For this mountain climbing expedition, I have taken the package of 3 days 2 nights (including 7 meals). The first day started out with an assigned driver from the agency to pick me along with my group of climbers up in the afternoon. We headed for the Mountain Kinabalu Park, a.k.a the headquarters from Kota Kinabalu. After the two hour ride, the leader (or tour guide, whatever you call), Lee, registered our names at the reception for the confirmation of our climbing. In return, each of us got a tag with a certain series of number. This was to distinguish each group from another as well as serving as identification.
Afterwards, we went to the place where we would be staying for the night, which was the Mesilau Nature Resort. It took us around 20-30 minutes to reach there from Kinabalu Park. The reason we were staying was because Mesilau Nature park serves as an alternative route to the low’s peak summit- Mesilau trail, other than the Summit trail which starts from the Kinabalu Park (where we registered for our names). Like I’ve mentioned, Mesilau is located in a high place and very close to the foot of Mountain Kinabalu.
I seriously love the place we were sleeping for the night! Before we were to go for the buffet dinner, we had repacked our belongings, as instructed by our tour guide. This was to divide our necessities into two different bags. One (the lighter the better) would be the bag you carried along during the climb and another were to be given to porter to help us carry to the low’s peak summit.
For the dinner of the night, we had it buffet style in the restaurant. Just so you know, there is no network coverage in Mesilau. Although there is a certain spot where your device may receive the network, which is the main entrance of the restaurant. After the fulfilling dinner, we went back to our respective places and to be recharged for tomorrow’s climbing.
The next day morning after our breakfast, we were each given a packed lunch that we could eat during our climb to the low’s summit peak. Before 8, our group assembled in front of the large board that showed the map trail to the peak of the Mountain Kinabalu. At there, our bags that we wanted to be carried by the porters would be weighted. Then, the mountain guides that would be following our group gave us briefing regarding to the climbing advice, explanation of the route that we would take-Mesilau Trail. Soon, we headed for the gate to the Mesilau Trail and we started right on the dot after signing our names at the registration counter.
At the beginning of the climb, it was hot (usually is) so we just wore simple but suitable attire, like t-shirt with exercise pants and of course trekking shoes. Although Mesilau Trail (2,000 m) is the longer route, but it has a combination of uphill, downhill and steep man-made stairs, which allows you to have some break from the never ending uphill like Timpohon Trail (1,866 m). Other than that, Mesilau Trail offers beautiful views as well, which are very good distractions for your tiredness. As for the packed lunch I mentioned earlier, you could eat it whenever you want you to. Albeit that, mountain guides usually say to have a lunch break at the ‘Lompoyou’ hut that is located halfway between the starting point and Laban Rata (the low’s peak summit). Normally, through Mesilau Trail, climbers can reach Laban Rata less than 7 hours and I took around 6 hours to reach there. There’s the saying “Early birds get the worm”, if you reach Laban Rata early, you can have a hot shower which the hot water will not provided after 1330. Otherwise, you will be left contemplating whether to shower or not at the low temperature environment, just like I did. If the hot water cannot motivate you to climb faster, then you might as well reach Laban Rata before 1930 because that’s when the dinner time ends after 3 hours. However, do not fret, you could always ask your fellow friends that are faster to pack food for you.
Schedule at Laban Rata
Dinner 1630-1930 hours
Supper(Before the climb to the peak) 0200-0330 hours
Breakfast 0730-0930 hours
At Laban Rata, there are only 4 places for you to stay overnight, which are Laban Rata Resthouse, Panar Laban Hut, Waras Hut and Gunting Lagadan Hut. I stayed in Gunting Lagadan Hut, which is the 15 minutes from the Laban Rata resting area, but right beside to the trail to the peak. Gunting Lagadan is a hut with multiple dormitory rooms with a total of 6 bunk beds in a room. There is a kitchen, bathrooms and a small living room. There is no heater in the room, as well as heated shower. Here’s a piece of advice. If you expected yourself to reach Laban Rata early, you must have a change of clothes (or even a towel), so that you could bathe early when the temperature is not that low yet. If your toiletries are in the bag that is carried by the porter, you will not be getting them until the very last person in your group reach Laban Rata. This is because other than carrying bags, porter/mountain guide will definitely follow the last person in the group he is in charge of. He has to make sure everyone reaches Laban Rata. Hence, I ended up only bathing at around 2100. I was not joking when I said I was practically shaking throughout my not-so-good sleep.
We set the alarm at 0100, so that some of us have enough time to go all the way down to the Laban Rata rest house to eat supper and come back up to get ready for the climb to the peak. While the rest of us just ate some snacks such as chocolate and instant noodle (There is a water boiler). By the time we were all ready, it was already 0230 and it was time for the second briefing. This time, since we would climb in the dark, so we all prepared torchlight(Headlight preferably) as well as dressing more warmly. The climb to the peak involves rope since there would be very steep mountain walls, so it is definitely more difficult compared to the climb from yesterday. At first, the trail consisted of man-made stairs, which all of us got sweaty and stuffs since it was quite crowded and we were dressed in thicker clothes. However, as time passed, it got colder and the crowd dispersed when some increased or decreased speed. To be honest, it was really dark and it was easy to be separated from your group. In fact, I was the ‘stranded’ one. I ended not being able to meet anyone from my group until the dawn broke.
