Category Archives: Mount Kinabalu

How the porters of Kinabalu carry an injured climber

I received an email from our friend, Leong, who climbed Mount Kinabalu and have a story to tell – one of his friend got injured during their trip. He wrote a very nice journal entry in his Multiply blog, complete with hundreds of his climbing photos. You can read his story full story and photos here. I am going to highlights the event that not so many people know – the way the porters carry people.

While started to descend from the Peak of Mount Kinabalu. En Ahmed from my group was felt the pain at both of his knee. It doesn’t felt the pain while ascending.

Some how he was needed to carry on to keep move to keep the body warm. Rain likely will be pouring soon.

Guide Lazarus took out his pain relief medicine CNI brand ( can’t recalled the name) applied to Ahmed. The deep heat of the medicine works to relief some of the pain. Step by steps, Ahmed reached Gunting Lagadan Hut at about 11.00am.

After having our lunch at the Guesthouse, Ahmed decided not to walk all the way down to Timpohon Gate if someone can carry him. The distant from Laban Rata Guesthouse to Timpohon Gate is 6 km.

I was discussing and negitiate with the Guides and porters while they are having their lunch. The deal was given at Rm150.00/km which is cost Rm900.00 bear from Laban Rata to Timpohon Gate. Its will be bear by six porters/guide to take turn. And the duration is about two hours. Ahmed has agreed with the deal since he do not want to risk his knees.

Porters preparing for an injured climber

They took out the stretcher and started to assembly. Ahmed was lying down and strap firm with three straps. Sleeping bag was used as the pillow and only hands are allowed to move.

Hanson and Lazarus were given me a challenge if I could run faster than them in less than 2 hours from Laban Rata to Timpohon Gate. I had agreed with the challenge. And each of them still need to carry one or two backpack.

Porters carrying an injured climber

The stretcher was bared by four bearers at once. One person will give the command like a voice controlled gear shift as seen in the movies. Gear 1 , go….. Gear 2,3,4 and 5, including stop , change shoulder side , down steps and up step.

Porters carrying an injured climber

More photos here

Upon going down from the step ladder, the two at the back will squat and moving down, to keep the stretcher as close to horizontal as possible. Even when that is at the narrow trail, two from aside will try to squat lower to get balance from the other side. They are not walking but running , shouting give way , give way ………I was given the hard time to chase after them. At the flat land and their are moving in the Gear 5, that is no way I can follow closed to them.

Changing shoulder from one side to the other is super fast and without stop down their moving. It just , shoulder 1,2,3 ,Up…..

Each year all the Guide and porter have to undergo for a few training in order to get their licence renewed.. That training were include bear-stretcher for injured or death body., massage (urut) to twisted, cramp, AMS patients, etc.

Drizzling on and off along the way. But it doesn’t stopped their running. It is exactly 2 hours when they reached at Timpohon Gate and my run was 1 hour 50 minutes.

Photos and story by LeongWK

Porters of Mount Kinabalu photos…

I received an email from our good friend, Cikgu Ismail few weeks back. He emailed me a photo of one of the porter, who climb Mount Kinabalu – day in, day out – to live. It’s really extraordinary, as the load of the packages that they bring are sometimes unimaginable.

Updated photo on 25 July 2007: CIkgu Ismail with one of the porters who showed him his well formed calf, lugging a 14kg cooking gas tank.

Porter lugging a cooking gas tank

Below are the earlier photos:

Porter with PVC sewage pipe

The next 7 photos were send by Cikgu Ismail a month earlier. He even made a special Power Point file (which then burned on a cdrom) with all the photos inside.

Mount Kinabalu Porter

Mount Kinabalu Porter

Mount Kinabalu Porter

Mount Kinabalu Porter

Mount Kinabalu Porter

The last 2 photos are really…

Mount Kinabalu Porter

Mount Kinabalu Porter

So, you think you can do like them???
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!

