Monday, July 23, 2012

Mount Kinabalu - The hard way up

Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia’s highest peak, beckons the thrill seekers

Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia’s tallest at 4,095 metres (13,435 feet), is arguably the easiest mountain to climb.

Eighty-year-old grandmas and very young children have walked up to the granite peak.

Yet it has attracted some of the world’s best runners among the 600 to its toughest mountain race every year.

Now it offers some of the most challenging routes to rock climbers.

Five of the world’s top rock climbers spent two weeks on the Sabah mountain last month to chart 24 routes for rock climbers.

They are graded from 5 to 9A in climbing difficulty with 9A being the most difficult.

And it is the difficulty of the climb that excites rock climbers.

“We would find the hardest possible way to climb,” said Caroline Ciavaldini, 27, who won last year’s world cup at Chamonix in the French Alps. “Mountaineers will seek the easiest way up the mountain.”

That in essence separates the rock climber from the mountaineer.

Ciavaldini of France was joined by three other champions: America’s Daniel Woods, 23, Britain’s James Pearson, 26, and Japan’s Yuji Hirayama, 43.

All of them are bowled over by the granite peak which they say is the dream of every climber.

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