Henceforth, I was really fortunate that the mountain guides were willing to help me out and accompany me. Even if I was not in the group they were in charge of. I was told that we were very lucky because on the day we were climbing, the weather was surprisingly good; cloudless, windless and a moon was seen. Climbers that were before us, were either not allowed to climb due to bad weather or had to climb under a light rain. I was already shivering at that time, imagine how cold would it be if it was raining. As much as I appreciated the mountain guides that accompanied me throughout the climb, I was really…bothered that they kept on talking to me. I was having a hard time climbing the steep hill and talking to them made me breathless. The mountain guide had to pull me as I continued climbing. Oh, the fact that I was told that ‘We are almost there.’ And ‘Just a little bit more’, got me the feeling I was cheated, because we were never almost ‘there’ and it was a whole lot more.
Other than that, I was really determined to reach the peak so even though I was not fast enough to watch the sunrise, I was still diligently climbing up until I saw this.
“Isn’t is the peak? Why are the people heading up to there?” That was what I thought that time, and by ‘there’, it was so, ridiculously far. As shown as the picture below.
I finally reached the peak at around seven in the morning and as I looked back, I couldn’t believe that I actually came all the way up from below! I gave myself a pat on my shoulder and be happy… for a little while only. That was because, coming all the way up meant that I had to do the same to go back down. Really,as you went down, you could see the scenery at below. Those views were beautiful, but I just could not appreciate the when all I felt at that time was nausea. By the time I reached Gunting Lagadan along with a few mates of my group (yes, I finally met them), it was already 0930. Taking our packed bags, we went down for our breakfast straight away at Laban Rata. After an hour or so, we gave our bags for the porters to carry again and we were off going down from the mountain. The trail we took was the same as the one we came up until to the intersection point where Mesilau Trail and Timpohon Trail meets. We took Timpohon Trail, which was on the left.
Going uphill was challenging, but going downhill was not easy too. A sigh was heard definitely when we saw the endless flights of stairs that we had to go down. It took us around 5 hours to finally reach the entry point of Timpohan Trail, which is located in Kinabalu Park.
We ate our early dinner (or late lunch) at the Balsam Restaurant in Kinabalu Park while waiting for the rest of our members in our group. Afterwards,we were to collect our bags from the porter and also receive the long awaited certificates from the headquarters! For those who managed to at least past the last checkpoint or climbed up to the peak received coloured certificates (one states that you climbed up to the peak, while another mentions at you climbed up through which trail).
Well, ‘Climbing Mountain Kinabalu’ is now officially cut out in my bucket list!
Million Thank YouS to fellow friends, family, cousins, mountain guides and our tour leader, Lee from Tamariska Tour & Travel Agency, with his great arrangement and reasonable package! (might drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
You can check my hubpages link to see what I did in Sabah. One idea would be to head up to Mount Kinabalu. You can walk about the national park, make a stop at Kundasang and also try the hot springs at Poring.
Mount Kinabalu, the majestic summit of Borneo is the focal point of Kinabalu Park and the whole of Sabah. This magnificent granite massif stands at 4,095.2m (13,435ft) tall.
For tourists arriving at Kota Kinabalu, this might be their main objective, ie. to conquer the Mount Kinabalu. If you would like to do the same, book your excursion 6 months in advance then undergo consistent training to build up your stamina.
If you do not have the courage to climb up the Kinabalu Mountain, well taking pictures of the Kinabalu mountain is also a great pleasure. Kinabalu Mountain is so huge and beautiful. Its peak seems like touching the sky.
Since this is the main event for most people coming to Kota Kinabalu, I'm just going to fill this part with our Mount Kinabalu trip.
A van picked us up to Kinabalu Park HQ (1500m) for registration and settling all the admin stuffs.
From here another van picked us up to Mesilau (2000m) and we stayed there for the night.
Check out accomodation page for accomodation pics at mesilau.
Lows Peak. The Peak of Mount Kinabalu. The destination of the day.
This is the view of the peak at about 7 am, depending on how fast you climb.
The "slow coaches" will find a very hot sun shining on their backs as they reach the top at about 830.
This is the view with the sun is on the other side of the mountain ~ and it can be a bit cold .
The view (before dawn) is of Pitch Darkness as everyone gets up and gets ready for the climb.
The climb starts at 3am.
The rock climbing starts here with a steep incline but aided by ropes afixed on the granite of the mountain. You can't see a thing but just can imaging the peak.
Don't stray away from the rope.... you may get lost and NEVER BE FOUND.
I ask my guide (guides are compulsory) whether those lost will ever be found. He said that since there are places that have not been explored at all and with the cold weather, the bodies may never be found !
So don't leave the rope and your guide on the way up.
The photo is the view at about 630am
This photo is at the start of the climb. After leaving the Mount Kinabalu Park Headquarters, There will be a change of the fauna from the hot climate trees/flowers and if you are lucky a pitcher plant. Unfortunately I w as not that lucky. Instead ~ a waterfall (which any climber will encounter on the path upwards)
No trip is complete in Sabah without witnessing the highest peak in South East Asia. Standing at the highest summit of Borneo as dawn peeks over the horizon to reveal Sabah's splendours far and wide. Reflect the quiet, sacred moment when you experience the most manificient sunrise of your lifetime.
Kinabalu park has been designated as Malaysia's first World Heritage by UNESCO in December 2000 for it's 'outstanding universal value' and role as one of the world's most important biological sites.
This is the highest mountain in Malaysia at 4095 metres and is popular among people to climb it. I have personally climbed this mountain and it was a very enriching experience. Mount Kinabalu is located near Kota Kinabalu and can be seen from the city on a clear day. If you don't want to climb, you can go to the park headquarters at the bottom of the mountain to do some simple nature walk and admire the scenery.
This mountain is abound with hikers that trek to the summit. I did not go to the top since I had no time on my itinerary. It takes 2 days to climb as many stay overnight along one of the mountain hostels (Laban Rata). The mountain is within the confines of Kinabalu National Park (about 1.5 hours from Kota Kinabalu).