EngLee's Path

A blog about Eng Lee's life, a freelance programmer in Royal Klang Town (Malaysia).

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Gunung Nuang - Second Attempt

Gunung Nuang, the highest peak in Selangor (1493m), has always been an unaccomplished task in my mind for years, after failed to conquered it few years ago. During the last attempt, we started quite late in the morning, and it was raining heavily throughout the climb. Moreover, Gunung Nuang is known for its 'evil red earth' section. When the red earth is wet, it becomes very slippery. My badminton shoes can't take it. Although we managed to get to the false peak, it remains as an uncompleted task in my mind.

This time was different. We have great weather, we started damn early although it was really an impromptu trip without much planning.

Woke up at 4:00am, gathered at 4:30am to have breakfast. Reach the place at 6:30am and begin our journey to the peak at 6:40am.

The direction to the place is quite straightforward. This guide by COREZONE is quite complete:

From Leisure Mall Cheras, drive towards the Kajang hwy. You will pass a TOLL. First exit after the toll will take you to Hulu Langat if you keep left. Go straight at the first traffic lights. You will get to a second traffic lights with a police station at the T-junction on your right. Take a left turn at the lights. Go straight a long this very very long kampong road. It will take you pass many small kampungs along the road, i.e. Kampung Batu 14, Batu 18, etc. (you will see exits for Ampang, Semenyih, Kajang, etc. but keep going straight). Sg. Hulu Langat is on your right side.

Towards the end of this long winding road you will arrive at the last kampong along the Hulu Langat river. You will see a big TNB pump station on your left with a football field in front of a bus stop. The road breaks into a V (there is also a bridge going across the river). Take the road LEFT of the football field.

Follow this road. You will see a very very old signboard describing G. Nuang. The road curves right and will take you to directly to a Puncak Niaga gate. Just before the gate, turn left and you will end up at the G.Nuang ranger station & parking lot. There are some chalets for rent. Est. time from Cheras, 45mins - 1hr.

The only thing that is wrong about the guide is that, the traffic light with the police station on the right is actually the third traffic light, not the second. Maybe the second traffic light is a new one. Secondly, the estimated time could be faster, if you are going to the place as early as 5:00am.

Back to our hiking trip. There are actually a few milestone to meet before we can reach the actual peak.

As provided in the guide, these are the expected timings:

1.5 hours - Logging Trail from parking lot (fast time, 1 hour)
30 mins - River crossings at campsites (fast time, 10 mins)
1-2 hours - Evil red earth section (fast time, 45 mins)
1 hour - Rocky section & tree root scramble (fast time, 30 mins)
40mins - From "false peak" to REAL PEAK (fast time, 20 mins)

We are at the acceptable range because we managed to reach the false peak at around 11:00am, although not the entire group. In our group, we also have some losers who did not made it at all, not even up to the second campsite (Kem Pacat).

Though we were enjoying our lunch on the peak as early as 12:00pm, we have very bad time after that. We have been reminding ourselves to U-Turn at 2:00pm no matter where we were.

As we have waited for more than 30 minutes on the peak and do not see any sign of our other friends coming up, we decided to head downwards so we could back home early.

However, after 30 minutes down, we see a friend still coming on the way up. We cheered him up and encouraged him to get on the peak, and we shall wait for him at the false peak. We didn't know this is the worse decision ever made.

We waited for more than an hour, even went to the peak again to search for him and we finally get him with us at the false peak at 2:30pm. He has both his thigh muscle cramped.

The journey down become extremely slow. I even had the chance to swim at the waterfall near Kem Lolo for more than an hour (the water was great!), while waiting for our friend.

Things went even worse when it started to rain after that, at around 6:30pm. The pace went even slower.

We finally reached the car park at 8:30pm. Our "loser" friends had been waited for us since 2:30pm. Imagine! We have spent 14 hours on the hill!

I must say it was a great experience. Few lessons learned:
  1. Always keep the team in group. If we were to move together with the weak or injured, they will be motivated to keep going.
  2. Don't bring the weak, Nuang is never for the faint-hearted.
  3. If you break things down to the smaller size, you find it much easier to conquer. We know we have how many sections and how many hours for each section. With that, you will definitely do it. Without breaking down into small pieces, it will be a never ending hike. (This could be applied to everything we do in our life)
  4. Always bring rain-coat (not umbrella) and torch lights (with new Energizer batteries).

Looking forward to go for hiking again. It's really not easy to spare time for these kind of activity at this stage of my career, but it really feels good.

Something I heard from foreigner group-mate (not in exact word) during this trip: "This trip is painful, very painful, but I like it. This is exactly what I wanted to feel."

I agree with him.