Top 7 highest peak on Kinabalu

Ha… I have a very short quiz for you. Select the top 7 highest peak on Kinabalu from the 15 peaks that are there on Kinabalu. The one who could give me the correct answer may receive a free gift from me!

  1. Low’s Peak (Yeah, this one is the highest. Choose the next 6)
  2. King Edward’s Peak
  3. King George’s Peak
  4. Donkey’s Ear Peak
  5. St. John’s Peak
  6. Alexandria’s Peak
  7. Ugly Sister’s Peak
  8. Kinabalu South Peak
  9. Victoria’s Peak
  10. St. Andrew’s Peak
  11. Kinabalu North Peak
  12. Oyayubi Iwu’s Peak
  13. Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Peak
  14. Dewali’s Peak
  15. Mesilau’s Peak

Bonus question:

Name 3 peaks that is situated in the Eastern plateau…

Just drop the answers in the comment box!

Eastern Plateau of Kinabalu – alternative climbing route for hardcore climbers

Do you know that apart from the normal highly commercialize Summit Trail, Mount Kinabalu also has other trail routes for more advance mountain climbers? Mount Kinabalu, which geologically divided into Eastern Plateau and Western Plateau actually offers more adventure for those who really wants to feel the thrill.

Low’s Peak, which is situated on the Western Plateau is easily and highly accessible to most of novice climbers from around the world. However, King Edward and King George Peak on the Eastern Plateau requires more equipments and preparations as it involves more technical climbing.

The eastern plateau can be access from two routes:

  1. Bowen’s Route (Eastern Plateau)
  2. Kotal’s Route (Eastern Plateau via Eastern Ridge)

Eastern Plateau Map on Kinabalu - Bowen’s Route & Kotal’s Route
Click to enlarge

Bowen’s Route

The eastern plateau is about the same area as the western plateau but has a more rugged appearance, with more loose rock. Much more difficult to reach than the western plateau, the first recorded climb was not until 1956 when Myles Bowen and Harry Morris, employees of the oil company Shell, pioneered what is now known as Bowen’s route which starts as a rough track leading off to the right above Panar Laban. The entrance is not marked.

Campers’ Corner PhotoThe track initially leads down more than 300 meters (around 1,000 feet) to skirt a steep rock slab, then through scrubby Leptospermum and Rhododendron forest and through a rock gully to a projecting spur with lovely views, before rising slightly over some small rocky ledges to the rock cliffs at the base of the eastern plateau. From here it is rock climbing all the way, including a seven meter (23 foot) chimney. Aluminum ladders and ropes have been fixed over the most difficult parts of the climb, but this is still dramatic and memorable route and challenging for the non-climber. Permission must be obtained from the park authorities before attempting this route and all climbers must be accompanied by an experienced mountain guide.

Once up onto the plateau itself the terrain is less steep but still rougher than the ice-smoothed slopes of the western plateau, with King Edward Peak (4,086 meters/13,405 feet) to the left and Mesilau Peak (3,801 meters/12,470 feet) to the right. King Edward is the highest point on the eastern plateau but is dangerous even for experienced climbers.

The most accessible peak here, which requires nothing more than a long, hard slog, is King George (4,062 meters/13,330 feet) which gives sweeping views across Low’s Gully to Low’s Peak and the other peaks of the western plateau as well as of the north ridge sloping down into thick montane forest towards Gunung (Mount) Tambuyukon and to the eastern ridge leading down to Poring. A registration book is kept under a rock on King George Peak which climbers are requested to sign.

Kotal’s Route

Adventure Factors photoAnother route to the eastern plateau pioneered during the Royal Society Expeditions in 1964 takes 4-7 days, depending on how large and fit the group is and how fast it is able to travel. This route is sometimes called Kotal’s route after the guide who took the members of the Expedition to the Eastern ridge – though hard and steep, it requires no real climbing ability.

