Care to climb a top ten highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia at relative ease?
|No||Top Ten Highest Mountains||Feet||Meters||Location||State|
|1||Gunung Tahan||7,185||2,190||Tahan Range||Pahang|
|2||Gunung Korbu||7,162||2,183||Ulu Kinta||Perak|
|3||Gunung Yong Belar||7,156||2,181||Titiwangsa Range||Pahang|
|4||Gunung Gayong||7,129||2,173||Ulu Kinta||Perak|
|5||Gunung Chamah||7,122||2,171||Gua Musang||Kelantan|
|6||Gunung Yong Yap||7,113||2,168||Ulu Kelantan||Kelantan|
|7||Gunung Ulu Sepat||7,089||2,161||Temenggor||Kelantan|
|8||Gunung Batu Putih||6,993||2,131||Kg. Woh, Tapah||Perak|
|9||Gunung Irau||6,923||2,110||Brinchang, CH||Pahang|
Gunung Irau is undisputedly the most accessible and the easiest to climb amongst all of Peninsular Malaysia’s top ten highest mountains. It is the ninth highest standing at a height of 6,923 feet or 2,110 meters, a mere 262 feet or 80 meters lower than Gunung Tahan, the highest of them all. But in comparison to Gunung Tahan, climbing Gunung Irau is a walk in the park due to two reasons.
Firstly, the track starts at the Gunung Brinchang trunk road which is the highest paved road in Peninsular Malaysia. This means that you do not start at sea level or in the lowlands but at a relative high altitude of about 6,000 feet.
Secondly, a return trip from the starting point to the peak can be done comfortably within 7 hours which means that there is no need for heavy overnight packs. Comparatively, all of the other ten highest mountains require trekking over longer distances, climbing much higher elevation and involve overnight camping unless you are a physical extreme junkie where in one case, I know a lady who managed Gunung Korbu in an 18 hours return trip marathon instead of a 4 days normal trek.
My first attempt at Gunung Irau was in August 15. Mei & I left K.L. 3.30 in the morning to meet up with our friends who had put up the night at the Kwan Tee Temple in Kg Raja.
Earlier stories of hearing a lady sobbing into the night at the temple, prompted us to forgo our sleep and took the wee hours drive instead. We managed to reach on time at 6.30 am for the rendezvous. There were a total of nineteen of us. Break fast came next and promptly at 7.30 am we started driving to the starting point of the track. Unfortunately, our leader’s GPS took us to Brinchang town instead. We were delayed for about 30 minutes when Ee who has been to Irau before, took over the lead and directed us to the correct road and we were soon going past the Pallas tea plantation heading towards Gunung Brinchang.
We could hear a light air craft hovering above us and the next thing we knew, we were bombarded with white coloured pallets. For a moment we were stunned. It felt like we were attacked by a WWII Zero. The white pellets fell from the sky like rain hitting our car, the road and the surrounding tea plants. Then we realised that the pellets were fertiliser which is been sowed by the plane. What an interesting start to the trip?
We continued our drive up the mountain until we come across a concreted resting hut with a wooden staircase at the side. This is the starting point for Gunung Irau. We promptly parked our cars but with the new digital photographing culture, we lost another good 30 minutes as everyone wanted get their pictures taken.
We finally started 9.45 am. Being a big group, there was a queue at the starting point. Mei & I pushed ahead as we did not want to be stuck with the stragglers. The starting point is a series of wooden stair case leading to a wooden broad-walk which ran about 200 meters.
It was very scenic and we could see the mountain ranges though the trees. At the end of the boardwalk, we started descending. This intrigued me as I thought we were supposed to be climbing.
The descend took a good 30 minutes before we started climbing again. The terrain consist purely of roots and mud. It was a lot scrambling using all fours. The climb was longer than the descend and just when we thought it was never ending, we reached a summit just before noon. It was a beautiful spacious summit. We were pre-warned that it was a false summit so we knew we still have some ground to cover. Janice & Justin caught up with us 5 minutes later.
After a short rest, the four of us set out for the Irau summit together.
Again we have to descend and as it was already past noon, we hurried as the turn back time was 2.00 pm. After 20 minutes, we started the climb again. It was a good 30 minutes to finally reach the summit at about 1.00 pm. Yes, we reached the ninth highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia.
We managed to rest a good 20 minutes before the second group arrived. All in nine of us made it to the summit. The rest were either too busy taking pictures of the scenic track or they were stopped at the false summit by Mr. Liau, our organizer who insisted a turn back time of 2.00 pm at the summit or 1.30 pm at the false summit. This was to ensure that everyone has enough time to get out before night fall.
I was pleasantly surprised that the track wasn’t too tough but it was very interesting especially the mossy forest which we have to trek through. The terrain was very challenging and muddy. It involved a lot of scrambling and climbing over trees and roots.
We left the summit at 1.45 pm and backtracked the same way back. Normally, the return trip is faster for the other mountains as it would be mainly descent but the Gunung Irau trek is shaped like a “W” where we have to descend and then climb to the false peak before descending again and climb the final stretch to reach the starting point. We couldn’t really improved on our returning time. As a matter of fact, I was tired out at the final ascent stretch and was relatively slower. Nevertheless, we made it out before 5.00 pm and it was a truly great trek. It was most enjoyable!