Category Archives: Mount Kinabalu

Climber dies during Mount Kinabalu expedition

I just received a message from one of my friend, who is also a good friend with the deceased. What I heard from his story was, the deceased was on expedition on Mount Kinabalu for more than one week. They planned to climb Eastern Plateau (Kotal Route) and Western Plateau (Gurkha Hut) during their expedition. However, the deceased succumbed to acute mountain sickness.

*The risk of death from acute mountain sickness is very minimal if you are climbing the ordinary tourist track of Summit Trail and Mesilau Trail. Anyway, please be careful. The mountain can be very dangerous.

Rest in peace, Khairuz Elfi Mansor.

Khairuz Elfi Mansor

Mount Kinabalu Klimb for Kancer 2013 donation drive

After Coalition Duchenne successfully climb Mount Kinabalu last August, it’s cancer survivor’s turn to scale the highest peak of Borneo.

On 22 & 23 September 2013, 2 cancer survivors & a team of 25 volunteers will scale to the peak of Mount Kinabalu, Sabah.

23 year old Nazri Hamzah survived bone cancer and sadly lost his right leg to cancer when he was about 15. Nazri is active in sports, he represents the Malaysian Wheelchair Basketball Federation. He will brave together with Rozieana Jorun, 26 from Kudat, Sabah who survived leukemia (T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia).

Mount Kinabalu Klimb for Kancer 2013

This fundraising climb is self-funded by climbers (volunteers). All funds raised will directly benefit poor cancer patients and their families in our country. The campaign aims to raise RM60,000.

MAKNA is the Malaysian National Cancer Council. You can get more information from their official website here:

You can donate through one of the volunteer’s campaign page here:

Vemanna campaign

(Please click at the photo)
Or you can also buy a t-shirt to show your support to the drive:


(Please click at the photo)

And thank you for Corezone, the official hiking apparel for Klimb for Kancer survivor.

I have done my part. Now it’s your turn to give hope to those who needed the most!

I have helped thousands of climbers of Mount Kinabalu to book their climbing spot since 2006. If you want me to help you, just fill in the form below and send it to me. Thank you very much! 

How to overcome fear of the ropes on Mount Kinabalu Summit Trail?

I received an email couple of days ago, asking for an advise on how to overcome the fear of the ropes on Mount Kinabalu. Marisa (not her real name), asked me whether I have any good tips to overcome the fear of the ropes on her second part of the climb, starting from the Rockface.


I just came back from my climb via Timpohon. It was not a good time for me. The night before the climb, I was down with diarrhoea and fever due to seafood poisoning. When reaching Kinabalu Park, I was already shivering from fever. I almost wanted to give up my climb to Laban Rata the next day. But, I thought otherwise since I have made it so far from KL just to make this climb. Plus, I trained for 6 months.

Next morning, it was raining heavily and we started our ascend to LR. It was freezing cold and wind was so strong. I still grit my teeth and went ahead. Took some panadols to reduce the high temperature. What was supposed to take 4 hours to reach LR, I took 8 hours.

By the time I reached LR, I just had a light meal and rested. Sleep was not good cause my fever came back. Popped in two more panadols and just rested.

By 130am, was feeling better and got ready for the night climb. Climbed up all the way to the rope part. This was the part that stopped me from moving further. I was very afraid of the rope climb. Just did a bout a few metres and I retreated cause I was too scared and did not have any confidence to stabilise my body. I saw the others moved with ease but not me. I just “chickened out”. If you can advise me on how to overcome my fear of ropes, I would really appreciate it very much.


I am not sure why Marisa was afraid of the rope in the first place. Was it really the rope? Or was it related to fear of height, because on Mount Kinabalu, climbers usually associate the ropes with heights. For me personally, I don’t have any specific advise for Marisa, but one thing that I was told to overcome this type of fear was “JUST LOOK UP THE WAY YOU ARE GOING and HOLD THE ROPE TIGHT. NEVER LET GO OF THE ROPE”. It works every time.

In addition, during the time you start climbing the Rockface which has the ropes, it’s usually very dark. You won’t be able to see that much further out of your headlights illumination. So, most probably you won’t be able to know how high you are from the ground below the rocks. It should not gives you much of a problem.

That’s the best advise that I can give. JUST DO IT.

Anybody want to add some more advise on the fear of the rope? Please share with us below.

