Sunday, 20 December 2009

Not for the faint-hearted....

.... and only for the fit and sure-footed was our Awal Muharram caper.

A fitting start to the new Islamic year (which actually began at sunset on Thursday) was us being part of the congregation for Subuh prayers at the well-attended Surau Muwafaqah in Taman Melawati. "Us" were hubby, son Adeen, and princesses Munie and Syirah.

However instead of staying for the dawn Maal Hijrah talk, we prepped for the climb we were about to undertake. A climb up the formidable Bukit Tabur - yes, where two medical specialists had met their fate in March this year; may their souls be among the saliheen.

Read here about some of the reported accidents.

Bukit Tabur is actually a narrow ridge of about 16 km long comprising of a series of karst hills situated on the eastern edge of KL close to the KL-Karak Highway, and accessible through Taman Melawati. Averaging 200 feet high it is purported to be the longest quartz-rich ridge in the world.

View Bukit Tabur Western and Eastern Ridge in a larger map

 To view this Google Earth Picture in simulated 3D 
please Right-click and Select "Open Link in New Tab"

And, led by Adeen, climbed the eastern ridge we did, following a clear trail. By his estimates, we could climb up, take in the magnificent views and be down before noon in good time for Friday prayers.

Well, here are the pictures:


Passing by huge pipes channeling water from the Klang gates dam
before the start of the trail

Climbing, me with the MJ gloves and headlamp, hubby always behind

Negotiating jagged rocks - Adeen keeping an eye on mom

About 7.20 am - View of Taman Melawati from the first look-out

7.55 am At Peak No. 1 - Two more to go

Guess who?

A wonderous view of the catchment area

Mossy terrain

Getting down off the other side to get to Peak No 2

8.30am Arriving at Peak No 2 - marked by a yellow flag
after some more climbing

A view of  Peak No 1 from where we came
and the western ridge in the background

Peak No 3, the most challenging, looming ahead

This is just after a hard vertical climb using ropes, roots,
whilst keeping close to the rock face

Almost there.......

9.05am AAAAAHHHH!!!! The RED FLAG!

I get a HUG


a KISS!!!!

Adin and Munie at the other edge of the 3rd peak,
also Syirah below, seemingly unfazed by
the sheer drop to the bottom

The 4th peak - said to be unclimbable

 So those were the climbs up  to 3 peaks of Tabur Eastern Ridge. At the same time I was savouring the achievement, I was also dreading the climb downhill.The upwards climb was torturous enough, but getting back down was absolutely dangerous.

9.35 am we started the descend.

After carefully descending the tricky 3rd peak, the two young ladies went on ahead after a reminder from us to think safety all the way, while I had with me my two able-bodied young men to guide me, and to whom I'm ever so grateful.

We were literally scaling down, hugging the rock face, again relying on sturdy roots and tree trunks and branches whilst making sure of a firm footing everywhere we stepped before lowering the other leg. Where it was safe, I took to going down on my bum which seemed easier and less trying for me. As for the men, I guess it's not macho that style.

I took frequent sips of water to stay hydrated as I tend to sweat profusely (cold sweat included) and we all remained focussed - never chatting unnecessarily and not even taking photographs. At many places, a slip of the foot could mean an unforgiving fall.

We reached the start of the trail at 11.30 in a slight rain but feeling absolutely exhilarated and jubilant, glad that we had made quite good time despite my slowness.


We shouted their names thinking they had taken shelter somewhere and even drove out to the main road to look. But zilch. We inquired from some locals and children playing in the stream, also nothing. There was a "not available" respond from Syirah's phone whilst Munie had not brought hers.

Only God knew the anguish I felt, realising that they might have fallen somewhere. Adeen went back to search whilst I related what had happened to a young couple visiting their friend. They themselves are quite familiar with Tabur and assured me that they think the girls are OK.

About 10 minutes later, Adeen called to say that he had found the girls not far from the start of the trail. I was so relieved, apparently Syirah had indeed taken a fall, but was able to walk normally.

When they emerged at last, Syirah was in tears and Munie was animatedly recounting what had happened. Somehow Syirah had lost her focus for a split second and slid down the side of a slope about one metre. When she tried to get up the slope, she slid further but was fortunately stopped by a tree 3 metres down. By this time she was screaming for Munie, who talked her into calming down while she inched her way down to carry out a gallant rescue, by holding on to a tree with one hand and pulling up her sister with the other.

We must have passed them while all this was going on, because we certainly did not hear or see anything though I remembered at one point to recite Surah Insyirah after which she was named.

And after that heroic effort, Munie never stopped saying zikirs and reading Ayat Kursi in case some paranormal beings take them into their care and return them 5 days later. I never thought Munie would think that way.

