Tag Archives: Via Ferrata

Mount Kinabalu via ferrata adventure FAQ

Mountaintorq.com is very kind to me. I-Gek sent me PDF copies of their brochures on Mount Kinabalu via ferrata adventure FAQ for me to share with you.

As a good operator, she feels that it is their responsibility to educate us on what to expect when going up the majestic mountain of Borneo. I know, most of climbers does not know what to expect when they climb Kinabalu despite all the information that I have written in my website and blog.

What is a via ferrata?
A via ferrata (or ‘iron road’ in Italian) is a protected mountain path consisting of a series of rungs, rails and cables embracing the rock face. It allows access to scenic sections of the mountains that are typically available only to rock climbers and mountaineers. The exhilaration, breathtaking scenery and sense of personal conquest you experience on a via ferrata are guaranteed to give you something to smile about for a long time.

Is via ferrata the same as rock climbing?
No, via ferrata is not the same as rock climbing. Although they both occur in the same area and the same environment, via ferrata climbing is easier than rock climbing and do not require you to have any previous experience.

What is Mountain Torq?
Mountain Torq is the world’s highest and Asia’s first via ferrata that starts at 3,200m and ends off at 3,800m above sea level on Mt Kinabalu in Sabah. Mountain Torq enables climbers and non-climbers to experience the thrill of mountain climbing while taking in the spectacular surroundings.

Who can climb Mountain Torq?
Climbers and non-climbers aged between 10 and 70 who are fit and healthy, not afraid of heights, and want to experience the mountain in a whole new way. Oh and by the way, you also have to be at least 1.3m tall.

Do I need any climbing experience?
Absolutely not! If you can climb a ladder, you can climb Mountain Torq.

Is there someone to guide me?
Yes, you and your group will be assigned an activities trainer. Our friendly trainer is there to give you a full safety briefing and training on how to use the safety devices. They are also there to climb with you, provide tips on how to negotiate the more difficult obstacles, as well as highlight some of the spectacular sights along the way.

Can I go without a guide?
Sorry, but NO due to safety and Sabah Park regulations, mountain guides and or activity trainers are required to accompany you at all times.

What time do I start my via ferrata activity?
Our start time is between 5:30am to 7:30am.

What other activities are there besides via ferrata?
You can enjoy a whole host of other outdoor activities that Mountain Torq offers such as sports climbing, alpine rock climbing, rappelling and basic mountain experience.

Where do I meet my Mt Torq trainer for the activities?
We will meet you at Pendant Hut on the first day and we will advise you on the actual meeting point for your chosen activity during your briefing session in the afternoon of your arrival.

Do any of your services include taking me up on the via ferrata before the break of dawn?
We do not bring clients up on the via ferrata before day break due to safety concerns.

Mountaintorq via ferrata trip preparation notes

Received an email from Mountaintorq today regarding how you can prepare yourself before going for an adventure on Mount Kinabalu. A must read for every Mt. Kinabalu climbers, especially for those who planned for via ferrata adventure.

What do I need to do to prepare for my MOUNTAIN TORQ / Mt Kinabalu adventure?
You will be climbing a major mountain and you are strongly advised to be in a physically fit condition. Here are some suggestions from the Alpine Guides Association:

The best preparation for mountain sports always involves good amounts of cardiovascular  exercise outdoors (running, cycling, mountain biking etc) and getting out for long days in the hills whenever possible. If you do the amounts of regular weekly cardiovascular exercise indicated on the fitness level for your course during the 2-3 months leading up to your trip, then you should be reasonably well prepared. Don’t forget to read the trip descriptions / itinerary carefully to find out what else is involved too, so you can tailor your preparation accordingly.

MOUNTAIN TORQ recommends all customers to participate in cardiovascular sports at least 2 sessions a week, with each session being a minimum of 2 hours in duration. The exercise program should commence at least 2 months before you start your Mt Kinabalu adventure.
To check out how mountain fit you are, go to http://www.alpine-guides.com/fitness.htm for further details.

What do I need to pack?
For personal items, here’s a checklist of the minimum essential items on that you will need to bring:

  • Raincoat or waterproof jacket
  • Warm clothing like fleece jacket, hiking pants
  • Change of clothes (you may not want to sleep in what you sweat in!)
  • Cap / beanie / head scarf (helps prevent heat loss, especially at night, so you can have a more cosy night’s rest)
  • Gloves
  • A small / lightweight towel
  • Personal toiletries
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Torchlight (preferably a head torch)
  • Your camera!
  • Comfortable covered trail/ hiking shoes
  • Energy snacks e.g. chocolate, nuts, biscuits, sweets, energy bars
  • Sun protection – Sunglass, sun screen lotion, SPF lip balm (beware of the strong UV rays)
  • A small backpack to hold your things
  • A rain cover for your backpack
  • And of course, AN ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT!

