KUNDASANG, 16 December 2007: Mountain Torq Via Ferrata, a mountain path (via ferrata is Italian for iron road) which opened here yesterday has been certified by the Malaysia Book of Records (MBOR) as the worldâ€™s highest and Asiaâ€™s first.
It is at an altitude of 3,800 metres on the 4,095-metre Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asiaâ€™s highest summit.
The Via Ferrata, a climbing facility named and built by Adventure Factors Mountaineering Centre Sdn Bhd, would further elevate the tourism industryâ€™s service standard and enhance Sabahâ€™s reputation as a world-class adventure destination, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.
(A via ferrata is basically a long climbing route with permanently fixed cables for protection. Steel rungs are used on steeper sections to keep the difficulty of the climbing moderate).
â€œThe tourism industry is a highly aggressive field as we are also competing with other countries for the same customers.
â€œTo stay competitive, we need to keep abreast of the current and future needs of this ever evolving industry and respond to the demands of the increasingly sophisticated travellers,â€ he said in his speech at the opening of Mountain Torq Via Ferrata at Kinabalu Park here.
The text of his speech was read out by his political secretary Datuk Amisah Yasin.
The Mountain Torq, with various alternative routes, enables people of all ages to enjoy climbing Mount Kinabaluâ€™s rock faces, giving them a chance to view the mountain from different angles, said Eric Wong, Adventure Factors Mountaineering Centre director.
Over the past 30 years, Mount Kinabaluâ€™s climbersâ€™ aim has been to climb up and come down in two days after having conquered the summit.
All they could remember was the gruelling five to eight hours hike up, sleepless nights, trying to catch the sunrise and coming down from the mountain.
â€œWe felt we need to give Mount Kinabalu the respect that it deserves as a full-fledged mountain. So we came up with the idea of developing Mount Kinabalu into a mountaineering centre for Southeast Asia,â€ he said.
Wong said the Mountain Torq Via Ferrata, comprising rungs and cables embracing the mountainâ€™s rock face, allows access to scenic sections of the summit normally accessible only to rock climbers and mountaineers.
Resources: New Sabah Times
Congratulations…Amisah (right) presents the MBOR certificate to Eric