I got another chance of scaling this mountain on 28th August 2018. To say this mountain is the highest in South East Asia will attract arguments so I will just say that it’s the highest mountain in Malaysia. I have climbed this mountain four times previously, all were before the 5th June 2015 Sabah earthquake incident that took away 18 lives from Mount Kinabalu. This climb would be something new to me because new trails were created as diversion to previous damaged trails due to the earthquake.
My climb involves 10 persons (one decided to opt out last minute) and it was a 2 days 1 night budget package. The climb was on 28th but we decided to spent an extra night at Kundasan near entrance of the mountain climb so we can start off our climb early the next day and also to us used to the altitude in order to minimize the risk of getting high altitude sickness.
The next day, we reached the Kinabalu Park office approximately 8am for registration. A coach then ferried the 9 of us from the office to Timpohon Gate (starting point of our climb) at approximately 9am and all of us started our climb at 9.30. I myself reached Laban Rata checkpoint at 2.30pm. This was also the place where all of us would rest/sleep before continuation of our climb to the summit the next day at 2.30am. Buffet styled meal was served at 4.30pm and after the meal, we headed to our dormitory and rested.
Early next day at 2am on 29th August 2018, after preparation, we headed back to the restaurant to have our supper before we commence our climb to the summit at 2.45am. Personally, I have always failed to reach the summit by 6am to witness the sun rise but this time round, I had determined to make it. I was told in order to make this happen, one cannot rest too much and need to reach Sayat Sayat checkpoint by 4am and that was just what I tried very hard to achieve and yes, I made it by 5.45am. The view was magnificent, looking at sun rays hitting the surface of the summit of Mount Kinabalu and the best part, behind me was the shadow of Mount Kinabalu. (checkout my video below)
I stayed on the summit for about an hour and proceeded back to Laban Rata restaurant approximately 9am. After our breakfast there, at 10.30am we proceeded back to Timpohon Gate (starting point). Weather was not that good during my descent and it was raining all the way. I finally reached Timpohon Gate at 3pm.
This climb was the best I had compared to my previous 4 climbs all because of the nice weather at the summit and also my success in witnessing the sun rise on the top of the mountain this time.
Some Tips That May Be Helpful:
- If you want to keep the climbing cost down, book your mountain climbing package with Sutera Sanctuary Lodge* directly instead of going through travel agent. The good thing about paying a little bit premium to your travel agent though is that they will take care of everything and you only need to worry about your climb.
- Keep your backpack as light as possible (preferable below 6kg) unless of course you intend to hire a porter to bring up your backpack.
- Train your legs ESPECIALLY your KNEES before the climb. My knees affected my overall climbing trip.
- Bring extra batteries if you plan to take lots of photos and videos. Your batteries will drain faster than you think.
* Sutera Sanctuary Lodge is the main service provider for your accommodation and meals at Laban Rata. Their office is located in Wisma Sabah facing Wisma Merdeka.
Checkout my short video below.