Yesterday I read my friend The Weary Traveller’s fascinating post about the highest mountains in South-East Asia. See http://pathannay.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/highest-mountain-in-se-asia . I must admit I couldn’t get my head around the fact that the summit of Mt. Chimborazo is further from the earth’s centre than the summit of Mt. Everest despite it being 9,000 feet shorter. I shall ask him to explain it to me slowly one day.
Apart from that , I was somewhat deflated by his final list of the top 10 mountains in SE Asia. Having spent considerable effort in climbing what I thought were among the highest peaks in this part of the world (Fanxipan, Kinabalu and Rinjani – see my earlier blogs on these exploits) it now turns out that only one of them, Kinabalu, even appears in the top ten!
Spurred on by this fact, I felt I must immediately get in some hiking training and today I thought I would tick off an easy Malaysian peak, Mt. Angsi, the second highest peak in Negeri Sembilan state. Modest in size, at 2707 feet (825 meters) I thought this would be a walk in the park, literally since it lies in Ulu Bendul Recreational Forest, not far from Seremban. Some say that it should not even be classified as a mountain since it is less than 1,000 meters but the Malaysians call it a ‘gunung’ rather than a ‘bukit’ so mountain it is.
My research told me that it should take 2 1/2 hours on the way up and another hour and a half down. I thought I might be able to do it faster but it took me 2 hours 32 minutes going up and 3 hours coming down (due to a reoccurrence of a knee problem which first started while descending Mount Kinabalu, making every step down painful).
A number of websites have described Gunung Angsi as the dirtiest mountain in Malaysia but today it was pretty clean and litter from inconsiderate climbers had largely been collected up.
The path follows alongside a river for the first hour.
I underestimated this little mountain. It was one of the sweatier pieces of jungle that I have experienced and as usual I had a problem with my specs steaming up. Thankfully I had brought sufficient water because it could have been very dehydrating. The final hour of ascent was steep and in one place I had to pull myself up on the ropes which the park authority had fixed in place. Luckily I had my strong 19 year old son with me to give me a hand over the tricky bits.
We appeared to be the only hikers on the mountain today, it being a working and school day. I prefer it when somebody has been on the path earlier in the day to clear all the spiders’ webs which have been spun overnight. Needless to say I got coated in spider silk several times. My son found leeches sucking blood from his ankles before too long, despite him wearing thick socks and proper boots. That’s nature for you.
The view from the top was unspectacular but satisfying all the same. When my knee has recovered I shall take on another of Malaysia’s mini-mountains.