 Here are the girls happy to be back in the safety of the car.
Syirah, still traumatised, managed to ejek the cameraman.

Back at home, showing off the forensics

People, some young people might be encouraged to attempt this climb after reading about a makcik (me) making it, but let me say this:

Tabur is a climb not to be undertaken for fun and frolic. It is a serious hill and there had been a number of reported accidents that had included fatalities. Although I was confident that my girls had the presence of mind to stay safe, but mishaps can and do happen, and in our case IT DID HAPPEN.

Before anyone does Tabur, I would recommend him/her to read this - Agnes Tan's Tip's on Successful Trekking up Tabur  and do take the tips seriously.

But there's no mistaking the magnificence of nature designed by the Almighty that one can see from atop Tabur and how indeed small we are in attempting to get there.

Take a look at these other blogs about Tabur East and some of the precarious spots:
Agnes Tan's Crystal Ridge Blog
Fabio's Blog

     Still, the men made it to the Friday prayers in time.

    As for Syirah, we think this is a good mental preparation for her when doing her National Service at Kem Sentosa near Lata Kinjang in Perak - especially for the physical aspects of the training when safety should not be taken lightly.

    And if you ask me, despite it being a great achievement and all, everytime I think about the descent my heart will race. And when hubby said, "Let's do the western side next week", I went "Oh no, not me, thank you. Once in a lifetime is more than enough!"

    Hardly a caper, wasn't it?



      Capt's Longhouse said...


      ,,,next time yr family were to drop by at Kapas, we will train you guys in abseiling b4 the rock climb across the Eastern side of the island O.K. ?

      ,,,Abseiling (German: abseilen, "to rope down"), rappelling in American English is the controlled descent down a rope; climbers use this technique when a cliff or slope is too steep and/or dangerous to descend without protection. Abseiling is used chiefly in British English
      ,,,Basic Equipment for yr knowledge;
      ..Ropes: Climbers often simply use their climbing ropes for rappelling. For many other applications, low-stretch rope (typically ~2% stretch when under the load of a typical bodyweight) called static rope is used to reduce bouncing and to allow easier ascending of the rope.
      ..Anchors for rappelling are sometimes made with trees or boulders, using webbing and cordellete, or also with rock climbing equipment, such as nuts, hexes and spring loaded camming devices. Some climbing areas have fixed anchors for rappelling.
      ..A descender or rappel device is a friction device or friction hitch that allows rope to be paid out in a controlled fashion, under load, with a minimal effort by the person controlling it. The speed at which the rappeller descends is controlled by applying greater or lesser force on the rope below the device or altering the angle at which the rope exits the device.
      ..Descenders can be task-designed or improvised from other equipment. Mechanical descenders include braking bars, the figure eight, the abseil rack, the "bobbin" (and its self-locking variant the "stop"), the gold tail, and the "sky genie" used by some window-washers and wildfire firefighters. Some improvised descenders include the Munter hitch, a carabiner wrap, the basic crossed-carabiner brake and the piton bar brake (sometimes called the carabiner and piton). There is an older, more uncomfortable, method of wrapping the rope around one's body for friction instead of using a descender, as in the Dulfersitz or Geneva methods used by climbers in the 1960s.

      Capt's Longhouse said...

      ..A climbing harness is often used around the waist to secure the descender. A comfortable climbing harness is important for descents that may take many hours.
      ..A prusik might be used as safety back-up.
      ..Helmets are worn to protect the head from bumps and falling rocks.
      ..A light source may be mounted on the helmet in order to keep the hands free in unlit areas.
      ..Gloves protect hands from the rope and from hits with the wall. They are mainly used by recreational abseilers, industrial access practitioners, adventure racers and military as opposed to climbers or mountaineers. In fact, they can increase the risk of accident by becoming caught in the descender in certain situations.
      ..Boots or other sturdy footwear with good grips.
      ..Knee-pads (and sometimes elbow-pads) are popular in some applications for the protection of joints during crawls or hits.

      Abseiling is used in a number of applications, including:

      .Climbing, for returning to the base of a climb or to a point where one can try a new route.
      .Recreational abseiling.
      Canyoning, where jumping waterfalls or cliffs may be too dangerous.
      .Caving and Speleology, where underground pitches are accessed using this method (Single Rope Technique).
      .Adventure racing, where events often include abseiling and other rope work.
      .Industrial/Commercial applications, where abseiling techniques are used to access parts of structures or buildings so as to perform maintenance, cleaning or construction, e.g. steeplejacking, window cleaning, etc.)
      .Access to wildfires.
      .Confined spaces access, such as investigating ballast tanks and other areas of ships.
      .Rescue applications, such as accessing injured people or accident sites (vehicle or aircraft) and extracting the casualty using abseiling techniques

      Hahaha,,,!! well done again to all of you guys BUT really need some professional coaching in the future too, don't just jump out of the car for yr next family outings, pls plan ahead with regards to the potential hazards and challenges. Adventure sports have its hazards too yaa !!.

