Endowed with the sky tapering summit nestled at a staggering height of 4,095 meters (13,435 ft) which, more often than not, hides behind the thick veil of mist, thriving wildlife surmounting all over its body & nice, cool weather to accompany; Mount Kinabalu, located on the island of Borneo is just a perfect getaway to escape the monotonous routine life!
Mount Kinabalu is one of the most prominent mountain range in the Southeast Asia & is situated in the East Malaysian state of Sabah. Kinabalu is considered as the highest mountain in the ‘Malay Archipelago’ & is the highest peak in Borneo’s ‘Crocker Mountain’ range. The mountain is surrounded by the fantastic ‘Kinabalu National Park’, which was declared by UNESCO as the ‘World Heritage Site’ in 2000 for its incredible biodiversity!
Mount Kinabalu is a very popular trekking spot & it draws innumerable hordes of enthusiastic mountain climbers from all over the world. Climbing this majestic mountain is not as challenging, although, it needs two days of strenuous hard work to achieve the feat! The path leading to its sky-touching peak, known as ‘Low’s Peak’, goes through the rich tropical foliage & it does not require any significant mountaineering experience to trace this generous trail!
The Expedition to the Top:
Buying an expensive permit for climbing the mountain is the first mandatory step without which the dream of scaling this picturesque mountain wouldn’t come true! It is also important to make some arrangement for the accommodation as one night halt is inevitable before reaching atop the mountain. Various packages are available as per the different trekking routes, accommodation facilities & the number of days you want to stay. Ideally, 2days & a night is more than enough to scale the mountain unless you are planning to spend an extra day to explore the wildlife in the surrounding National Park!
The journey to the pinnacle begins from the ‘Timpohon Gate’ (1800 m) & leads towards the first major halt at the ‘Laban Rata Hut’ (3273 m) after tracing nearly 6 km of the path out of the total 8 km trail. An overnight stay at one of the lavish guest houses culminates the first chapter of the climb. Although the path till this spot is pretty straightforward, it still tests your high altitude endurance. There are around six huts on the first stretch which gives you opportunities to catch your breath. Estimated time require for this patch is around four to five hours.
The next chapter begins at wee hours in order to catch the mesmerizing scene of the rising sun, which is best seen from the summit. The last couple of km long phase of the trail requires 2 to 3 hours to make it to the top. The path goes through the steep wooden steps followed by steep granite rocks provided with the guide ropes. The final ascent on the barren granite rock is less steep & it takes you to the top of the summit just in time before breaking the dawn. Watching the rising sun from behind the Crocker Mountains is an experience beyond explanation!
Heading back to ‘Laban Rata’ for the breakfast after experiencing one of the great moments in the life is not as daunting task as that of ascending the final stretch. Reaching to the park headquarters by the mid-afternoon is quite possible. Climbing Mt. Kinabalu is within the reach of anyone with a reasonable physical fitness level & the willpower to endure the exhaustion. For the people who are not so keen to scale the mountain due to a reason or two, can also enjoy wandering through the trails in the National Park to explore the nature’s treasury & to locate the amazing wild creatures like Leopard Cat, the Black Shrew & one of the four great apes- the gorgeous Orangutan!
Climbing this great mountain is simply an incredible experience, something that you will cherish throughout your life! NO doubt why they say, ‘Climbing Mount Kinabalu: A Trekker’s Delight’!
- Make sure that your climbing permit is secured before booking your air tickets.
- Beware of fraudulent booking websites & make your reservation either through the official website or the licensed tour operators.
- Don’t try to book a return flight on the same day of descend as you are most likely to miss it.
- Be dressed appropriately to face the near-freezing temperature on the summit.