The route starts from Kundasang, goes across the Pinosok plateau and pass the mesilau cave, over the lanslide with Nephentes rajah on the other side of the Mesilau stream to the top of the hill, through ultramafic forest to the small Menteki river about 1,800 meters (5,900 feet). The second day leads up a steep narrow ridge before a 20 minute steep descent to the head of the Bembangan river at about 2,750 meters (9,000 feet), to camp for the night. Very fit climbers can reach this campsite in one day.

The next morning, after trekking back up to the ridge, the trail continues upwards to about 3,250 meters (10,700 feet). Here it opens out at the base of the Mesilau Pinnacles to superb views all around including the curiosity shaped Rhino Horn which blocked the path of the Royal Society Expedition up the eastern ridge from Poring. It is not possible to climb the Pinnacles here and one must continues scrambling around their base, up and down, always steep, often using tree roots and branches to swing down vertical sections of rock or ropes to cross particularly tricky stretches.

At the end of the third or fourth day at the Letingan stream campsite (3,050 meters/10,000 feet), you have gained no altitude but are about halfway round the base of the pinnacles. Excellent views looking north to Gunung Tambuyukon are had from this campsite. The next day the trail continues to wind around the pinnacles, even in one place clambering down a steep waterfall, using ropes, to the Ulu Mekado campsite (3,100 meters/10,200 feet) where, at last, the route leads you to the head of the Mekado valley and up the steep sloping granite onto the eastern plateau.


  1. Globetrotter Visitor’s Guide Kinabalu Park, by Anthea Phillipps
  2. Campers’ Corner
  3. Adventure Factors
  4. Borneo Climbing
  5. Adventure Alternative
  6. Webshots Outdoors
  7. Kinabalu Mesilau-Low’s Gully Expedition 2001

Father & son great adventure up to Kinabalu

Sunrise by MattI received an email from Matt this morning. He went up to the summit of Kinabalu with his father, and share his story with me. I just would like to share with you his story, which he wrote on his Livejournal.

I met dad on Tuesday morning in Heathrow, and we arrived Wednesday morning (7 hour time difference). It was warm, and humid, being that the island is/was mainly rain forest. we checked into our nice hotel room, and spent 2 days chilling in the town of Kota Kinabalu. a bit of shopping and eating and laying by the pool was very nice. We only went to the state of Sabah, which is part of Malaysia, which was until 50 years ago part of the British colonies, so oddly enough they have the same electrical sockets on the wall! And they have a good grasp of English, which meant we did not learn much Malaysian, though I did a little, not that I will remember it for long I’m sure!

Friday morning we made our way to the bus station to catch a rusty old bus for 10 ringgit each, which works out at £1.50, half way across the island, and to the head quarters on Mount Kinabalu, famed for being a World Heritage Site, and the highest peak between the Himalayas and New Guinea. I felt i may have over packed, but I’m useless at traveling light. We stayed one night in the lodge there, and then Saturday morning we picked up our guide, which was not at all necessary, but we guess they insist we have them for insurance reasons, and to boost the local economy. Clarence was he, and he spoke a small amount of English.

It was awesome walking up though the rainforest, not too wet, not too hot, but not much wildlife. We stayed at the base camp, Laban Rata over night, and at 2am Sunday we headed up to the summit to catch the sunrise. It was well funny all 170 people walking in a line up the mountain with head torches in the dark! The sunrise was excellent! We didn’t stay long, and headed back down to grab our stuff and make the descent to the bottom. It was ok, we took our time as dad’s knees aren’t great these days. The last Km was a killer, and now 4 days later I still can’t walk all that well, my muscles are on a drive to grow, and still recovering from the massive exhaustion.

Laze at the hotel’s poolAfter that we checked into our hotel, and Monday morning got us a rental car. We drove inland, saw a waterfall. The road were between excellent, and partly falling down the mountains, with pot holes that we could barely get through. we made it to sandakan in the evening, this is the second major town. It used to be where they exported all of the logs from when they removed half of the rainforest. They now export palm oil, which we saw 100’s of kms of palm trees on our way. It was a bit of a dull town.