      Its NO MORE a walk in the park-lah Yeop Oii !!.

      Tok Uban

      Zendra said...

      Yes Capt Sir, thanks a lot for the write-up.

      Wow, the ascent wasn't half as challenging as the descent - as well as physical agility, mental preparedness and cool MUST indeed be part of the climber's psyche.

      What's crazy is that Tabur has not been designated by any body or sport/recreational organisation as an adventure park - only a handful of Tabur lovers like Agnes Tan and her friends, and people of the locality are kind of maintaining the ropes and keeping the area clean.

      But I saw under a tourism site, a mention of this place especially for adventurers.

      I hope readers will take heed of your advice and also that in the blogs I listed before attempting this ridge.

      As to the WALK IN THE PARK, RA had said after our climb, "after this one, Kinabalu WILL be A WALK IN THE PARK", hahahha. Tak tau lah I yang sorang ni....

      mamasita said...

      rajinnya you go climbing here and there..all that stamina and guts!


      Paranormal? Tu yang another reason that scares me bila nak go adventuring masuk hutan, panjat bukit etc..

      Takdaya plus penakut equals stay at home! hehe

      Glad girlie u tak apa2!

      Pi ajak for brunch today..
      I takgi KL today sebab Thursday dah nak ready pergi ke engagement my boy.

      Dengar shes going to see Kak Teh at 3pm.If you are going too please kirim salam banyak2 kat dia ok.

      Zendra said...

      mamasita, sorry I was out most of today and couldn't respond. Waah Kak Teh in town kah? And Pi too? Macam ada big pow-wow jer hehe. But tak dapat lah nak kirim your salam nampaknya.

      All the best for the majlis pertunangan, hope everything berjalan lancar. Munie will be there Insya Allah.

      As for the climbing, well actually because ada teman yang sabar itulah yang datangkan daya upaya. Dulu nak cuba climb career ladder tak kemana sampainya hahaha!

      mamasita said... pun datanglah sekali k..Munie kiranya teman Azra's side and you and your CikAbang join rombongan kitaorang k..squeeze squeeze in..boss you boleh get acquainted with mine..yess?

      Zendra said...

      mamasita dear, we would love to be part of your rombongan if not for the fact that we have to be part of another on the very same day - jauh in KT pulak tu. Thank you so much for inviting anyway - would have brought my autograph book for Dato' to sign too ;)

      Uncle Lee said...

      Hi Zendra, Holy Smoke! I am impressed you did the climb. Wayyyyy to go, young lady!
      Gosh, I used to admire this Bukit when old days in KL, used to go near the foothills to trap birds, look for aquarium fishes at a stream there, but never thought of climbing that hill.

      Only hill I climb was Bukit Nanas, St, John's Hill in Malacca, ha ha.
      Not to mention the at least 3 dozen times up and down Batu Caves when I was a temp tourist guide after my Form 6.

      The view is really beautiful from up there.
      Holy Smoke! I never knew one can climb up there.
      Ahhhh, but now too late for me, might need the trauma unit, Red cross to standby by, ha ha.
      By the way, you did not plant a flag?Maybe a ha ha, Clover leaf (Alfa Romeo) flag....
      Outstanding! regards, Lee.

      Oldstock said...


      I stayed in Melawati for 3 years during my KL working stint. Never had the guts to climb that hill even though my next-door neighbour is a regular trekker up there.

      I salute you for your bravery in doing that climb. I'm glad that your girls made it okay. Syirah will be all the wiser and more confident now.

      Zendra said...

      Hello Lee, I used to think Bukit Tabur was unclimbable too, when viewing from afar. But I managed to only with the help and support of my coach/motivator, young guide, and the rah-rah-rah cheering team hhahahah.

      You used to trap animals there? I'm fascinated with your ninjalogy on animals too - birds lah, fish, iguanas, snakes - you must cerita one of these days.

      Have a good week ahead and Happy Holidays to you.

      Zendra said...

      Oldstock, got guts also not enough for that hill, must have focus too - very important.

      But 1 year ago the probability of my doing Tabur would be 0.0 with a confidence level of minus infinity hahahah - and pssst.... about the same could be said of my support team.

      Re Syirah, I hope the same for her too, thank you very much.

      As I told them, that hill's name is missing a "kab" in the middle - it is not for the ta-kab-bur hehe - and I pray I will never be that.

      Tommy Yewfigure said...

      Wah ZZ, r u trying to make me feel bad & guilty for being a slacker?

