Monday, August 06, 2012

Gunung Rajah Trail Running

It was a great day for trail running-cum-trekking by venturing into tougher mountains on Saturday, 4 August 2012. The weather was pleasant and it was overcast the whole day. The chemistry of the group was superb as those present were either avid trail runners or trekkers that we know one another. With the excitement of arriving at the peak of Gunung Rajah (Bentong) and enjoying a cool dip in the cold, pristine water; however, the mood was marred by the much delayed return of a lone trekker of the group.

Do CLICK HERE to view photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong).

 The trail runners group ... (Back): Eric, David Spence, Raymond, ChooTS, Shine Teh, Jeff Ooi, Paul Lee; Front: Ching Soo Min, Simon Cross, Tony Quay, Kenny Kwan, Michelle Looi, Lai Kuan, Annie Lim, KC Leong.

Not in the photo: Simon Goh, Lee Ye Ching, Agnes Yew; and the trekkers group.
Passing by Orang Asli settlement ... Choo TS

Even without venturing into the mountain, the Chamang waterfall of Bentong with proper facility (which is just located next to the huge car park) is a pleasant place to enjoy nature and waterfall.

From car park to Hijau Campsite, the ascent is gradual and not too difficult; the toughness starts beyond Hijau Campsite. A few commented that the initial journey along the stretch of earth-based road is not too challenging.

The waterfall and pool near Naning Campsite is pleasant for enjoying a cool dip in the water amid the pristine water and white-washed huge rocks. An interesting observation: we were always running/walking on the left side of the river, even after crossing the big stream.
 At the end of the earth-based road; the orange sign is the entry point to Gunung Rajah.

Here is the timing (moderate pace from car park; 244 meters of elevation) for attempting the peak of Gunung Rajah:

1. Arriving at the end of earth-based road (start of jungle trail) – 45 minutes
2. Arriving at big stream crossing (the big rock) – 1 hour
3. Arriving at Naning Campsite – 30 minutes
4. Arriving at Hijau Campsite – 1 hour (1,039m)
5. Arriving at Big Rocks area (require rope for ascent) – 1 hour
6. Final ascent to the peak – 30 minutes (1,685m)

Total time: about 4 hr 45 min

 At the peak of Gunung Rajah (Bentong) ... the famous thumbs-up and chest-up pose ... :-)
(this photo courtesy of Michelle Looi)

 Lee Ye Ching and Agnes Yew enjoying a cool dip near to Naning campsite (about 2.5 hours from car park)
 Yours truly (KC) also spending time enjoying with the nature

Care for the environment ... David Spence descending the mountain carrying 11 plastic bottles discarded by inconsiderate people; the other bottles are in his backpack. He is the fastest guy to reach the peak.

 Pleasant place for picnic

 Chamang Waterfall of Bentong – this is just next to the car park.

 With facility for camping ... also next to the car park

How to go to Chamang Waterfall in Bentong town: After paying toll at Bentong along Karak Highway, exit at the second Bentong sign. Go straight for about 10km; passing by Bentong Town (many roads are in one-way direction); follow Chamang Waterfall sign.

The group waited patiently amid hunger and tiredness at the car park area for the return of a lone trekker in the group since 5:30 p.m.

7:30 p.m. ... David Spence (middle) decided to run into the jungle again to look for the lone trekker in slight drizzle and cool evening.

As informed by other trail runners, they met the lone trekker at 2:06 p.m. while descending the peak; the lone trekker was seen still ascending to the peak that required another 15 more minutes where the cut-off time was 2:00 p.m.

The lone trekker finally returned at 8:00 p.m. but he did not meet David Spence as David went by the usual short-cut way while the lone trekker overshot the short-cut.

As told by David Spence when we finally have our sumptuous and hearty dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Bentong town at 9:30 p.m.: he ran beyond the end of the earth-based road; while in the eerie pitch darkness of jungle only illuminated by his headlamp, he shouted at the top of his lung for about five times and there were no response; he decided to end the search and rescue operation.

Bravo to David Spence !!!

 Part of the group waited patiently from 5:30pm almost until 9pm

In a group trekking or trail running event, it is critical to adhere to the cut-off time to descend the mountain, wherever one’s location along the track.

The higher one ascent the mountain, the longer the time for descent.

It is interesting to know why a person must reach the peak defying the critical cut-off time and the considerate thought of his friends waiting patiently for him for non-return.

If we don’t make it this time, we can always regroup, better prepared and go again. The mountain will always be there long after we go.

Back at the restaurant in Benton town:
The lone trekker thanked David Spence for the effort in looking for him.

David said he need not thank him; instead, he should apologise to the whole group in showing concern for his safety and brotherhood by waiting for him.

This is the shocking response that I heard: the lone trekker asked, “WHY?” when responding to David’s request.

Trail map and elevation map charted from my Garmin FR 610 watch

Posted by KC Leong


Paul Lee said...

Nice post KC. It was a great day out, wasn't it? Did not know about the "WHY?" issue as I had to rush straight home after David came back from the "search" and did not go for dinner... Thanks for sharing

kuchalana said...

is it the same difficulty as Nuang?

Looking forward to run this trail.. :)..