Tag Archives: Mount Kinabalu

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: http://www.makna.org.my/

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.

Mount Kinabalu from the air

Managed to snap some shots of Mount Kinabalu while traveling from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan on a flight. I went to Sandakan few months back, but did not managed to upload the photos sooner. The photo quality is a bit low, as I shot it with a smart phone, to be exact, Blackberry 8520.

I traveled from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan in the afternoon. Afternoon shots are not good as clouds had covered the mountain which obscure the view of the mountain. I came back from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu on a morning flight. This is the best time to see the majestic mountain of Borneo, as the sky is really clear!

There is one shot that is different from the others. See if you can identify it!

Yes. One death on Kinabalu after 2001

You heard me right. One death after nearly 9 years since 2001. I am not really sure what had happened. I can’t really get insiders information about the incident as most of my contact had been transferred out to other places.

You can read about it here. I personally think that Kinabalu is one of the safest mountain to climb in the world. However, accident happens. As long as you follow your guide’s advice and Sabah Parks guidelines, you should be enjoying the trip more.

If you read the news properly, the accidents happened at Mesilau Trail, way down from the Rock Face where the barren rock and rope area (which is the commonest place people get injured).

This is the excerpt of the news:
KOTA KINABALU: A climber slipped and fell to his death when trekking up Mount Kinabalu.

Tan Tzu Hau, 31, from Inanam here, was found dead 5.5km from the Mesilau trail at about 2pm on Monday by a Sabah Parks porter.

Ranau district police chief Deputy Supt Suhaimy Hashim said that Tan was part of a mixed group locals and peninsular Malaysians trekking up the mountain through the Mesilau trail when the incident occurred.

”Tan was trailing behind the group when he apparently slipped and fell. No one knows exactly how he fell but a porter who was behind spotted his sprawled body beside the trail,” Suhaimy said.

He said the incident occurred near the Panar Laban rest house at the height of 3,270m of the 4,101m mountain.

”His body has been brought down to Ranau and we are waiting for the post mortem to be conducted, he said, adding that police did not suspect foul play as they believe it was a case of misadventure.

Masilau trail is second but tougher route to the mountain as compared to the more popularly used Summit Trail or South Ride Trail.

Accidental deaths among climbers on Mount Kinabalu is relatively rare though they have been a few incidents with the last reported incident occurring in Aug 2001 when a British teenager Ellie James lost her way and was found dead on the mountain nearly a week after she went missing.

Ellie’s true story : Our Holiday 2001, Part 2

Part 1
We set off at 08.30 after a breakfast of rice and vegetables, carrying water bottles and snacks such as dried bananas to eat on the way. The younger members of our party rushed off determined to arrive at the rest house at Laban Rata in record time. They were less interested in comparing the changes in flora and fauna on the trail, than overtaking other walkers who had set off before us. At the Timpahon Gate, the entrance to Mount Kinabalu, is a board detailing the times taken by the fastest runners up to the summit and down again. Some have realised unbelievably short times, which spurred Ellie and Kit to climb even faster.

Bruce and I took our places at the back of the group. I had hurt my heel at the beginning of the holiday and hiking in heavy boots had not given it the chance to heal. Every step was painful, but like Ellie, I never complain and was determined to reach Laban Rata at least. Bruce stopped to purchase new batteries for the camera from the kiosk at the Timpahon Gate, as he was afraid they might just give out at the summit and we would miss the opportunity to photograph the amazing sunrise we were bound to see.

We were about fifteen minutes behind the rest of our party and Henry, our guide, walked several paces behind us. He was very professional in his manner. He stepped forward to tell us about the plants we could not identify and explained how to make infusions for stomach cramps from long, feathery lichen. Each time we paused for a drink of water or to rest at the shelters positioned welcomingly at the top of a particularly steep stretch of trail, Henry would also stop and wait discreetly until we were ready to proceed.

We took exactly five hours to complete the ascent to Laban Rata. Admittedly, Henry took us off the path several times to look at pitcher plants growing secretly away from the trail where only those walking with a guide would ever see. They were stupendous! Huge jugs filled with a sticky liquid and so well camouflaged amongst the grass and leaves. I had imagined that they would be dangling from high branches and be much easier to spot. Bruce and I felt very privileged to have been shown these treasures.