Tuesday morning we headed to sepilok to see the orangutans at the rescue center. They were fun and cute. And after we had a relax being pretty tired.

Yesterday we had to drive back across the island (500km) stopping at some hot springs, and a tea plantation. I drank tea for the 1st time in my life this week!!! I have no plans to make it a habit. Then we had a lovely 20 hours on planes and waiting in airports, the flight from kuala lumpur is 12 hours! I’m knackered, but have until monday before I have work, which I damn need! mmmm, my own bed for the first time in 3 weeks :D, and no need to wear ear plugs!!!!!!!!!!! YAY

Air ambulance for emergency evacuation on Kinabalu?

Most of Mount Kinabalu climbers know that there are at least 2 helipads on Mount Kinabalu. One at Laban Rata, just before you enter the Rest House, where some of the guides and Sutera Sanctuary Lodges staffs played badminton and sepak takraw and the other one is on your way at the Summit Trail, just before Layang-Layang Hut (where the RTM station is). Do you know that it is almost impossible for an air ambulance to be called when there is an emergency situation happened on the mountain?

I’ve always been emailed and asked whether the climbers could be carried out from the mountain by helicopter. The answer is yes, but with certain condition;

  1. The weather.
  2. The availability of the ambulance.
  3. The availability of the rescue person.
  4. Whether you have a connection with some big shots of the state.

Yes, there are some big issues on evacuating victims from the mountain. Until now, there has been no written guidelines by the authorities on this matter. It’s either they do not know or they just do not want to know.

I knew this because I have been a medical personnel stand-by for 2 climbing expedition, and when I enquire about helicopter, none of the local authorities take it seriously. They will usually said that most of the time, the victims will be hoisted manually – by the porters. It has been done for so many years, and helicopter does not seems to be a preferred method of transportation because:

  1. It is difficult to get a helicopter as an evacuation services here on Mount Kinabalu.
  2. There has been NO official medical team that comes with the helicopter.
  3. It will take ages for the helicopter to arrive on the scene (although during good weather). No specific protocol for the “who-to-call” and “what-is-their-number” available for the procedure.
  4. No helipad available at the receiving Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kota Kinabalu (the state capital hospital). Maybe the available place for the helicopter to land is at Sabah Medical Center (a private hospital).

However, the solution for the evacuation procedure that they have followed seems to be reliable at the moment – by manual hoist – and I have seen it been done quite efficiently. The ONLY time that the helicopter is available (at least on standby) for the mountain is during;

  1. Annual Climbathon.
  2. If some bigshots of the country climb the mountain.

Sound scary huh? Bottom line is, helicopter services as an evacuation transportation from Mount Kinabalu is still way too advance for the local people to adapt, with all those mentioned reasons.

However, we surely wants and will try to upgrade our services here, up to a certain international standard where it should be level with the status of being an international tourist and travelers destination.

In my opinion, it would be best for our state government to take this matter into consideration. By having a website like Air Ambulance Service, which provides a comprehensive information about running an air ambulance service in the US, will surely opens up our eyes about the possibility of the services to be adapted here. Although they generally do not provide helicopter services, the website still provides a very good information about:

  1. How to cooperate with other agencies to function as a team of rescuer.
  2. What are “flight medicine” medicine means.
  3. What will the trip be like.
  4. How to function professionally as a team of rescuer.

This is a sponsored post.


I received another email (in Malay) from Cikgu Ismail, a teacher from SMK Indahpura, Kulai, yesterday, saying that they successfully summit Kinabalu Peak on the 30th May 2007. Congratulations for his team!!!

Saya baru sahaja tiba di JBahru. Wowww … dahsyat dan sangat mencabar. Low’s Peak sangat cantik & panoramic. Nostalgia mendaki GKinabalu 2002 telah berulang.

