At 4095m high, Mount Kinabalu is South East Asia’s highest mountain and a UNESCO World Heritage Site dominating the 754 square kilometres of Kinabalu National Park.
It is well-known for its amazing botanical and biological species, being one of the most ecologically diverse sites in the world.
The first recorded ascent of Mount Kinabalu’s summit plateau was made by Hugh Low in March 1851.
Since then, many explorers, adventurers and tourists alike have successfully scaled the mountain.
On my recent volunteer expedition to Borneo, a group of four of us ascended and descended the mountain over two days, staying overnight at the Laban Rata Resthouse, located at 3,270m.
Stretching 9km from the start point to the summit, the trek isn’t too far a distance; yet its steepness and technical difficulty shouldn’t be underestimated.
Though there is little need for special mountaineering equipment, climbers do need to have a good level of fitness and be ready for the challenge!
You also have to watch out for signs of altitude sickness, common symptoms of which include headaches, nausea and dizziness.
Though the likeliness of such symptoms occurring are minimised by the one-night stay half way up the mountain, which helps hikers to acclimatise before the final part of the ascent.
After a two-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu, we arrived at Kinabalu Park Headquarters, were given an identity tag each and were transferred to our start point of Timpohon Gate (5.5km away from Kinabalu Park, at an altitude of 1,866 metres).
The first stage of the trek was to walk 6km from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata. Though we were walking for no longer than five hours, this was one of the most intense and physically demanding days of hiking I have experienced.
I had a feeling it would be a challenging climb due to the elevation we were to cover in such a short space of time, but I didn’t expect quite so many thousands of steps!
Around every corner, the steps would just keep on going. The fatigue in my legs was relentless!
However, the six shelters situated at regular intervals provided opportunities to take regular breaks.
Labels: Borneo, Kinabalu National Park, Mount Kinabalu, World Heritage Site