KANGAR: Nineteen pupils from four schools in Perlis became the youngest group of Malaysians to conquer Mount Kinabalu yesterday.
Project co-ordinator Dr Suraya Sudin said the children, aged between eight and 12, and their seven adult chaperons reached the countrys highest peak by 6.45am.
They spent about half an hour at the summit 4,101m above sea level admiring the view and catching the sunrise.
Twelve-year-old Norazman Noraziz, from SK Sena, who reached the peak at 6.27am, was the first to arrive there, with the rest tagging along minutes later.
The children had arrived at the peak earlier than the targeted time of 8am, Dr Suraya told The Star in a cellphone interview, describing the young climbers as very energetic.
We did not encounter any major problems although a few (children) vomited and some suffered fatigue, because of the cold and overexcitement, she said.
Roslan Darus, the expeditions lead climber, said the climbers suffered normal side effects during the ascent, adding that they were assisted by a special guest climber, Amri Che Mat, who was part of the countrys 1997 Mount Everest expedition team.
The sole girl climber, Liyana Marissa Mohd Ghazali, eight, displayed tremendous fighting spirit and reached the top despite suffering from flu.
Liyanas schoolmate Mohd Aizudin Senapi, also eight, said: I vomited a few times due to the cold weather but my pals helped me on.
Dr Suraya said the group had achieved three goals being the youngest ever expedition team, planting the largest Perlis flag atop the countrys highest mountain and having the most expedition members from the countrys smallest state.
However, there was a minor setback when three-year-old Muhammad Akmar Sudin Mohd Ghazali, Dr Surayas youngest son, could not accompany the team to the summit because of the cold.
With a heavy heart, we had to leave him with some supporters at the midway point at the Panar Laban rest area, said Dr Suraya.
Upon planting the Perlis flag, which measured 30m by 15m, the children scaled down to the base camp, reaching their destination at 5pm and getting an all-round applause from those present.
The Parent-Teacher Association of SK Sena had sponsored 15 of the 19 young climbers, while parents and private donors here chipped in another RM51,000.
The children began their climb up Mount Kinabalu at 6am on Sunday.
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