Reader’s Mailbag: Climbing Kinabalu with children

I received another email this morning. Patrick asked me about climbing Mount Kinabalu with his children. If you have climbed Kinabalu with your children before, please share with us your opinion. Here is his email:

Hi Ruhaizad

Thanks for the Kinabalu newsletter that I have just received, it was very helpful. I am climbing Mount Kinabalu at the end of July with 3 children aged 10 and 11, I wonder if you could help me avoid any serious mistakes and help me improve our chances of reaching the summit, please? A little about ourselves…

I’m 52, British, married to a Malaysian from Sarawak. The children are my son, 11, daughter, 10, and a niece, 11, from the interior. I attach a photo to help you see (I’m standing with my wife and son, and my daughter has black hair).

All 3 children are fit (though not particularly trained in endurance), especially my daughter and the niece. I have been training since November and now consider myself quite fit, by UK standards anyway. None of us have any medical issues, except my son is quite prone to nosebleeds… I would appreciate your comment as to whether you think this could be a serious issue at higher altitudes.
It is good for you to exclude other medical problems that related to your child’s nosebleed with you family doctor. Some illnesses that are related to easily bleeding (such as platelet problems and haemophilia) may become worsen in high altitude due to increasing external stressor. If all other things excluded and your child nosebleed is nothing more than Little’s area capillary fragility, then it would be safe to climb with some precaution of recurrence and the simple treatment during the climb.

We have been to the base of Kinabalu before and stayed for a few days, we understand the need to acclimatise, so plan to stay at Kundasang for 2 1/2 days before starting the climb.
Generally, climbers of Kinabalu do not have to acclimatise at Kundasang, as the altitude is not that high for training. Acclimatisation will usually occurs along the way up the mountain, with most climbers will feel some changes at the level of Pondok Mempening. You just have to climb slowly, and most climbers have sufficient time acclimatising at Laban Rata.

The week before last we climbed 3000′ up one of the UK’s highest mountains, and managed that OK – 2 weeks before we come we will repeat that.

That’s the positives! The negatives include the fact we havent booked accommodation yet, either on Kinabalu or Kundesang, nor booked a guide. Wonder if you could advise on these, please? We stayed at Pine Lodge in Kundasang before, which was fine, though there were roadworks there then and the walk from the market to Pine Lodge was rather difficult especially at night. My wife is not joining us for the climb, she will wait for us in Kundasang. I have read the Sutera site – is that the best (or only?) place to book?
Yes, unfortunately, Sutera Sanctuary Lodges is the only accommodation provider for Mount Kinabalu climbers – at least for the ordinary climbers. However, if you are adventurous enough, Mountaintorq is another option, in which you have to take their via ferrata package to get up the summit.

Although we are from UK, we come to Malaysia in order to see relatives (rather than as tourists) and need to work on a fairly small budget. Though obviously without compromising safety, and without making it so difficult that we noticeably reduce our chances of reaching the summit.

Do you have any advice for us? Hope to hear back from you soon, please use ‘reply-all’.
Most of the advice on climbing Kinabalu is here in this blog and my website. I hope you will find it helpful.


Anybody wants to give opinions?

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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)

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