Mount Kinabalu is the 10th highest mountain in Southeast Asia

This is the latest information that I received from a friend. According to Wikipedia, Mount Kinabalu is now the 10th highest mountain in Southeast Asia. With 5 new findings of mountains in Myanmar, Mount Kinabalu now drops to number 10 from number 5. I did made a blog post about this in 2008. You may want to check it out here.

Don’t worry Malaysian. Our Mount Kinabalu is still the easiest of the top 10 mountains to climb in Southeast Asia!

Highest Mountain in Southeast Asia

I have helped thousands of climbers of Mount Kinabalu to book their climbing spot since 2006. If you want me to help you, just fill in the form below and send it to me. Thank you very much!

Mount Kinabalu Summit Trail map comparison between a climbathon runner and a casual climber

While browsing through Every Trail, one of the best website which has a connecting apps for the smartphone to track any jungle or mountain trail that you took, I found two different trail profiles of Mount Kinabalu. One trail profile was posted by a Mount Kinabalu Climbathon runner and the other one was posted by a casual climber. Both showed the elevation profile of the mountain in simple term of how did they do while running / walking / hiking / climbing / scrambling the trail in relation of the time they took and the elevation of the trail from sea level.

Although both person took the same Summit Trail, you can see the difference in the profile of how they took the trail. I just would like to inform you that the most immediate difference that you could see from the profiles was the TIME taken to finish the trail climb. While the average climbathon runner took less than 6 hours to complete the course (some climbathon runners can make it in less than 3 hour mark), casual average climber will take at least one and a half day. Haha. (Click image to enlarge)

Mount Kinabalu Climbathon Summit Trail profile information

Mount Kinabalu casual climber's profile information

The Climbathon Runner

If could see the red button with the word “GO”, that is the point where climbathon runners starts their run, just few hundred meters before Timpohon Gate. Timpohon Gate is situated at about 1600 meters above sea level (the start of the blue line in the graph) where this is also the official gate for anybody who would like to enter the Summit Trail up the mountain.


You could see the starting speed of the runner, the first 800 meters of the climb showed the climber ran about 9 km/h. That’s a pretty fast starting speed as these few hundred meters was run on a paved road. After entering the gate, the runner will start climbing stairs – some says that its the unending stairway to hell – and starting from this point, you could see that the speed goes down to around 6 km/h for the next 6 kilometers. As the runner gets higher and higher, the speed is significantly slower, as fatigue sets in.

After the 6 kilometer mark where Laban Rata is, the speed of the runner gets slower, just around 4 km/h for the next 2.5 kilometers. The runner actually ran on barren rock – the summit plateau – for the last 2 km up until Low’s Peak. This slowing down of the speed may be due to exhaustion and exertion of the runners running up into thinner air. At 3200 meters above sea level, there is a significant drop in temperature, barometric pressure and thinning of air, making the runner hard to breath. It can be a significant stress to the runner’s wearing body, scrambling slowly to reach the peak at 4095 meters after running uphill for about 8.5 kilometers.

After tapping the signboard at Low’s Peak, 4095.2 m above sea level, the climbathon runner must run down the mountain as fast as they could back to Kinabalu Park HQ. You can see the runner running down fast at about 9 km/h for the first 2 km on the Summit Plateau, and the speed gets slower just as he reached the stairs. From kilometers 10 to kilometers 12, the speed was about 5 km/h and the speed gradually increased to about 20 km/h as the distance nearing the 20 km mark. These last few kilometers was fast because it was run on paved roads.

In total, a climbathon runner will cover 20 km of trail running (including paved road) with 2565 meters of vertical up and 2837 of vertical down. The fastest that a climbathon runner can finish the race in less than 3 hours. This runner finished the race in less than 6 hours. Almost double the time. Not sure about the pain.

The Casual Climber

Any casual, slow, relaxed and unfit climber of Kinabalu will start the climb from the same point as the climbathon runner – The Timpohon Gate. As you can see from the graph, from kilometer 0 to kilometer 6, the speed of the climber never reaches 9 km/h. The elevation gradually increased from 1600 meters above sea level to 3200 meters, and you could see that at this point, the elevation does not increases although he walked the distance.The climber walked about 2 kilometers at this level because he is at Laban Rata Resthouse, a point where every casual climber has to stop and have a rest.


