Climb any mountain
Our Features Health Editor Dr Ian Cocks was on assignment in Kuala Lumpor and a Malaysian side trip was arranged to Sabah, Borneo and the opportunity to trek up Mt Kinabalu.
Mount Kinabalu is Malaysia’s highest mountain at 4095 metres and is situated approx. 1 hour drive from Kota Kinabalu City which is 2 ½ Flight from Kuala Lumpor located in a world heritage national park of some 75,370 Hectares. On the mountain there is a vast diversity of vegetation and mammals in 4 distinct zones.
Departing at 0620 from our hotel with my tourist and mountain guide Reynolds Gilbert, we proceeded to Kotabalu Park headquarters to be booked in and given an ID tag. We started the ascent from ‘Timpoon Gate’ at 1856 metres where we met our other guide and local expert, Harry.
Up – Up and more Up
The trail varies from large steps, rocky terrain, slippery granite, very steep ascent and descents. There are 7 rest stations along the trek every kilometre to rest briefly, adjust gear, eat and most importantly to hydrate. The first part of the trek is approx. 8 kilometres where we overnighted at Laban Rata at 3300 metres; there is dinner available along with a small shop. (Note they do not exchange foreign currency and local currency is required).
An early sleep for our 0230 briefing and the start on the final ascent to Lowes Peak 4095 metres. Options are available to descend ‘via Ferrata’. This section takes about 6 hours including the beautiful sunrise, then breakfast and short rest and the descent to Timpoon Gate and park headquarters, where a certificate of completion is issued. The mountain guides are trained in ecology as well and are most professional, patient and very pleasant company. Excellent photo opportunities abound.
Porters were hurrying up the mountain with heavy loads, doing two trips per day and on their descent were almost running. Oh to be so fit and acclimatised!
The journey proved both exhilarating for mind and body, a good level of fitness is recommended as is an adventurous spirit.
Kinabalu National Park has many other delights to explore, most are not as demanding, these include hot springs - cool mountain pool - bamboo gardens with rare plants - flower gardens -waterfalls - Malaysia’s only organic tea plantation - a cafe and golf course at 1500 metres an and operating dairy (ice creamery), and so much more.
Sabah has many other wonders to explore
Dr Cocks was a guest of Tourism Malaysia, AirAsia, Sabah Tourism and the wonderful people of Malaysia.