23rd August 2017: The summit to OTC (Ong Weung Kee)
Being disappointment in my performance climbing Mt. Ong Siew Mei, I was ready to redeem myself at the climb up Mt. Ong Teng Cheong. This time, on the team, there were only Mao, Wenkie and I.
We headed off at an ungodly hour in the morning, to beat the recent erratic weather patterns. The morning winds were chilly and the sky was still dark. I looked up whenever trekking felt dulling and kept my mind focused on the summit. It was a distraction, throughout most of the climb, from my tiredness and it definitely motivated my pace. Today I looked to surmount some obstacles -be it environmental or physiological -and I wanted to make this trip a most fulfilling one.
A pause in our tracks suddenly left us abandoned by our friends ahead of us. We stood around Wenkie, calming her down and motivating her, and we carried on. We stopped every few minutes to catch our breaths and eventually took the steeper ascend to Mt. Ong Teng Cheong. Mao decided to film and look out for us from behind. He was the most energetic out the lot of us, always checking in on us and shouting anything motivational that came to his mind. I think he did a great job taking care of us first timers on this climb.
I have never climbed a mountain before and sure as hell not trekked up a slope as steep as this. It was daylight when we began the ascend and every few steps I took, I turned around to check on the others, finding the precarious drop of the slope behind us as well. It was one of the most frightening things I’ve ever done but I thought if we could stand on top of this snowy giant it would all be worth it. The climb up didn’t take as long as I expected and before we knew it, we found our friends ahead of us again, climbing down from the mountain’s peak.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay longer for the weather was getting chaotic again. Even though the summit looked so close, we had to turn around. If we stayed, we might have been caught in a very dangerous situation. When the three of us were on the way back down -reaching the campsite -snow started falling again but this time a lot heavier and faster. Within a few minutes, our visions were obscured by the sudden accumulation of snow. It was freezing, we couldn’t see and it hurt a bit to be hit by the snow. Edwin told us it was a blizzard but it was all cool. I don’t think we were in any real danger but it was scary as hell.
I was a little disappointed still that we didn’t get to stand on the summit together but I don’t think it would have been worth it in the end. I think it was for the best that we didn’t anyway. Today was a day that tested everybody’s limits and character. I could have been selfish to pursue a quicker pace, when I was fixated on reaching the summit, but I knew I would be even more disappointed in myself if I did. Perhaps I could have been more accommodating towards the others and not let my exhaustion make me colder to the team. I felt myself calling out to them less as we ascended but that was also be because I was not accustomed to this workout and altitude. I should train more.
The best part about the day was the whole team effort that shone through when things seemed bleak and impossible and when we were exhausted. Climbing the mountain and walking in the blizzard, we were afraid but still we trudged through the snow. Sticking with each other through times like this made this trip more memorable. So of course, we reached back to camp after a while, I mean we wouldn’t be here to write this journal if we didn’t. I probably wouldn’t want to walk in a storm like that another time but I would climb again definitely. This has been too eventful but I love it. We’ve got stories to tell.
One of our team summited OTC Peak!