Sekarang kaki rasa kejang-kejang. Paha, betis, pinggang sengal-sengal. 2002 tak macam ni perit. Mungkin dah tak fit ???

OK … saya gembira dapat berjumpa Dr. hari Selasa. Tapi terkilan tak dapat jumpa masa I turun KK semalam / Jumaat. I ada singgah Klinik, malam … saja-saja nak ambil gambar depan Klinik + nak cari no telefon u, nak call ajak makan malam + sembang2 … tak ada no hp ???

Bersama ini disertakan 3 gambar mendaki. Kebetulan masa di Low’s Peak bateri kamera habis. So pic atas puncak tak dapat attach kat u. Tapi gambar di LPeak ada pada member lain.

Tak ada ucapan lain selain : Seronok ………………… bangga ……… syukur ………….. XPDC sangat berbaloi.

Cikgu Ismail on Kinabalu

Cikgu Ismail & me in front of Sabah Tourism Building

Cikgu Ismail in front of my clinic

Terima kasih, cikgu!!!

A stone with a human face on Mt. Kinabalu

I received an email from Cikgu Ismail, a teacher from SMK Indahpura, Kulai last week. He attached a photo claimed to be taken from the mountain by other Mount Kinabalu climbers, showing a stone with a human face on it. This is the first time I heard about it, and I just would like to share the photo with you.

I am not sure whether you can appreciate the photo. You may need to switch on your imaginative thinking if you don’t see it.

Stone with a human face

Mount Kinabalu climbing photos by Andrea Lau

I received an email from Andrea with photos of her quest to Kinabalu…

..s***** looking face with blue towel – Andrea
..pretty girl wearing black and white stripe t-shirt – Miaw Ling
..nice lady wearing grey t-shirt, untied long hair – Ming Yen
..sweet lady wearing white t-shirt – Gek Joo
(4 super duper good friends)

Andrea LauAndrea Lau’sAndrea Lau’sAndrea Lau’sAndrea Lau’sAndrea Lau’sAndrea Lau’sAndrea Lau’sAndrea Lau’sAndrea Lau’sAndrea Lau’sAndrea Lau’sAndrea Lau’sAndrea Lau’s

Thank you for sharing. If you want to see more photos, check out our Gallery.

Transport service to and from Kinabalu Park by SSL

I went to Sutera Sanctuary Lodges office here in Kota Kinabalu couple of days back, to help on one of our fellow climbers on his accommodation in Menggilan Hostel, Kinabalu Park. After settling the matter, the receptionist handed me a bus schedule that SSL provide for travelers who would like them to help on transportation to Kinabalu Park, Mesilau and Poring Hot Springs. This would be the latest schedule:

1730 HRS

Per Person Charges

  • Sutera Sanctuary Lodges to Kinabalu Park RM40.00
  • Kinabalu Park to Sutera Sanctuary Lodges RM40.00
  • Kinabalu Park to Poring Hot Springs RM25.00
  • Poring Hot Springs to Kinabalu Park RM25.00
  • Kinabalu Park to Mesilau Resort RM20.00
  • Mesilau Resort to Kinabalu Park RM20.00

For reservation, kindly contact:
Central Administrative & Sales Office
G15, Ground Floor, Wisma Sabah,
88000 Kota Kinabalu Sabah

Tel : 088-2248629/257059

Please contact them directly, at least one day in advance, so that they could prepare and arrange your transport properly.

For example: If you plan to take the bus from Kota Kinabalu (from SSL office) to Kinabalu Park, you have to arrive in Kota Kinabalu airport at least at 8.30am, so that you can still have time to travel from the airport to Wisma Sabah where SSL is.

Or, if you plan to take a bus from Kinabalu Park back to Kota Kinabalu, you have to arrive at Timpohon Gate at 2.30pm, where you could board the bus at 3.30pm from Kinabalu Park.

For Poring Hot Springs and Mesilau, just check their departure time.