This is a selection of pictures from the recent Redfern expedition to Hose Mountain, in central Borneo, with an additional ascent of Trus Madi, the second highest peak after Kinabalu at 2,642 metres. Aware that Vincent posted many pictures from Trus Madi, I have tried to complement his picture set. I have kept the picture sizes small so as not to dis-advantage viewers with poor internet connections. If anyone wants an original, please ask.
This is a distant shot of the Trus Madi ridge, with the double peak to the right, the summit being on the far right. The notch between the two peaks holds a lovely mossy forest. After a lot of recent expenditure, the reserve has a new entrance gateway, accommodation block and boardwalk on the lower mountain reaches
Beyond the boardwalk it is a clear trail up, though there are a few roped sections and the odd bit of metalwork to assist.
There are some lovely mossy forest sections on the way up
already rich in orchids, though few were in flower at the time. After much ascent, and sort of being convinced that Nepenthes were entirely absent, I rounded a bend in the trail and suddenly came upon stands of N.lowii.
The habitat is worth showing as it does give a better appreciation of the conditions this species prefers.
The "trees" in the mossy forest are short (perhaps 4-6m) and the vines scramble through them in the more open sections. Pretty much everything that is fixed down is moss covered, and the branches can be "wrung out" if you squeeze the moss.
Pitchers hang at various heights and the path passes underneath some, whilst others rest on the mossy floor.
This species is "famous" for being a loo for shrews, and i am pretty sure this is what fills this pitcher
whilst Stewart pointed out a pitcher with an infaunal community of mosquito larvae which call lowii pitchers their "nursery".
This is, of course, cloud forest and moving higher and beyond the main lowii stands meant that visibility often dropped off
with James here ascending via ropes and ladders up a very cloudy face. From the first photo in this post you will recall the twin peaks, and this photo is taken from the first (with its new shiny observation tower), looking back along the ridges to the telecomms unit just along the ridge. The path passes alongside this.
This picture gives some idea of the steepness of the slopes but also, because of altitudinal opportunities, how narrow the high mossy forest areas are. Between the observation tower and summit, from which this photo was taken, is a fine mossy forest in the dip between the higher ground.
This is home to the population of Nepenthes macrophylla.
Obligatory omg shot, I am afraid!
I am allowed one/post!
If anything, this macrophylla forest was even mossier than the lowii one
Eventually, Team Hose reaches the summit of Trus Madi.
Marc, James, Stewart, me and Richard.
Of course, where you have 2 species, one can have hybrids, and my descent with our guide (I set off early as i am always much slower descending) resulted in seeing 3 of the 5 known (to our guide) Nepenthes x trusmadiensis plants.
Of particular note is the weaker peristome, with relatively poorly formed teeth (and these are much softer to the touch than the sharp macrophylla ones), and the noticeable waist to the pitcher. The last photo was from a plant scrambling through a tree canopy level with the path, so steep is the drop from the ridge.
to be completed another day.