MOUNTAIN TORQ will provide all technical safety equipment required for its activities.

Where is Pendant hut?
Pendant hut is located at 3,270m / 11,000 feet on the Laban Rata rock face. When you arrive at the Laban Rata rest house, you will see Pendant hut on your right hand side perched above a rock path.

Where do I meet my Mt Torq trainer for my via ferrata briefing when I arrive at Laban Rata level?
Your trainer will be waiting for you at Pendent Hut between 3pm and 4pm for your briefing. During your
briefing, he will

  • Familiarise you with the via ferrata equipment
  • Conduct an initial via ferrata practice round
  • Inform you on the actual meeting point for your chosen activity and
  • Remind you of the cut off meeting time for your activity (6:30am – The Preamble, 7am – Low’s Peak Circuit, 7:30am – Walk the Torq)

Must I attend the briefing?
Quite simply, YES, you have to attend the briefing.

Via Ferrata

Climbing gloves for Mount Kinabalu climbers

I thought it was a small matter to most of us. But the truth is, it’s not. I received an email from Miss M (not her real name) asking me on what type of gloves that she could use to climb Mount Kinabalu.

  • Can an ordinary gardening gloves would do?
  • Do I need a water proof gloves, in case the climbing gets too wet and I don’t want my hands to be freezing?
  • When will I use the gloves?
  • Do I need to wear the gloves all the way from Timpohon Gate to the summit?
  • What would you suggest the type of gloves that I should buy?
  • Can I get the gloves in Kota Kinabalu / Kundasang / Kinabalu Park?

The above questions are all not from her only, but from various resources for the past few years of my writing on Kinabalu. I will try to answer the questions in a collective way, so that every new climbers will benefit from it.

Honestly speaking, I did not use high tech, waterproof gloves in my past climbings. I only use the ordinary Made-In-China nylon gloves that is usually used for gardening and small house contractor that cost me around RM2 per pair. I bought 2 pairs and wear both pairs during my past climb up the mountain.


GLOVE NYLON KNIT REVERSIBLE
Mine is in white colour…

There are two major reasons why you should have a pair of gloves while climbing up Kinabalu;

  1. To protect your hands from rope burn during the second phase of the climb and protect from the rough rock surfaces when you need to scramble once in a while on the barren rock face.
  2. To protect your hands from freezing while climbing up the summit at night in the dark, moreover if you are climbing during wet season.

The above reasons basically answers the questions on what type of gloves that you should choose, but seeing from my personal experiences, the ordinary nylon gardening gloves that I used does not gives you full protection for both conditions. The gloves (at least) could only prevent your hands from rope burn, but not from the cold night climb.
Get your gloves from EMS

However, if you check out any outdoor stores, getting a specialize gloves for this kind of climb can surprise you. The price may be way out of your budget. However, getting a good and proper gloves for your climb may differentiate your climb from “good” and “bad” if weather is not on your side.

Waterproof gloves is quite expensive, but you should consider it among your choices. Belay gloves and rappel gloves is not necessary, but I would recommend it if you are planning to go on via ferrata route. Your hands will thank you if you decided to invest on those kind of glove, as you are going to hold ropes, rocks and metal all the way on the via ferata trail.

You are not going to use the gloves all the way from Timpohon Gate, but only during the second phase of the climb from Laban Rata. It’s a night climb, and the temperature can go down to 5 degree Celcius. Cold weather will makes your fingers numb and cramp, so a good and suitable gloves is almost necessary.

Oh, you could get the ordinary gloves that I used while you are here in Sabah, but bare in mind that the gloves that I used are really not suitable. You should get the proper one, moreover if this is the only time that you could manage to climb Kinabalu!

Verglas Plus Gloves – Women’s by Black Diamond

Legend Glove – Men’s by Black Diamond

Petzl Cordex Light-Weight Belay & Rappel Gloves (Black or Tan)

Metolius Belay Climbing Gloves

Mount Kinabalu via ferrata booking page updates

It has been long overdue. I set up a booking pages for Mount Kinabalu via ferrata adventure together with my existing normal climbing packages few months back. I only managed to put on one package instead of three via ferrata packages that Mountaintorq offers.

Now that I have some time to update the system, I am going to add the other remaining two packages: The Low’s Peak Circuit & The Preamble. While Walk The Torq (the first package) is a “warm up” session of their via ferrata package, the other two packages offers more adventure for you.

The Low’s Peak Circuit (From point A to point C)
You will follow Mountaintorq’s trail down the mountain on Panar Laban Rockface. With this package, you will first summit the Low’s Peak (the highest peak of Kinabalu). And while coming down, a diversion not far from Sayat-Sayat Hut will bring you to this trail.This detour will show you the stunning views and explore hidden corners of the mountain plateau.
This package is suitable for those who NEVER reach the Low’s Peak before and want to get the extra thrill at the same time. First timer should consider this package a bonus – when I went up there 8 years ago, there were no such thing as via ferrata on Kinabalu. Now you can experience TWO adventure in just ONE CLIMB!!!

