KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – It was just another climb for Madam Chee Moy Chun when she scaled Mount Kinabalu last Friday (March 3).
Little did she realize that her climb would be record-setting – the 82-year-old became Malaysia’s oldest woman to scale Malaysia’s highest peak at 4,095m.
Madam Chee, more fondly known as Chan Cheh (sister Chan) among her friends, was among an expedition of 21 people to climb the mountain and did not realise that it was a historic climb.
“I am surprised. I didn’t know that I am the country’s oldest Mount Kinabalu female climber,” she said, adding that she scaled mountains and hills all around the country at least once a week.
Speaking in Mandarin, she said this was probably why there were so many people greeting her during her climb, even taking pictures with her along the way.
According to Kinabalu Park manager Yassin Miki, Madam Chee is the oldest Malaysian woman to scale the mountain.
The oldest Malaysian man to climb the mountain is Mr Sabahan Buatin Blandong, also 82. He is two months older than Madam Chee.
The oldest foreigner to climb it was a 96-year-old Japanese in 2006. Madam Chee, from Ipoh, a mother of four and grandmother of eight, said: “The last time I scaled Mount Kinabalu was in 2014.”
She said this time, she climbed the mountain again on the persuasion of her trainer and avid mountaineer James Lee, who has scaled Mount Everest.
“This is my fifth time scaling Mount Kinabalu. I too wanted to see for myself what the new trail looks like after the quake,” Madam Chee said of the 2015 tragedy that killed 18 people.
She said at most parts the trail was good except for the Sayat-Sayat checkpoint area.
“It was steep and a bit slippery just before the summit.
“Luckily my guide Jahinin Waimi, Lee and the rest of my group were there to help me,” she added.
She reached the checkpoints earlier than scheduled and made it minutes before the 7am cut-off time to reach the summit, much to the awe of the other climbers.
Madam Chee is also a member of the Hash House Harriers (HHH), an international group of non-competitive running social clubs.
“I love to travel for hikes and mountain climbing and every time I go out, it would be with a large group of friends, sometimes up to 50 of us per trip,” she said.
Madam Chee said there was no secret to her keeping fit.
“There is no restriction on food and beverage intake except for making sure that I exercise on a regular basis.
“I have been running and doing hikes and climbs since I was 29,” she added.
Madam Chee and the group are members of Lions Club