Mount Benum G10

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Our long hour hiking experience

This is our first long hour hiking experience that I would like to share.  Thanks to all the hiking members for an unforgettable experience, hiking team consist of Alb, Alan, Cal, Cat, Dan, Emi, Joe, Ray, TY, Vince, WK and ZY.  Guide Mimo (lead), Fathin (sweeper) and Cook.  I’m using just the initials for confidentiality purpose.

Original planned itinerary as following:

Day1
11.00am - Meet at designated area in Raub
12.30pm - Travel to Lata Berembum using 4WD
01.30pm - Expected arrival at Lata Berembun
Setup campsite, water play and free and easy activity.

Day2
04.30am - Breakfast
05.00am - Daypack hike
09.00am (4h) - Checkpoint at Camp Tikus
11.00am (2h) - Checkpoint at Camp Periuk
01.00pm (2h) - Arrival at peak Gunung Benum
03.00pm (2h) - Arrival at Camp Periuk
06.00pm (3h) - Arrival at Camp Tikus
08.00pm (2h) - Arrival at base camp
Planned round-trip is between 15 to 20 hours.
* snacks/water will be made available at each camp. Open tent will be made available for rest and power nap

Day3
09.00am - Breakfast
Water play and free and easy activity
02.00pm - Departure using 4WD
03.00pm - Arrival at car park and freshen up
04.00pm - Own arrangement back

Day1 – Travel to camp site, free and easy

Our 1st day was excellent, we were very excited and our car pool driver suggested to be ready to depart around 6am.  I was the first to arrive at his apartment at 5.40am, then we headed to pickup the rest of the carpoolers.  Hurray!!!, everyone is onboard and we head towards Bentong for breakfast at 6.15am.  Dan (the driver) drives really slowly, yet we still were the 1st to reach Bentong town at 7.45am, settled for Yuen Kee cafe.  Everyone ordered the infamous wan tan mee, and we are done with breakfast at 8.30am.  But we have lots of time as we will only be departing to Raub which is an hour away at 10am.  So, we did a Bentong tour on feet while waiting for the rest to reach Bentong.  When every car arrived at Bentong and had breakfast, we made our way towards Raub.

4WD ride from Raub to Lata Berembun camp site

We load our bags, camps, etc into the 4WD and ready for the rough ride.  The actual ride is rougher than any of us would have expected.  We arrived at camp site and everyone settled down and setup our own tents.  Then we proceed to have lunch and follow by free and easy day.  1st day was as expected to be a relaxing day with water play and laze around the camp site.

 

The small fried fishes are fresh from the stream where our guide uses bombing technique to catch them.  He first throw in some left over rice, then when the fish gets near to the rice, he will light up a large fire-cracker and throw toward the fishes.  After the explosion, the fish will be stunt and floats upwards to the surface where he will then collect them.

Day2 – Daypack to Mount Benum

We woke up at around 4am to get ready for the 5am hike.  Everyone got ready for the exciting day hike.  We had meehoon soup as breakfast, then we get around the camp area for a final short briefing on the logistics.

Then we starts our journey, just about 15 minutes into the hike; we came to a large fallen tree.  At first I didn’t know that we are suppose to balance our self on the tree trunk and crosses the river.  As I was the person behind our guide, I followed closely to him.  I saw him going onto the tree trunk and started walking on it.  I have no choice but to follow suite, but it was truly a frightening experience as the trunk is about 20 meters long.  To add to the difficulty, we are carrying around 8-10kg of water and food supply.  Also, there are some other obstacles in the middle of the journey.

The tree trunk is at around 10 feet above the river, we could only hear the river splashing sound while crossing and we dare not torch our headlamp downwards to the water.

Reached 1st check point, Camp Tikus or Dingin.

After a gruesome 5 hours + hike, we reached to our first check point.

This photo shows how difficult the 1st journey, and she is asleep after decided to turn back to base camp with Mr Ray and Fathin guide.

2nd part of the journey towards 2nd check point, Camp Periuk.

