Stories Of Service And Sacrifice: 12 Photos Of Local Mountain Guides Going All The Way

In the aftermath of the quake that shook Mt Kinabalu, these local heroes came to the rescue, assisting the stranded and weakened climbers back to safety amidst the damaged trail and in the darkness.

Cover image via Amazing Borneo and Sabah Parks

In this photograph dated 5 June 2015, a mountain guide is seen helping his colleague with his gear as their group prepares to climb Mt Kinabalu to rescue those trapped there from the earthquake

Image via The Star Online

The death toll from Friday's quake has reached 11 so far, with local mountain guides, who spend their days either bringing people or cargo up the mountain, being instrumental in bringing back the injured, the weak and the deceased through chaotic conditions

Mountain guides carrying an injured climber to safety after the quake trapped over 200 climbers there.

Image via Gerai OA

Seen here is an amazing photo of guide Rizuan bringing down an injured climber, on his back, through treacherous terrain last night

He has been hailed as an unsung hero by people on social media.

Image via Sabah Parks

The photo of mountain guide Rizuan Kauhinin, posted on Sabah Park’s Facebook page, has garnered over 9,000 Likes and 890 shares after three hours.

Rizuan Kauhinin was later also photographed as one of six people carrying a stretcher with a Singaporean boy who had sustained a shoulder injury.

Robbi Sapinggi, a 30-year-old mountain guide from Kampung Kiau, succumbed to head injuries in the aftermath of the earthquake

Image via Amazing Borneo

Robbi was hit by falling rocks at Mt Kinabalu when he was accompanying one of the Amazing Borneo climber. Despite being injured, Robbi's only thought was for the welfare of his guest, urging him to continue ahead to climb down the mountain to safety. He bravely chose to remain alone and wait for help rather than to put the guest's life at further risk.

Unfortunately, Robbi was unable to make it down the mountain in time to receive proper medical attention and he died due to loss of blood, Amazing Borneo posted on its Facebook page.

An ealier photo of Robbi.

Image via Sheau Fong Wong

Sabahan Mia Meara said on Facebook that the mountain guides went above and beyond their duties. "It’s not an easy task and sometimes a thankless job: we salute and appreciate all your efforts as some of you are currently still ascending/descending the mountain."

"These are the real heroes, our mountain guides. They bring down the injured on their backs. Sophisticated helicopters that cost millions are rendered useless in these conditions," said Facebook user Banie Lasimbang.

Robbi has been a dedicated member of the Mt Kinabalu team for the past two years and always brought good experiences to climbers. As a tribute to this unsung hero, who gave up his life while trying to save someone else's, Coalition Duchenne uploaded a video on its YouTube channel, remembering Robbi's compassion:

As the earth beneath Mt Kinabalu shook yesterday, a group of 30 mountain guides geared up to execute a rescue mission of stranded climbers up there. Most of them are locals, mainly Dusuns of Ranau.

Image via My Kundasang
Image via My Kundasang
Image via My Kundasang

And they came back with injured climbers

Image via My Kundasang

The mountain guides are risking their lives in order to continue the rescue mission. This is one of the trails they have to go through.

Image via My Kundasang

While these mountain guides have climbed Mt Kinabalu countless times before, it's still a risky mission. However, these local mountain guides have been trained to deal with the mountain terrains.

Image via My Kundasang

One local mountain guide is seen comforting an injured climber

Image via My Kundasang

Shaken and in a state of shock, a mountain guide, who had just led his group down to the safety of Timpohon Gate, one of the two main starting points for any climb to the peak, shared his story:

"I heard a woman screaming for help, I could not do anything. The earth was shaking. I had to get my group down fast because rocks were rolling down everywhere.

Boulders, some as big as a car, were crashing down along with rocks. We ran down. I really don’t know what happened to the woman. She might be buried under rocks."

Veteran guide Freddie Akau, who returned to the base at about 11pm last night with a Korean couple, was responsible for guiding them up the mountain and was only worried about their safety

“I wasn’t really afraid for myself because I’m used to conditions up there. But our concern was making sure the climbers were safe and did not freak out.

We were told that rescue helicopters would come to get us but people were getting angry and frustrated the longer we were up there. There are now cracks and fallen rocks along the trail, making most of it too dangerous to use, so we have to find alternative routes back down before darkness fell,” he said.

Being a mountain guide is at times a thankless job, one which puts the lives of these guides at a greater risk. We at SAYS take this opportunity to salute all these unsung heroes of Friday's quake.

As mountain guides are going beyond their duties, here's what's being done by the locals and authorities to honour their service: