Mount Kinabalu: The Big Fart

It’s so hard to pen down my thoughts about the climb up Mt KK. I thought I should start with something NO ONE told us to expect!

When we reached the resthouse at Laban Rata (that’s 3,270m above sea level), some of us were recovering from Altitude Sickness. We had cases of headache, giddiness, difficulty in breathing, and even chest pains. These were very real, and we knew that we just had to rest and allow the body to slowly acclimatise.

However, what surprised us was something not as serious, but definitely embarrassing and uncomfortable. About 1-2 hours after arrive at Laban Rata, one of us commented that he had a lot of gas. Another one agreed and we realised we were all passing gas quite a bit since we arrived at the rest house.

In fact, on hindsight, during the climb, we were actually farting in each other’s face throughout! Thank God it was just pure gas with no smell! (Well at least in our group, there was no foul smell!)

One of us did a quick google and found out that this is normal! High-Altitude Flatus Expulsion (HAFE) is a gastrointestinal syndrome which involves the spontaneous passage of increased quantities of rectal gases at high altitudes! Wahahaha!! Apparently, the difference in pressure between the gas within the body and the atmosphere outside causes a great urge to expel gas to relieve the pressure. Check more about HAFE here!

Any tips on how to prevent HAFE? Well, thank God for WIFI, we found out there’s no way to prevent HAFE. But you can take measures to lessen the quantity of rectal gas in your body! That is, avoid certain dairy products which contain sugar lactose, baked beans, vegetables like onions, cabbages, broccoli, legumes, fatty foods and carbonated drinks.

This is beautiful group shot of us up above the clouds was HAFE free. We took it just before descent… so we had sufficient time to acclimatise and expel all excess gas! Gorgeous right?


Laban Rata Group Shot



This is a part of the series of posts on Adventures up Mount Kinabalu.

Adventures up Mt KK

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