      Good on u & the family for your adventurous climb & very glad that your princesses r both fine, thank god for that. I had put behind all my extreme sports activities years ago, now fading into the sunset.

      Did u get ‘the hills are alive’ sort of feeling? Bet u did for a wargamas to achieve such a feat. Hey while we are on the subject of the hills r alive, I read Julie Andrews is doing a comeback concert in London in May 2010 at 74y.o. Hmmmm, I don’t mind going to that, better make plans now to surprise Ah Soh. Hehehe, I fell in love with JA since ‘The Sound of Music’ but I do prefer her in ‘Mary Poppins’. There u go, I had exposed my soft feminine side, ‘blushing’.

      Have a happy holidays & a great New Year ahead to all of u.


      Zendra said...

      G'day OLD SPORT hahaha you're not a slacker ....just getting on 'atsall.

      Some more want to catch up on Julie Andrews. Gosh I was still little when she became famous, no wonder she's 74? That song - "a spoonful of sugar" I think must have been responsible for a whole generation of diabetics we have now tch-tch-tch.

      No i did not get that "the hills are alive" feel - even though i should have due to all that quartz crystals rock. Maybe it put the old body clock run a bit more efficient and I felt "Gosh I am still alive!"

      PS Best time to be in UK is during the World Cup. Streets go wonderfully empty for a good few hours when England's playing. We had that situation in 2006 while on 2nd honeymoon hehe..

      Tommy Yewfigure said...

      Hehehe, that's the whole idea what; some lovey dovey sweetener for Ah Soh in May, then I can have the whole World Cup 2010 month for going AWOL with the 'gang'in our secret rendezvous; pure bliss!!! ;)

      Zendra said...

      Kakaka Tommy, I smelled the world cup rat when you wanted to surprise Ah Soh! If I were her, I'd ask for unlimited spending money and chauffeured limo. So you better not be naughty before world cup. :)

      Capt's Longhouse said...


      ,,,guess the safety first message is now embedded after the missing daughters experience yaa !! hahaha.
      ,,,tell you guys this unfortunate experience, a local city guy passed my Capts Longhouse late in the evening at 0430 p.m. so I advised him not to track across the island Eastern side since its getting pretty late BUT nevertheless he ignored it. Very early next morning at 0230 a.m, the other resort owner where he was staying came over to find out where this guy went since he never returned for his pre-order dinner or back to his room !. A group of us went across the island and we found his body !. Apparently he must have 'panic' as the sun went down, lost his way back, slipped across the rocky cliff and fell 100 m down b4 drowning in shark infested water.
      ,,,Well, the moral of the story is be fully prepared b4 you venture out into the unknown innocent adventure outings yaa ?? Perhaps later I might tell you guys about getting lost in the jungle..and what an experience by my own daughter !.

      The Fleece Master said...

      Dear Zendra

      the view is breathtaking. Cantik. Love this posting and the incident I guess will tighter your family ties =)). Be more careful in future Zendra.

      Zendra said...

      Capt: Gee you're right it was a heart-dropping 15 minutes! Looks like I better stick to pocho-pocho lah hahaha.

      Can't wait to read your about you and your daughter's (mis)adventures too.

      BTW, RA's interested having a day out on Kapas on Xmas day if the weather is good hehe ;) Betul ke got sharks Capt?

      Zendra said...

      Yo Fleece Master, it was truly a bonding experience. Though we kept reminding each other about safety and focus, a split-second lapse was all it took. We can never be too careful and thank you for the reminder. And you take care too - still snow-bound?

      Anonymous said...

      Bravo kak zen! U very gutsy!! Me... no thanks. Gayat!

      Saya... said...

      what a fabulous view!

      Wanted to go up there but was advised against it by a seasoned trekker...waaa respect la lu!

      It's a hard trail...thank God your girls ok...even seasoned climbers do die there girl!

      Saya sorry lah..tumpang tgk jer la...fab picture...

      Saya... said...

      aiyo..looking again at your climb are NUTS..hahaha...kalau i kena naik chopper Capt lah

      Zendra said...

      Hey Ladymarko, tq. Only did it bcos had very good support team. Am not gayat person usually, but many think I'm not quite rational doing it hehe

      Zendra said...

      Saya, hahaha RA says he's offended cos u assume he's nuts too. It's part of his training regime for us for kinabalu lah. Nak ikut tak? Good place to take the new DLSR for some sunrise shots ;)

      Alhamdulillah the girls are OK - just a bit shaken.

      Saya... said...

      ya you guys are crazy...hahaha...i think kinabalu pun tak as dangerous as Tabur!

      no dslr yet..but my bank account is open for donations...kih kih..( aiyo i better remove the "pompuan gilerrr" komen kat mamasita abt your daredevil climb...cepaaattttt!