M’sian deejay climbs Mount Kinabalu in Iron Man costume to raise awareness of DMD
Sabahan deejay, emcee and cosplayer Yohan Charles Jayasuriya, 41, is a big fan of the Marvel superhero Iron Man. And recently, he demonstrated his own human power by climbing Mount Kinabalu wearing an Iron Man cosplay costume.
Jayasuriya was one of 13 climbers who signed up for the 10th annual Coalition Duchenne Mt Kinabalu Expedition on July 24. The climb of Southeast Asia’s tallest mountain was aimed at raising awareness and funding for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a muscle-wasting disease.
“This is my second attempt to climb Mount Kinabalu in an Iron Man suit. My first attempt was in 2020 when I wanted to raise funds for Mount Kinabalu Mountain Guides who lost their source of income during the pandemic. Unfortunately, I was unable to reach the peak then due to bad weather,” Jayasuriya said in a phone interview from Kota Kinabalu recently.
Coalition Duchenne was founded by Jayasuriya’s aunt, the Sabahan-born Californian filmmaker, Catherine Jayasuriya. Catherine’s son Dusty Brandom, 29, was diagnosed with the disease in the 1990s.
“I was thrilled to climb Mount Kinabalu in the costume again. This time it was more meaningful because I did it for my cousin,” said Jayasuriya, who wore the costume throughout. along its ascent and descent.
It took him about four hours to reach the halfway point, Laban Rata, and another three hours to reach the summit the next morning. He admits it was difficult to climb the mountain in the foam suit, which weighs around 3kg.
“I couldn’t move much in my full armored suit and it was hard to walk on slippery surfaces. The hardest part was walking up the trail to Low’s Peak in the dark. For extra brightness I used a light I also leaned on the battery-powered Arc Reactor (the glowing orb on Iron Man’s chest) built into my suit,” Jayasuriya said.
To stay warm, he wore compression garments under his suit. He also used his sturdy hiking shoes instead of his usual cosplay shoes for a more comfortable (and safer) climb.
He skillfully removed parts of the removable foam from his original cosplay shoes and glued them onto his hiking boots.
“It wasn’t difficult at all. I removed parts of the foam from my shoes and glued them to my hiking boots with glue,” said Jayasuriya, who has climbed Mount Kinabalu 12 times. .
To prepare for each climb, he walks along Bukit Padang in Kota Kinabalu, jogs and works on strength exercises.
Next year, he plans to reach Everest Base Camp to raise awareness about DMD. He plans to accomplish his feat in his Iron Man suit, of course.
“I’m still recovering from my recent ascent of Mount Kinabalu (laughs) so I’m resting well before continuing my training for my next challenge,” said 10-year-old Maverick Jayasuriya’s father.
Jayasuriya has many cosplay outfits in his collection, including Spiderman, Transformers, and Power Rangers, but he loves the Iron Man costume the most.
“The character of Tony Stark, known as Iron Man, reflects me in many ways. I’m overconfident sometimes. But the good thing is that I always do the job,” said Jayasuriya, who plans to submit his feat of climbing Mount Kinabalu. in her cosplay costume at the Malaysia Book of Records.