Thursday, September 04, 2008

Gunung Benom: From Sungai Klau-Raub to Ulu Cheka-Jerantut

Gunung Benom is one of the great trek in West Malaysia. Though ranking just number 10, it had a notorious reputation of 30 plus small hills to conquer before reaching the top. In order to prepare myself to this trip, I have to go through 45 days of training so that I am not left behind to reach (or not) after dark, haha.

Siong Har Team join with Good Good Team this time, with a total of 27 persons. A lot of the original team at when to conquer Volcano Mountain in Rinjani, Bali; and Mei Ru deserted me to enjoy herself at UK and Switzerland.

Wake up super early to reach Siong Har place at 4:30am Saturday (30th August 2008), only to have found him still sleeping. We drive to Bentong to have Kon Lou Mee breakfast at the same shop near the market, and meet with the 4WD guys later which will drive us up to Lata Berumbum waterfall before we start our hiking around 9:30am. Too bad we didn’t even get to see the waterfall, thinking we will get back to the same spot 2 days later.

It’s a bad day for Good Good, where we fall down due to slippery rock 10 minutes into trekking, and lost a toe nail at the first campsite, and something bad happened again which I couldn’t recall what. It’s a triple whammy for him, a very bad day to leave the house. Luckily he is still as fit as ever, and can run like the wind. I got around 10 plus leeches at the beginning, but it’s no big deal. The trek is not too harsh, where I reach the campsite around 3pm. Of course some superstar would reach there by 2 or earlier. There are 2 new comers who reached 2 hours later than all of us, so we were quite worried for them. So it’s not as hard as I thought it would be, just nice; maybe it’s because my stamina is slightly better this time, and I think I carried the heaviest load which I had carried before. I feel the power, hahaha. Campsite one is pretty okay, but the path to the water is pretty narrow and slippery; and we got the tarik water. As usual, Siong Har will be busy with setting up the camp and Ah Fong busy cooking, and I try to help out whenever I can. The dinner is really superb, with chili roasted pork, duck, vegetable, soup and Lo Hon Gor for dessert. As expected, it rain again and again, flooded quite a bit. But I still had a good sleep :)

The next day is much tougher, but we got to see many Monkey Pitchers along the way, easily 30cm or more. There is a lot of up and down, and we probably crossed between 20-40 hills and conquering steep slope before reaching the top around 4pm (superstar reach at 2pm, the slowest reach at 7pm). Siong Har and wife (she join us for the 1st time) is very steady and strong, once we saw them, then they are gone again. Alvin (uncle of 55 years old) is in top shape again, and Hi Lo the Mongolian runner is like a wild stallion. Everyone just glide pass me and Ah Fong like nothing. I partner with Ah Fong this time, and I enjoy her pace and company.

The summit is not too fantastic, but nevertheless satisfying. There is a wide openness, which gives great view of the surrounding mountains, but it’s too cloudy. We have petai, salted fish, vegetable, soup and dessert for dinnerl, equally satisfying. A lot of people brought Guinness Beer (seems like the favourite), and Yong even brought Mmm Ka Pei, a Chinese strong alcohol. I had a lot of that, around 5 table spoon of it (somehow, not many are interested with it; is there something I don’t know?). It rains again, disturbing my sleep this time. Most people drink beer, eat peanuts and chit chat for quite a while that night.

The last day is the most adventurous, as we “accidentally” took a new trek which leads us to Kampung Tengah, Ulu Cheka, Jerantut (we came up from Sungai Klau, Raub). We basically did a trans and cross over to the other side of Banjaran Titiwangsa. The trek is wider, but much longer and steeper (luckily we are going down). There are 3 camp site, where camp 3 and 2 had a big plastic container as rain catchment. Might not be good for drinking, but sure is refreshing. The view is fantastic as well, with yellow label to mark all the way so that we don’t get lost easily (though still possible). We start around 8:30am and reach Kampung Tengah around 8:30om (12 hours of hiking, new record!). We have some minor argument at the last kilometer (luckily I brought my GPS along with marking on this side of the path) due to doubtful path, but we made it nevertheless. The entire Kampung Tengah only had one house surrounded by orchard, and are we glad we did see some sign of human. We had to call the 4WD guys from Raub to pick us up with a Durian lorry, and the phone line is really bad. Luckily the orchard owner who just buka puasa help us out a lot, guide us, drive us, give us some water and food, and a place to bath. We was worried about the last 2 person, which we send in our own rescue team rather than wait for the police or ranger to help find them the next morning. Luck was on our side that those guys are quite smart to read the sign left by us and manage to come out to the durian orchard before our rescue team picks them up.

The Durian lorry finally arrived to drive us back to Raub, but the bad Carbon emissions almost made we vomit on the way back. We are like illegal immigrant riding the big lorry, and luckily the police didn’t stop us. We had supper and reach KL around 4am plus.

This is really a very good experience of a life time, and I am proud of myself and thankful to Ah Fond for keeping me in Pace, and of course the leadership of brother Siong Har.

Gunung Benom, 31.4 km in 3 days, conquering 50 hills, 23 hours of journey and still alive and kicking! YEAH!

Photo Links: Yong's Multiply Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

1 comment:

nkt said...

Hi, do u still keep the GPS trek record? if yes. do you mind to share it to me? i plan to go climb gunung benom maybe this merdeka day :P. thanks. my email is