Friday, August 07, 2015

88 to test climb Mount Kinabalu August 8

PENAMPANG: The earthquake-hit Mount Kinabalu will be reopened on August 8 with 88 climbers expected to test a new trail to Laban Rata.

The mountain has been closed since the deadly 5.9 earthquake on June 5 claimed the lives of 18 climbers and mountain guides besides causing serious damage to the originaltrail.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said that while repairs and restoration work had been carried out over the last couple of months, safety assurance is the utmost priority, hence the test climb.

“The purpose of this Saturday’s soft launching is to assess the condition of the repaired trail and secondly, to ensure that it is truly safe.

“The trail from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata is practically intact, except at certain areas that still needed to be improved for safety consideration,” he said when met at his ministry’s gathering and Hari Raya celebration.

The rest of the trail, however, is still undergoing repair and upgrading, considering that some of them were no longer passable, he said.

“The real challenge in our restoration efforts is the extent of damage between Laban Rata and the peak, some parts of which are now non-existent, full of rocks that we simply can’t move because doing so could trigger further movement or even another rockfall.

“It is not final, but I presume that after all the repair and restoration work up to the peak had been completed, the routes will be even more challenging, due to some changes,”he said, adding that the number of climbers allowed to scale the mountain however, will be reduced by half of its previous capacity, for better safety assurance.