On the 2nd April 2009, we decided to conquer Gunung Kutu. We had earlier scouted the entry point to Gunung Kutu during our trip to Chiling Waterfalls. After reaching the end of Kampung Pertak’s tarred road, we continued on a narrow one lane gravel road. About 5 – 10 minutes later, we found ourselves at a clearing. Driving further was no longer possible in our car, but a four wheel drive vehicle would be able to shave even more time off from their hike, as it would be able to continue quite a bit further. It was 0900H when we were ready to start off.
The first part of the trek consisted of a gravel road. It was broad and rather level, making for an easy trek. A close parallel would be the “neverending road” of Gunung Nuang. After approximately 10 minutes, we came across the 1st suspension bridge across the river. A clearing was present to the right of the bridge, and there were people camped out there. The gravel road meanwhile, led into the calf deep river, which could be forded in a four wheel drive vehicle as evidenced by the tyre tracks.
Continuing onwards, in just a few more minutes, we came across the 2nd suspension bridge. Just before this bridge, the road forks. Take the right fork cross the bridge. Here the bridge has almost collapsed, and lay precariously suspended across the river via just 1 rope, and was sagging to the side. Fortunately however, the river is also shallow and can be crossed easily even without the bridge.
After this section the four wheel drive trail kept split up several times. To compound matters, there were small foot trails branching off. We were rather lost indeed and this time we solely depended on my trusty HTC TyTN II with the GPS trail of the summit trail to find our way around. To make matters simple however, let me summarise.
- Always follow the four wheel drive trail. Do not take the smaller foot trails.
- When the four wheel drive trail splits up, always take the right fork.
- After several splits, the four wheel drive trail will come to an end. There, at the end of the four wheel drive trail there will be a small foot trail. That is the correct foot trail.
Before you make it to the end of the four wheel drive trail however, there will be a river without a bridge that you will have to cross. It is rather shallow too and the base of the river is flat and even, making it easy and safe to cross.
At approximately 1010H, we came across a rather unique tree. It had an extensive root system that elevated itself off the ground. In fact, the root system was so extensive the tree seemed to consist more of roots than tree trunks. You won’t miss it.
The trail here onwards was rather clear. We were also overtaken by an uncle who was a regular here. He left a paper trail for us to follow too, making it much simpler for us to follow. Close to 1100H, we came across a large tree trunk that has almost obliterated the trail, forcing us to squeeze underneath it.
Around that time too we came across the 1st of the large rock formations. Here, we took a short break and it was then that Pui Thye discovered that she had a leech in her shoe, and it had fed well indeed. Throwing it out of her shoe, we then proceeded to use a knife to slice the leech into two.
At 1120H we came across what would likely be the most well known marker on the trail; a gargantuan rock overhang that provided a large shady area. It was at least 3 – 4 storeys high!
We finally made it to the peak at 1249H, whereupon a large stone chimney was visible, possibly the remnants of an old fireplace…
The true peak however, was high atop a series of large boulders. Navigating your way up there is really not for the faint of heart. The 1st large boulder merely required you to pull yourself up the boulder, but crossing over from the 1st to the 2nd boulder was over a 3 foot wide ravine. You literally had to let yourself fall over the ravine, and grab the boulder on the other end. Thereafter you need to cross one leg over and use your hands to pull your body away from the 1st boulder to the 2nd boulder.
Thereafter, getting to the 3rd and highest boulder required more similar skills, and to top things off, this time, there were no trees to help you and you had to solely depend on your shoe grip on the rock and the grip of your hands on the surface of the boulder. This is akin to climbing up to Gunung Datuk’s viewing point without the help of ladders. Atop the largest boulder, there was merely space for about 5 people to huddle together. The boulder was large and round, and on 3 sides, there was nothing to stop you from a 100+ metre fall to the bottom – not for the faint of heart indeed.
The view atop the peak was amazing however, as due to the absence of any cover of sorts, it provided an amazing 360 degree view of the surroundings. The peak was approximately 1.1 kilometres ASL.
Descending from the peak was yet another challenge indeed if you use the same way to get up. However, one of team members did discover an alternative route, which though looked difficult, turned out to be easier then expected to get down.
From there on, we made our way along another smaller trail to the ruins of an old house. It is about 5 – 10 minutes walk in the opposite direction of the trail coming up the mountain. The mansion did have really tiny doorways though… Home to Snow White’s seven dwarves? XD
At 1440H we left the peak of Gunung Kutu for the base. On the way though, rain began to fall. It was the heaviest rain I had personally experienced in the rainforest. We were soaked to the skin, and despite trying to shelter under several large trees, there was little difference.
We later learned that the rain was so heavy that the 2009 Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Sepang F1 Circuit was even terminated early due to the horrendous rain. In the words of Jensen Button “It was not a river out there; it was more like a lake!” We finally made it back to the collapsed suspension bridge at 1700H where we cleaned up and horsed around a while before making our way back to Kuala Lumpur.