I went on a journey to climb Mount Kinabalu in Sabah sometime last year. Needless to say, it was a really interesting experience for me and for the group that went with me. I spent a couple of days in Kinabalu Park, one of Sabah’s biggest national parks, during my Mount Kinabalu climb. As you commonly know, Kinabalu Park is surrounded by world-famous Mount Kinabalu around the height of 4095 metres. Tourists to Sabah would flock to Kinabalu Park to see its magnificent natural wonders and to climb Mount Kinabalu.
I stayed over in Kinabalu Park hostel for one night before beginning my Mount Kinabalu climbing adventure. I woke up the next day early in the morning, had a freezing cold shower and started off my exciting Mount Kinabalu climb in Kinabalu Park Headquarters. Our first stop would be Laban Rata where we would stay overnight before proceeding with the final phase of our Mount Kinabalu climb. Let me tell you this from the outset, you definitely need a really good pair of shoes and be in good physical health in order to successfully climb Mount Kinabalu. Simply turning up with your flip-flops or sandals while sniffling with a mild case of flu is a big no-no!
Our guide was an old cheerful and friendly local Sabah guy with a lot of experiences and knowledge about Mount Kinabalu and the surrounding area. I stuck close to him throughout our Mount Kinabalu climbing trip to ensure that I wouldn’t get lost in the mountains.
Our journey to Laban Rata took us almost 6 hours. We started off from Timpohon Gate at the height of 1900 metres above the sea level and ended up at around 3300 metres when we reached Laban Rata. I saw quite a number of interesting plants and animals during our hike to Laban Rata. Since I stuck closely to our guide, both he and I reached Laban Rata in less than the estimated 6 hours journey. In fact, we spent some time waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. The accommodation for my overnight stay in Laban Rata was basic but functional although I wished they would provide us with at least hot water and heating in the room! I heard the heater was spoilt on that day.
We woke up really early at around 2.30am to begin our final ascent to the summit of Mount Kinabalu. This 2.7 kilometer journey to Low’s Peak was really challenging with us having to navigate around slippery granites, braving the cold sub-alpine temperature and coping with the thin mountain air. At least it wasn’t raining during our journey. However, I noticed our guide seemed to be least affected by these conditions. It really showed to us that his years of experience and good health has served him well.
We finally reached the summit at around 5am just before sunrise. The summit was really crowded by that time with other climbers who have arrived before us. Everyone must be waiting to experience sunrise from the top of Mount Kinabalu, I suppose. We were fortunate that it was not a cloudy day. We are treated to the most spectacular sunrise that we have ever seen in our entire life. You’d have to be there yourself to believe it!
After spending some time admiring the mountain top view we then started our climb down from the summit of Mount Kinabalu heading back to Laban Rata and Kinabalu Park Headquarters. The 8 kilometers descend was just as tiring as our journey up the mountain but considerably easier. Overall, it was an uneventful journey as we hurried our way back to our starting point. At the Kinabalu Park Headquarters we received our certificates stating that we have conquered Mount Kinabalu. I am definitely going to hang it up on the wall.
Back in Kinabalu Park, I headed towards the Poring Hot Springs to have a nice hot bath to ease my aching muscles. Before leaving for Kota Kinabalu, I spent the next 2 days in Kinabalu Park just having a nice soak in the tubs of Poring Hot Springs. What a way to end my Mount Kinabalu climbing adventure in Sabah!