The Preamble (From point C to point A)
This package will not leads you up to Low’s Peak. It’s a trail that is made in the opposite direction of The Low’s Peak Circuit. While Low’s Peak Circuit leads you down the mountain, The Preamble will leads you up – you will experience the via ferrata by climbing up the route. You will start just after Gunting Lagadan Hut, goes up and ends at Sayat-Sayat, before you go down on the usual Summit Trail back to Pendant Hut.
This package is suitable for those who HAS BEEN up Low’s peak hundreds of time, and not planning to reach the peak again while doing this route. So, for example like me, who has been to Low’s Peak few times, and don’t find sitting on the cold peak with another 100 climbers, jam packed at a very small place, squeeze themselves just to take pictures of their achievement, this is the package to consider.

World’s highest “via ferrata” now on Mount Kinabalu!

While poking through the net, surfing around technorati, I found a very interesting blog post by kenjj about the newest adventure on Mount Kinabalu – via ferrata. So, what is via ferrata?

A via ferrata (Italian for “iron road”. Plural vie ferrate. In German, klettersteig) is a mountain route which is equipped with fixed cables, stemples, ladders, and bridges. The use of these allows otherwise isolated routes to be joined to create longer routes which are accessible to people with a wide range of climbing abilities. Walkers and climbers can follow via ferratas without needing to use their own ropes and belays, and without the risks associated with unprotected scrambling and climbing. – Wikipedia

Via ferrata on Mount Kinabalu

I found out that there is a new company which provides the adventure activities – Mountain Torq – that was just started on September 2007 (only running for about three months). The interesting thing about them is that, they have given Mount Kinabalu climbers other options of activities and accommodations, apart from the usual climb up and down Low’s Peak.

Lucky for me, while checking up their new website on this new thing on Mount Kinabalu, I found out that their main office in Kota Kinabalu is just across the street of my clinic. I went there last Monday during lunch time, and fortunately, I-Gek, their sales & marketing director was there.

We just have an informal conversation on our passion about Mount Kinabalu, and how hard it is to get a slot to climb nowadays. Apparently, they are very busy, as they are going to have their launching ceremony this Saturday, 15th December 2007 at Kinabalu Park.

During that short period of time, I managed to get more information pertaining the climb, the activities and the accommodation that they provide. In summary, these are the things that we ought to know at the moment:

  1. Pendant Hut, Laban RataThey have a newly build hut/lodges on Laban Rata – Pendant Hut, which is non-heated, bunk-beds that could accommodate 30 climbers. This is a good options for climbers who could not get through to SSL for bed. However, they have set their own rule; if you are planning to stay in their hut – you have to, at least, pick one of their activities on their via ferrata, apart from the usual Low’s Peak trip.
  2. They are the only sole provider for via ferrata, equipments and staffs, and they are not related to SSL.
  3. You have three options of via ferrata that you could choose – Walk the Torq, The Low’s Peak Circuit and The Preamble. More coming soon!
  4. As they ONLY provide the activities, you have to book for accommodation in Pendant Hut from their designated travel & tour company. This also means that you still can do their activities although you stay in one of SSL’s huts in Laban Rata.
  5. Having said the above, they welcome ‘Walk-ins’ at either Laban Rata / or at Pendant hut. It will be on a first come first serve basis and weather permitting.
  6. They are the world’s highest and Asia’s first via ferrata located at 3,800m, offers a range of routes designed to match everyone’s ability and endurance.
  7. They did not disclose the pricing structure. You need to contact them to ask for quotations. *Please mention my name/website/blog when you contact them. You may get a special treatment for mentioning it. And they will know how powerful blogging-advertising works!

This new activities has made Mount Kinabalu more interesting than just up-down climb. And I am now working on how to work together with them to promote their activities in my website and blog. Stay tune for more info.

For those who are going to be at the foot of the mountain (Kinabalu Park) this Saturday, 15th December 2007, just drop by their launching ceremony. I won’t be able to be there. Send my regards to them if you happen to crash in their party.

Need I say more? Just check out their photos which I have extracted from their website (I got permission on this. Thanks, I-Gek!). Cheers!

Via ferrata on Mount Kinabalu

Via ferrata on Mount Kinabalu

Via ferrata on Mount Kinabalu

Via ferrata on Mount Kinabalu

Via ferrata on Mount Kinabalu

Via ferrata on Mount Kinabalu

Via ferrata on Mount Kinabalu

Via ferrata on Mount Kinabalu

Via ferrata on Mount Kinabalu

 

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!