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

This entry was posted in Mount Kinabalu on by .

About drizad

A self employed General Practitioner who lives with his lovely family in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. He dedicates his spare time serving people with precious information on climbing the Majestic Mountain of the Borneo, Mt Kinabalu. Reachable at drizad(at)

2 thoughts on “How the porters of Kinabalu carry an injured climber

  1. Kay Kastum

    Day by day I am fascinated by the people around mount Kinabalu. Me and a buddy are planning for the climb next year. Nothing firmed up yet. But, we will definitely MAKE sure we do it sooner or later.

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