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Home » Mount Tambuyukon Pt 1

Mount Tambuyukon Climbing (Part 1)

Lying 12 km to the north of Mount Kinabalu, cloaked in cloud and mist, Mount Tambuyukon at 2579 meters (8462 feet) is the third highest mountain in Sabah and Malaysia. Sabah is home to Malaysia's three highest mountains. Mount Kinabalu (4095 m or 13,436 ft) is  well-known as the highest point in South East Asia between the Himalayas and the mountains of New Guinea; it is famous for the sheer majesty and grandeur of its granite peaks and its immense biodiversity. Mount Trusmadi (2642m or 8669ft), the second highest peak, located in Tambunan district, and Mount Tambuyukon in Ranau district are much less frequented because of their remote location.

TambuyukonMount Tambuyukon, a twin peaked mountain which, from a distance, looks like the double hump of a buffalo immersed in murky waters, lies between the boundaries of Kinabalu Park. Climbers, therefore, need to obtain permission from Sabah Parks to ascend this mountain.

Our group on Tambuyukon  The ascent begins at Kg. Monggis on the eastern flank, a 2-hour drive by gravel road from Ranau, best done in a sturdy 4wd vehicle. There are two trails to the summit, one from Kg. Monggis, and the other, from the Parks substation less than a km away from the village. Many climbers prefer to use the older trail from the village on the way up, its gentler gradient making the ascent that much easier. The trail from the substation, cut recently by Sabah Parks, is more challenging because of its many ascents and descents and river crossings. Both trails coverage at 5000ft the location of the second camp.

Kampung MonggisKey fact about Mount Tambuyukon
Location: Kinabalu Park (Ranau & Kota Belud districts)
Height: 2579 meters (8462 feet); third highest mountain in Sabah and Malaysia
Highlights: Summit flora of Nephentes, Orchids and Rhododendrons
Status: World Heritage Site; protected under Sabah Parks
Base: Park sub-station at Kg. Monggis
Duration of Expedition: 4days and 3nights

Monggis substationAnd so it was that over a long weekend during the Deepavali-Hari Raya holidays, I and two friends, George Ng and Liaw Yun Haw, made the ascent to the summit of Tambuyukon. George and Liaw, regular outdoors men, who have climbed Kinabalu many times and also been up Trusmadi, were making their maiden ascent of Tambuyukon. I was making my sixth ascent. Our climb was organized by TYK Adventure Tours Sdn. Bhd., run by Tham Yau Kong, the well known nature tour specialist of Sabah. Junik, ranger from Sabah Parks and two guides from TYK, Maik Miki and Duin Limondok guided our party. Three youngsters from Kg. Pinawantai, Wasidi, Samuel and Juais assisted us with porterage.

The second summit of TambuyukonWe left Kota Kinabalu on Deepavali day and drove to Kundasang, where we hired a 4wd to Kg. Monggis. After a brief stopover at Ranau to buy some provisions including fresh vegetables, we drove straight to Monggis. The road to Poring Hot Springs reaches a T-junction, where the left turn leads to Poring. We took the right turn and reached the junction where the gravel road to Monggis starts. It is another 1.5 to 2 hours ride from here to reach the kampong. On the way, at Pinawantai, we picked up the Park Ranger and porters, who were waiting for us at the roadside.

Upon reaching Monggis, we informed the substation of our arrival and commenced our ascent at 1pm by the older trail. This trail, which follows the ridge line of one of the northern buttress of Tambuyukon, has been in use since the sixties when Kinabalu Park was established.

We arrived at the first camp, a small plateau on the ridge at 3500ft elevation, in three hours, and halted here for the first night. The camp sites surrounded by huge 200ft tall trees. A small stream in a valley below the camp site served as the source of water. At night one can her the drone of cicadas and the calls of wild deer.

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