After taking a rest for few hours, recharge the energy, refuel the body and maybe taking a bath, climbers have to wake very early to continue their journey up the peak. At 2 am in the morning, casual climber has to wake up to complete another 2.5 kilometers journey to the Low’s Peak. As you can see, the climb starts at 10 kilometer mark up to 12 kilometer mark, where he reaches the peak. The speed was really, really slow at about 1-2 km/h (snail pace) at this moment because they were walking in the dark, cold and high altitude. Usually they will reaches the peak after scrambling about 2-3 hours, just a nice time to catch the sunrise.

Ah… at that point, you have reached the highest peak of Borneo. It was such a relief to achieved one of your dream of a lifetime. But wait. The pain is NOT OVER yet. After spending less than 10 minutes at the peak, taking photos and congratulating other climbers that reached there after you, its time to go down. For those who love mother nature, this will be the time where you can see one of the most beautiful scene of your life – Mount Kinabalu at its heart.

Climbing down after the peak was also very slow at about 4 km/h, and the speed were consistent for the next 8.5 kilometers down back to Timpohon Gate. When a climber reaches Timpohon Gate, they will be picked up by a shuttle bus back to Kinabalu Park HQ. That is why you could see that the speed increases up to 40 km/h.

In total, a casual climber will cover about 25 kilometers of hiking (including walking about at Laban Rata) with 2710 meters of vertical up and 3057 meters of vertical down. An average climber will usually finishes this trail in one and a half day. Just to remind you that the post-climbing pain and agony will last for about a week.

Happy climbing!

*For geeks who want to know what did the climbathon runner used to track their trail, it was Garmin Forerunner 305. The data was then transferred / synced with Every Trail. For your information, Forerunner 305 is now obsolete. Get Garmin Forerunner 310XT GPS Sports Watch with Heart Rate Monitor instead.

I have helped thousands of climbers of Mount Kinabalu to book their climbing spot since 2006. If you want me to help you, just fill in the form below and send it to me. Thank you very much! 

Summit Trail of Mount Kinabalu on Every Trail

I found a very good interactive map and trail of Mount Kinabalu, specifically The Summit Trail, in which you start your climb from Kinabalu Park HQ and ends at the same place. It was posted by one of the climbers who uses his smartphone to track his climb using an app called Every Trail. If you have an iPhone or an Android phone, you may want to download it to your smartphone to track your climbing, or even your simple trail running at your own hometown.

From what I see, the good thing about this app with Every Trail is that you can post photos along the trail that you take. They uses GPS coordinate to locate your point, and the photos will be at the exact point where you snapped it. Just bare in mind that you may have to pay for some of their extra services, as the free version of the app seems useless (comments that I saw from their site).

Anyway, spice up your climb with this technology and you can share it with others from the website. If you have other smartphone app that could do the same or even better with less cost, leave a comment below.

Mt. Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

EveryTrail – Find trail maps for California and beyond

Registration for 27th Mt. Kinabalu International Climbathon is now open

If you have been waiting to run in the world’s toughest mountain race, wait no more as they have opened the registration for the event. This 27th edition of the race has a new format, after last year’s edition which uses a new route that was claimed “too easy” for some of the international athletes who ran in the event.

Last year’s edition doesn’t require the runners to reach Low’s Peak. The highest point for the run is only at Layang-Layang Hut, halfway up the mountain. Even though the distance of the run was extended another couple of kilometers, it doesn’t make the run anymore difficult, as the last remaining couple of kilometers was a downhill pavement road surface. It was too easy as claimed by Killian Jornet, when he compared it with UTMB. Haha.

Because of last year’s climbathon feedback, they now opened this year’s edition with a new format, in which they categorize it for elite and non-elite runners. Elite runners (there are few certain criteria that they have rule out) will run Summit Race category – up the mountain to Low’s Peak and come down via Mesilau Trail and end at Kundasang town. That will torture them through 33km of layers of Kinabalu’s unique mountain forest and barren rockface.

Non-elite runners will run last year’s trail and now it is called Adventure Race. The Adventure Race will make runners only up to Layang-Layang Hut and down to Mesilau Trail. The trail is shorter 11km and was claimed too easy for elite runners. That is why the organizer has to make it really hard for them with the Summit Race.

The race will also be held in two days, one for each category. The registration fee is RM150 for Open category and RM100 for Veteran. Get to the official Climbathon website for more info. And register for the event of your life!