It was bitterly cold in the rest house. We changed into our warm clothing, ordered a hot drink and waited for Ellie and Henry to appear. Ellie had been the first to arrive at Laban Rata that morning, much to the surprise of the restaurant staff who were still cleaning after the departure of the previous night’s guests. Ellie had taken only two hours and forty minutes to complete the six and a half kilometre climb. It does not sound far, but at times the steps cut into the trail are very steep and widely spaced. We could see why there were few young children attempting the climb.

On arrival, Ellie had put on her warm clothes and sat on her bunk to play cards with the other younger group members. They came down to the restaurant at about 17.30 and all twelve of us enjoyed a delicious meal together. It is incredible how the rest house can provide such a varied menu as every gas bottle, sack of rice, can of cola etc has to be carried up by porters. These are often tiny women, hardly bigger than the wicker baskets strapped to their backs. It made us feel very humble.

Ellie was the first to go to bed. Bruce and I would be called at 02.00 as we were staying in a hut adjacent to the rest house. Ellie, Henry and the rest of our party were sleeping in a hut a little farther up the mountain, so would join us at 03.00. It was extremely busy on the mountain that night as there was a party of about eighty Taiwanese tourists and about forty members of a Malaysian hiking club who had booked early and reserved most of the accommodation. The restaurant staff served everyone in record time. I wondered how they could be so cheerful. Ellie kissed us goodnight and as usual, told us how much she loved us. That was to be the last moment I spent with my darling daughter. Henry, our son, kissed us and followed.

I hardly slept during the night as my foot was painful. I lay in bed listening to the wind blowing through the slatted windows and across the corrugated roof. Henry and Sugarah, our guides, said that we would not be able to climb to the summit if it rained overnight. It had not, so we were called to join the procession with our torches, warm clothes and water bottles. I did not go with them as I felt that my injured foot, in the dark, on a mountain might constitute a liability. I made a cup of tea, waited until the first pink light of dawn appeared and then went outside the hut. I had no idea how much windier it would be 800 metres higher up the mountain. It was not excessively cold where I stood and the sky was still clear. As it happened, I had a better view of the sunrise than those who had reached the summit. I briefly saw the villages below bathed in a pink/orange light, but the wind was becoming disconcertingly loud. The cloud thickened and the wind started to blow more strongly up on top, making Low’s Peak an unpleasant place to be, I was glad that I had made the decision to stay behind.

The Travelbag climbers were more than adequately clothed for a normal morning on Mount Kinabalu. It was about 5°C with a clear sky and the wind had dropped considerably. Setting off at 03.00, Ellie was sad to discover that I was not with Bruce and began to cry, saying, ‘It’s not fair, Mum has come all this way and she loves mountains so much and now she will never see the summit.’ Bruce gave her the camera, just in case he found the going too tough and failed to reach the top. She was keen to get up as quickly as possible and get down to tell me all about it. That is why she was so anxious to overtake the large party from Taiwan, festooned with imaginatively arranged bin bags, as protection against the elements. They were somewhat less prepared for the harsh conditions than our group. She and Henry managed to pass most of them when the trail flattened and widened a little.

The trail beyond Laban Rata begins with more steps cut into the rock and climbs very steeply up through the forest. Above the tree line the way is marked by a white rope. This can be used by climbers to pull themselves up the steeper sections, but generally serves as a marker defining the trail itself. At this stage the path becomes much less steep and starts to level out as the terrain becomes fairly smooth granite. Climbers use torches on the ascent and so tend to follow the light in front. The rope is more useful on the descent. Guides are distributed throughout the procession. Some people employ their own individual guides, but the accepted ratio for a larger group is one guide to eight tourists. With two guides, Sugarah at the front and Henry at the back, our group of eleven was well within safety limits.

Feeling cold, despite four layers of clothing including a ski jacket and two hats, Ellie overtook Sugarah and followed the guide leading several Taiwanese climbers, Henry walked close behind. They reached Low’s Peak without suffering the effects of altitude, but were disappointed to see nothing but cloud. Ellie and Henry took photographs of each other standing by the sign at the summit, but it was too misty and windy for good pictures. Ellie shouted at Henry to remove his gloves as his fingers were covering the lens. He shouted back that he could not or his hands would freeze. These joking exchanges were misconstrued as ‘the argument’ that took place on top of Mount Kinabalu. This was complete fiction and caused considerable distress to Henry, as he most certainly did not run off and hide from Ellie.

To be continued to Part 3…