Sabah quake: Tributes for guide who gave his all for climbers

Sabah quake: Tributes for guide who gave his all for climbers
Robbi Sa­­pinggi.

KUNDASANG - Tributes poured in from around the world in social network sites as soon as word of Mount Kinabalu guide Robbi Sa­­pinggi's death got around.

Resort worker Azmi Murshidi knows why. After being struck by rocks on the mountain while fleeing an avalanche during an earthquake on Friday, Robbi shouted to the climbers under his charge to keep running.

Azmi, who fled from the Laban Rata resthouse where he worked, said although Robbi was injured, he insisted on taking off his jacket and giving it to a female climber who was feeling cold.

Robbi was part of the more than 200 climbers and guides stuck for about 12 hours at the summit plateau, as the trail down the mountain remained blocked by rocks and boulders.

He died during the wait for help. His body was the first to be brought down the mountain by his fellow guides on Friday.

Robbi's selflessness was not a surprise to his friends such as Azmi who sees the same trait in most of the guides at Mount Kinabalu.

"They know they have to look after the climbers under their care and they take this responsibility seriously and to heart," said Azmi.

He said he saw the same qualities in Robbi's father and two brothers who are also mountain guides. The family is from Kampung Kiau at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu.

Azmi said it was such attributes that prompted the guides to find a way around the blocked trail and enable the stranded climbers to trek down the mountain.

Mount Kinabalu guides' safety chief Christopher Peter Ebi, who was also stranded on the mountain, said the group decided to find a way down as there was no sign of help coming to them for several hours.

"The climbers were cold and hungry and we had to find a way to help them down the mountain," he said.

Other guides who were not working realised that there were more than 200 climbers and their colleagues stuck on the mountain, decided on their own to trek up and help them.

By Friday evening, the guides were escorting the tired and weary climbers to the Timpohon gate at the base of the mountain.

Others took on the grim task of carrying the bodies of Robbi and that of climber Singaporean student Peony Wee Ying Ping, 12.

On Saturday, the guides again trekked up the mountain to help find the missing climbers.

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