Mount Kinabalu, located in the eastern side of Malaysia is the highest mountain in Malaysia. The tallest peak, Low’s Peak (4.095 meters above sea level) is named after the first ascender Huge Low. There are two main routes usually done by the trekker, Timpohon Gate (6 km to Laban Rata) and Mersilau (8 km to Laban Rata).
I haven’t hiked for the past one year and I’m gonna do Mount Kinabalu which is pretty crazy (I didn’t do any exercise as well). I did Mersilau route, the longer and more challenging route. Somehow, it is considered to be an easy hike for me because I didn’t have to bring all my hiking gear like all I used to bring when I hiked, and the route is shorter.
So ya, if you ask me how hard is it to climb Mount Kinabalu, I’d say it’s pretty easy. How long does it take to climb Mount Kinabalu? Generally it’ll take 2 days 1 night. From basecamp to Laban Rata, it took me around 7 hours in total.
Mount Kinabalu’s Hiking Trail
The most common route for hikers is through Timpohon Gate. You’ll pass through several shelters:
- Kandis Shelter (1,981 m)
- Ubah Shelter (2,081 m)
- Lowii Shelter (2,267 m)
- Mempening Shelter (2,516 m)
- Villosa Shelter (2,691 m)
- Paka Shelter (3,080 m)
- Panar Laban – where the lodges are (3,272 m)
- Sayat-Sayat Hut (3,668m)
- Low’s Peak (4,095 m)
Second option is via Ferrata, a special mountain pathway for more thrilling experience. Here you need to use some equipments, know basic technique cause you’ll have to walk through this steep path on the ridge.
Read Also: Climbing Jade Mountain in Taiwan
My climbing experience
My first ten minutes hike were hell exhausted! I felt like my heart bursting out from my body. My breath was out of control and I stopped a lot. Well, that’ just my first 10 minutes. I forgot that my body machine was the slow-heated type. Once I got warm, I walk really fast even I left my guide behind, haha.
Mostly the trek was ascending, only the trek from third to fourth stop was a bit slope. Some parts are built from wooden stairs and the path can be really seen. The rest point has drinkable water tap and toilet.
Here is my timeline:
starting point-stop 1: 9.30-10.00
stop 1- stop 2 : 10.00-10.30
stop 2- stop 3 : 10.30-11.00
stop 3- stop 4 : 11.00-11.30
stop 4- stop 5 : 11.30-12.30
stop 5- stop 6 : 12.30-13.15
stop 6- stop 7 : 13.15-13.30
stop 7- stop 8 : 13.30-14.30
stop 8- Laban Rata : 14.30-15.30
I stayed in Lemaing Hut in Laban Rata, a newly built rest house which is super cheap compares to Sutra Lodge or Laban Rata. You can call +60 88 889095 or +60 17 8380345. It consists of two rooms. Each room can be occupied by sixteen people. Hot shower is available but don’t expect it to be hot. It’s still cold though even with the heater. The bed was okay with a thick blanket. I took a quick freezing shower, ate my food that I’ve brought and fell asleep.
Read Also: Tips for Hiking Mount Rinjani, Lombok
2 a.m, that’s what my guide instructed me to wake up. I got ready, preparing my torch, jacket, and gloves. I looked outside and it was raining. I was worry a bit because my guide told me if it’s raining then we couldn’t go up. I went to Laban Rata Hut, people were busy taking their breakfast, chatting and waiting for the next instruction. Still, the rain hasn’t stopped. I looked at the clock, almost three. At that moment, I was kindda hopeless. Mount Kinabalu is the most expensive mountain I hiked for so far, so it’ll be a real disappointment if I failed to get up there, but again I thought, safety is priority.
3.30 a.m., some of them had left to their room, some of them went outside, I think their guide allowed them to climb. My guide asked me if I want to try. There was a point where rope is used to climb because it’s too steep. If you let go the rope, then you’ll fall and die maybe.
The rain nearly stop. I climbed all the stairs up until I reached the rope part. I didn’t use headlamp, I had torch in my hand and it’s kindda disturbing me especially the rope part. I was nervous, I stopped few times and let people pass because it’s very steep, I don’t really like high place. The wind blew strong, it was a struggle. Ten steps, stop, ten steps, stop.
Finally after two hours I made it. Yay!
I almost cried in happiness but thanks my guide interfered me, “take picture, then we go down”. It broke the moment, but I didn’t cry, so thanks.
Going down is much easier, the plateau rock is not slippery. The view was really nice, some hills and the city can be seen, and of course, cloud ! I could only rest for a while before going down to Timpohon Gate. I took me four and a half hour to go down from Laban Rata to Timpohon Gate. I didn’t like Timpohon route because it’s all stairs. So that’s the end of my journey in Mount Kinabalu.
Climbing Mount Kinabalu without tour
Thank to my friend Jeffry who helped me book the accommodation in the new rest house, Lemaing Hut. I didn’t join any tour so I did it by myself, helped by my friend Jeffry. He drove me to the registration point, two hours from the city. There are buses going to the registration point from Kota Kinabalu.
How much does it cost?
1 night accommodation : RM 100 (Lemaing Hut)
Permit : RM 107
Transport from Timpohon-registration point: RM 16.50 (one way)
Guide : RM 143 (from Mersilau)
Conservation fee : RM 3 (they thought I’m Malaysian, non-Malaysian RM 10)
The guide can be shared up to 4 people actually, price for Timpohon Guide is cheaper than Mersilau. You may also join other people and share the guide’s fee, will be cheaper. They also provide food coupon RM 150 for three times buffee meal. I didn’t take that one because it’s too expensive for me, so what I did was bringing food from the restaurant down there. The rest house provide water heater so bringing instant noodle, coffee sachet is also a smart idea.
Booking in advance is a must, because the accommodation is limited. Good luck !
Traveled in 20-21 August 2014
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