of sleep and dark clouds closing in to the area, we called it a day and decided to plan our dinner.
As this would be considered one of the more luxurious camping trips in my personal history of camping, we drove out to town which was just 3 minutes away to get some “Nasi Goreng” (Fried Rice) from one of the local Chinese restaurants in the area. Also to my own surprise being in the most religious state in Malaysia, we did manage to get some cold ale to enjoy with our prepacked dinners. Raimy was adamant despite having our take-away fried rice that we cook something on the fire to make it official we are out camping. I did not reject to this as it was fun, and it took me back to my days in the scouts. Soon after we were cooking burgers and sausages on the fire. We finished off the night sharing stories, laughing to jokes while sipping on the ale we had purchased from the local Chinese store, the tiredness kicked and we soon retreated to our tents for a much needed rest.
I did not mention this early, however the crag and campsite was located within meters away from the national service center. The three of us were awoken pretty early by the national anthem that was playing over the loud speakers. As I awoken for a brief moment I contemplated weather I should stand up for the national anthem, however I quickly decided to go back to sleep instead.
A few hours later, around 830 am all of us were awake and getting breakfast made, as this would be the last day before heading back to the hustle and bustle of city life there was a slight sense of urgency in getting ourselves ready for climbing.
We were keen on finishing some of the routes on the Section C and started the morning there. One particular route really stood out as in the guide book it was only rated as a 6A however due to the fact that one of the crucial hand holds had fallen off during one the climbing tournaments held last year it quickly became a boulder problem that all of us wanted to solve. After a few failed attempts from us all we managed to solve the problem which was at the very first bolt and manage to ascend the route. The name of the route was “Rock on Head”.
We then moved to finish some of the other interesting routes in section B, i have to say the routes were very interesting with nice hand holds, the only arguments that i had was that there was a lot of vegetation which was in the way.
The last climbs we had was in Section C, which will forever haunt me till this day as non of us had the energy and time time finish that one route. The rock was smooth, and required more technical climbing, something that i thrive on. However due to the lack of time, non of us managed to ascend the routes here, we made a promise to work on our climbing and come back to finish all of the routes in Section C and that would be a story to tell on a different post, hopefully not too long after this one.