We were informed that the hike from CP1 to CP2 will be slightly easier than the 1st part of the hike towards Camp Tikus.  It would be a dragon back hike with a total of 22 humps, with 8 large, and 14 small ones.  Expected ETA for this journey is 2-3 hours.  We started at around 11am, heading towards 2nd CP.  During the hike, Mimo throw a bomb.  We asked him why was that for, and he told that there was a Maybank.  LOL, we only found out that he meant tiger.  As there was a strong tiger pee smell on the leaves along the trail that we are using.  Mimo reminded us not to run but just stares at it, if we really encounter a Maybank.

We keep hiking and reached a point where there is a steep cliff about 10 meters.  At that point, I was with the power 4 (Alan, Alb, Dan and ZY).  But I told them to carry on while I will wait for the rest to reach that point.  When 2nd team came, everyone proceeded to descend the steep cliff.

The dragon back is more difficult than we would have expected as we are still going on around 1km/h speed.  When we reach the 6th dragon peaks, we begin to wonder if the Camp Periuk really existed or if we would have passed it as we are well into the 10th hour of hike.  At this point, I have asked for a final decision to be made as to who would continue and would turn back.  We got a final decision where whole of 2nd team will turn back as Emi is totally exhausted and it would be dangerous for us to continue towards the peak where it will still have another 2-3 hours from 2nd CP (Camp Periuk) which we didn’t reach yet.

Our team 1 Power 4 did reach camp Periuk, below is the picture:

Emi was so happy, and she speed downwards while all of us had a tough time chasing her (TY and myself included).  But after about 45 minutes, we see that Emi turbo boost has diminished.  And keep stalling after every 20-30 minutes hike until a point where she had a cramp.  Luckily, we have WK who helped with the deep heat.

We met our guide Mimo on the way towards camp Tikus.  He told us that camp Periuk is just 50 meters away.  We found out that it was a white lie that he used to encourage us to move.  We reached Camp Tikus at around 7pm and had our packed dinner like a hungry ghost.

Returning to base camp from camp Tikus

It was really breezy and cold at camp Tikus (around 1700M).  Mimo started to collect wood and made a camp fire for us to get some heat.  Also he has to endure the coldness at this camp and wait for 1st team to return.  Team 2, continue our descend at around 8pm.  Mimo waited about 4 hours till the 1st team arrives at this camp.

Team 2 started descend at 8pm without a guide, and we have 4 in-front (Cal, TY, Vince, Joe), while tailing behind is Emi and WK.  So, the front guys where mostly looking for the trail markers.  And luckily, I have also has the realtime trails recorded on my handphone using endomondo.  As we backtrack, I will know if we were following the correct route or not.

Lead of team 2 finally reached the river where there is 2 options to cross, 1 using the tree trunk or river crossing.  Only Cal crossed using the tree log.  While TY, Vince, and Joe crossed the river as our tired shaky legs would have a tough time using the tree trunk.

Team 2 lead finally reach base camp site at 2am, and we waited and only saw WK and Emi reach after 30 minutes later as there were lost during the way back.

Then team 1 finally arrives at 3.30am, after a gruesome 22.5 hours hike.  Although none of us did reach the peak of Mount Benum, we were glad that no injury happened.

Below is a show video clip of the adventure, thanks to Alan for making it.

 

Below are some learning from this trip, in order for us to be more prepared the next round.

Learning

Considering the circumstances (night fall, lack of walkie, group split up, different hike pace, maybank) and if to follow protocol, we should do the following:

a) Albert’s group should stay put at Periuk before proceeding to summit. Remember our briefing that Camp Tikus and Periuk as checkpoint to gather. If upon waiting no one appear, either send someone down to check or whole group go back.

b) Emilie’s group to still proceed to Periuk to rendezvous with Albert’s group and make group decision. If cannot proceed, send someone up to Periuk to notify.

c) If Emilie’s group to head back to Tikus without notification to Albert’s group then need to stay put for Albert’s group to arrive at Tikus. To be safe and sound, one group is better than split group. Note we were split to 3 groups (Albert, Mimo alone – kesian him and Emilie).

Above, is just based on my vague memory.  Only capturing after almost a week after the event.