Anyway, this is my first climbathon. I climbed Mount Kinabalu 5 times, but it’s just a normal hike, not a race like this. From now to the date of the race, I will do few more training on the mountain. Maybe I will do the climb in one day.

If you still do not know who Killian Jornet is, enjoy this video;

Mount Kinabalu Kotal-Bowen Route & Western Plateau of Kinabalu Expedition

I wrote about Eastern Plateau of Kinabalu route 5 years ago – Kotal Route and Bowen Route with very limited resources. Those days, I have to really to extensive research about these expedition route or unbeaten path of Kinabalu because they are really not as famous and as commercialize as The Summit Trail and Mesilau Trail. I also have a very limited photos on the route as it was difficult to find climbers/trekkers who like to share their photos on the net.

This morning I received an email pointing me to a Youtube video of a group of Mount Kinabalu hardcore climbers who produced a very good video on their expedition.

Eddie Lim YatYuen said;

On the route: This route is the most amazing route I have hiked in Malaysia so far. Starting from the Nepenthes trail where one gets to see the Nepenthes rajah and villosa, it goes through different forest types at different elevations. This route is untouched, unspoiled and rich in biodiversity. Different types of orchids can be found growing throughout the entire route.
Of all, the Bowen route is the most technical and difficult section of the route. This is also the section where it involved the biggest risk. The descent involved climbing down several vertical sections using long ladders and ropes. Moreover, one has to abseil down huge slabs and gaps using ropes and carefully guides oneself through rocky edges.

On Gurkha Hut: One would easily missed Gurkha hut for a gigantic rock or some insignificant structure when viewed from Low’s peak if no one points it out or more often than not, the place would be covered in fog. As this hut is not promoted anywhere, therefore information regarding this magnificent alpine hut is relatively unknown to the outsiders. However, set in the western plateau and surrounded by different jagged peaks, this alpine hut is probably one of the closest places to heaven in Malaysia one can find. This hut also acts as a safety retreat from the ever-changing weather of Mount Kinabalu.

It’s a really long journey, but I think it was really worth it! Enjoy.

Kinabalu Park porter Abbie Intang lifting a water tank to Laban Rata

Some of you may have seen this picture somewhere on the net. I even have the photo in this blog sometime ago, without knowing the story of it at that time. Now that I have his story and the story of the photographer, I would like to share with you here.

His name is Abbie Intang, a Moslem Dusun from Kampong Pinosuk, Kundasang. When this photo was taken in 2005, he was 48. But this 600 liters water tank wasn’t the only thing he hustled to Laban Rata along the 6km Summit Trail. This blue empty water tank is only 33kg and it took him about 6 hours, starting 7.30am at Timpohon Gate and arriving Laban Rata about 1.30pm. There were heavier or bigger loads he ‘ported’ up the trail, before and after this.

Before this, he delivered a laundry dryer, a washing machine and a r efrigerator. After this water tank, he delivered 2 loaded cooking gas tanks with a total weight about 64 kg. On the same trip.

Two years ago, he delivered septic tanks to all the shelters including the shelter at Sayat Sayat at KM7.2. Imagine piggybacked a huge empty septic tank along the steep, rocky and treacherous rockface. It took him only 2 hours from Laban Rata to Sayat Sayat, delivering the 27kg septic tank.

The most heaviest load he had delivered was a car battery, about 80kg in weight. Imagine…carrying a man for about 6 hours along the 6km Summit Trail to Laban Rata. We can’t even carry our own backpacks.

Now…you know why he is called Badang Kinabalu.

via Rabani Ayub – the sad part about this is – Rabani Ayub, the photographer of this epic photo passed away last December 2012 in Sukau Kinabatangan, while on assignment.

Popular for his work on eco-tourism sites in Sabah and Sarawak, Rabani collapsed in a resort after complaining of chest pains on Tuesday night, 18th December 2012.

Rabani was rushed to the district hospital 40 minutes away by employees of the resort, but was pronounced dead on arrival around midnight.

He was buried yesterday in Sandakan where his mother and brother, who works as a teacher there, live.

Originally from Kudat, Rabani, who is a system analyst programmer by profession, became a full-time photographer in 2004.

He was also known as Rabani HMA at, where many of his works are featured.



2. NST