Forty-something mother scales Mount Kinabalu to fulfil her resolution

NEW years are a perfect time for retrospection and re-evaluation. With every new year comes an opportunity for one to accomplish unfulfilled goals. For Kairin Romeena, it was her longing to climb Mount Kinabalu.

As an avid traveller, it has always been her dream to be at the top of the 13,435ft national attraction in Sabah.

“Climbing Mount Kinabalu has always been something I have wanted to do. My husband, who is half Sabahan, has always been talking about his experience climbing Mount Kinabalu,” said the mother of three.

Despite her love for nature and the outdoors, Kairin had to put her goal on hold numerous times due to family commitments.

Last July, the Selangorian finally accomplished her resolution with her school friends.

“I decided to do it with my high school girlfriends. We took the challenge since it was one of the things we wanted to do. Although we are all mothers, it was a good challenge and learning experience.”

How did you prepare for the climb?

For three weeks before our climb, I was mindful of what I ate. I consumed a lot of healthy meals like salads and vegetables. I also took a lot of health supplements like Vitamin C. But due to the initial movement control order (MCO), we could not go out to jog. So, I did a lot of home exercises, with home equipment like the stepper.

However, my husband and friends who had previously climbed Mount Kinabalu advised me not to push myself too hard. I followed the routines he laid out for me because he knew my limits. He incorporated a lot of stair-climbing exercises as he said climbing Mount Kinabalu was similar to climbing stairs.

What were the obstacles you encountered?

Climbing up was not so challenging. Although the temperature was cold, going back down was tougher. Since my friends and I are in our 40s and were sleep-deprived, going back down took a toll on our knees. Plus, it was dark.

We could only rely on our head lamps to move. We could also hear all the noises from the nocturnal animals around us, and as someone who hates horror movies, it was frightening for me. Fortunately, my friends were by my side.

What was the source of motivation that kept you going?

Having my friends with me was helpful. Although some of us were injured and sick along the way, we did not leave each other. We walked through the night together and it was quite an experience. A testimony of our friendship.

Apart from that, I was also determined to reach the top. As a person who likes taking photos, I was not going home without any photos of me at the top. And my children, particularly my oldest son, wanted to see me at the top. This was one factor that pushed me on.

What did it feel like reaching the summit?

It was an eye-opening experience. The scene at the top was beautiful and it exceeded my expectations. Since it was just after the MCO, there were fewer people. So, it felt like the mountain was ours. And it was great talking to the workers there who were glad that the site was opened to tourists and climbers again.

What advice do you have for those planning to make the climb?

If I, a mother of three can do it, so can you. In fact, I have been encouraging people to give it a try. Especially youths who are single and without any commitments, just go for it. If you are hesitant, remember that it is all in the mind. You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.