2023-02-25 11:21:40
Walking trails[edit][add listing]
The majority of visitors to the park do not climb all the way to the peak. For those with limited time or energy, there are gardens and many short walks through the jungle to enjoy in the vicinity of the entrance. A mud map is available at the park entrance and sign posts guide you. There are also guided tours.
The trails (even the ones paved with concrete or using wooden planks) are not wheelchair-friendly as they invariably include stairs, narrow sections or other obstacles.
Climbing the mountain[edit][add listing]
21st Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon 2007 - Hall of Fame
Climb preparation is needed in terms of physical and mental fitness as to ensure success in reaching the summit. Activities such as jogging and stairs climbing should be done at least 2 months before the climbing (if no prior preparation, you can still reach the summit but it will be strenuous). Also practise carrying 5kg of weight during stairs climbing.
Bring adequate medical equipment i.e. band aid, ankle or knee guard, plaster, paracetamol, anti-vomitting pill, muscle cream etc. Wear the band aid before climbing up and down to avoid muscle pain.
A briefing will be provided by guide at 6pm daily before the climb begin.
The actual climb is made along a well-marked path with signposts marking each half-kilometre. All who climb the mountain must buy a climbing permit (RM100/RM40 for non-Malaysian adults/children or RM30/RM12 for Malaysian adults/children) provided that accommodation for Laban Rata has been arranged.
Since the 2015 earthquake when sixteen people on Gunung Kinabalu were killed, four of them guides, the park authorities have made it mandatory all persons going to the summit have to be escorted there and back by a local guide. A guide can cost RM85-120 per trip - the actual cost depends on the number in the group and which route is used. Guides can accompany up to six people in a party, larger groups will need multiple guides. Porters are optional. Insurance will also be required for the climb.
In addition to all this, there is also a bus that takes climbers from the park entrance to where the climbing path properly begins (RM5 each way per person). Those that choose to not take the bus face a 5-km hike along a tarred road.
There are periodic rest stops about a kilometre apart up the mountain. The entire journey is 8.72 km, with a stop about 6 km up at Laban Rata where most climbers will stay overnight. Usually, the climb started at 07:30-10:30. The first 4 km climbing to Laban Rata is in moderate steep where the trail is equipped with stairs and some rock path. The last 2 km is tough with solely rock path. Average person reached at Laban Rata (6 km journey) is 4-5 hours (some unfit person will reach in 7-8 hours).
The ascent from Laban Rata upwards is difficult in places, including climbs along steep ledges, and usually starts at around 02:00-03:00. It can also get very gusty in places as the vegetation barrens near the top. The fit will find it a challenge, the unfit will find it almost impossible.
You should bring waterproof and warm clothing including a hat and gloves, with spare, dry clothing packed in waterproof bags. If you get wet at altitude you will quickly get cold. You should also wear proper walking shoes. Bring a good headlamp with extra batteries (a headlamp is preferred over a torch since you will need your two hands for climbing some rocks near the summit), a whistle and plenty of high calorie food such as nuts and chocolate. A disposable rain coat is adequate and avoid to bring heavy bag. Unnecessary clothing and equipment can be left at counter before starting your climbing.
You can climb from Mesilau Nature Resort. The trail is 2 km longer than the one that begins from the park entrance but is less steep overall. Two thirds of the way through it joins with the main trail.
Climbing the mountain is strongly encouraged, but be forewarned that it can be strenuous.
As you struggle up the mountain, do look out for porters laden with 14-kg gas cylinder tanks. Some wear slippers and most have jury-rigged harnesses (some made of rice sacks) piled high with supplies. The porters scale the 6.5 km distance between Timpohon Gate and Laban Rata resthouse several times a day on supply runs and can easily outpace better-equipped climbers who are unfamiliar with the trail.
Once you complete the strenuous hike up to 11,000 ft (3,400 m), you might have enough energy to do the only via ferrata ("iron road", a set of cables and ladders bolted to the mountain) to be found in Asia, which happens to be the world's highest. It is still relatively unknown so take the opportunity to do it without a crowd of people pushing you. There are 3 different paths to take on the via ferrata, with times ranging from 4-5 hours for the longest to 2-3 for the shortest. Keep your travel plans in mind when Booking the via ferrata and after-mountain activities, as this time is added to the 4-5 hours it takes to descend the mountain on the second day of hiking.
Note that since the 2015 earthquake it is no longer possible to climb to the summit and down in one day. You must have a guide, and take one night / two days (though if you’re fit you should be able to return to the start by lunchtime on day two).