Home | Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu – one of Borneo’s Highlights!

Mount Kinabalu, located in the Crocker Mountain Range in Sabah, is the highest mountain in Southeast Asia (between the Himalayas and New Guinea) and the 20th most prominent mountain in the world by topographic prominence. The summit of Mt. Kinabalu, Low’s Peak, is located at 4095.2 m a.s.l. (6.075° N, 116.558° E). Climbing Mount Kinabalu is one of the most popular requests by visitors to Sabah, Borneo and one of the top ‘bucket-list’ destinations in the world. Read on to find out what makes Mount Kinabalu so special and what is involved in climbing this famous mountain.

Mount Kinabalu, located in Kinabalu Park, has UNESCO World Heritage status and is home to an amazing biodiversity of plants, including rare orchids, the famous Rafflesia and pitcher plants. This means as you trek up and down Mount Kinabalu, you will pass by beautiful plant life, and if you’re lucky, you will see some rare plant species. Mt. Kinabalu and the surrounding pristine forests in Kinabalu Park are home to between 5,000 – 6,000 species of plants, 326 species of birds, and more than 100 mammalian species identified. Wow! The flora changes by altitude with the rainforest found at the lower levels of Mount Kinabalu, between 2,600 to 3,200 m, is a layer of trees, mosses and ferns, and finally, on the higher rocker parts of Mount Kinabalu, many of the world’s richest variety of orchids are found.

Mount Kinabalu, or ‘Aki Nabalu’ as it’s often referred to by locals, holds special significance for Sabahans. Mount Kinabalu has a special place in the local folklore as the local people here in Sabah, Borneo, believe that the souls of their ancestors have gone up the mountain and it holds a special reverence. Sabahans treat Mt. Kinabalu with massive respect and expect visitors to show the same level of respect to Mount Kinabalu too.

Climb Mount Kinabalu with Borneo Dream this summer

Climb Mt. Kinabalu and reach the summit of the highest mountain in Southeast Asia

Currently, there are only 137 climb permits per day issued by Sabah Parks (of which 102 are allocated to International visitors / non-Malaysians). With the massive demand for climbing Mount Kinabalu and limited capacity in terms of permits issued, this does mean trips for climbing Mount Kinabalu get fully booked very quickly. If you are lucky enough to secure a permit to climb Mount Kinabalu, it means you will be one of a very small number in the world who has reached the summit of the highest mountain in Malaysia and in Southeast Asia.

The route for trekking up Mount Kinabalu is well-marked and is known for being challenging. Ranau Trail is the most popular route and trips for climbing Mount Kinabalu follow this trail. Timpohon Gate, located at 1,866m a.s.l in Kinabalu National Park, is the start and ending point for all climbers following the Ranau Trail. The trek from Timpohan Gate to Low Peak’s summit is 8.72km. It is a ~ 6km trek from Timpohan Gate to the Lodges on Mount Kinabalu (Laban Rata Resthouse or Pendant Hut at 3,270 metres a.s.l.), and this typically takes between 4 – 6 hours to complete by Climbers. The first 4km from Timpohan Gate is along a moderately steep trail with stairs and some rocky paths. The last 2km towards the Lodges is entirely rocky. From Laban Rata, the climb to Low Peak’s summit is 2.7 km and takes between 2 – 4 hours to complete, with most of the trek over smooth rock faces (with steep stairs and roped sections).

Climb Mount Kinabalu with Borneo Dream this summer

Book your Mount Kinabalu Climb with Borneo Dream – we provide a Dedicated Mountain Guide Per Booking.

For those who are thinking of climbing Mount Kinabalu, there are two broad choices you need to make to help you choose the best trip for you (based on permit availability, of course):-

  • Whether you go for a 2-day or a 3-day trip, the two days 1, night (2D1N) trip is the minimum time required to complete a Mount Kinabalu climb. If you have the flexibility with your holiday itinerary, we recommend booking the 3-day Mount Kinabalu tour and overnight in Kinabalu Park (1500m a.s.l) before the climb. This allows you to acclimatize to altitude changes and reduces the risk of AMS (acute mountain sickness) while climbing.
  • Choose your type of climbing package – Non-Ferrata (standard trip) or Via Ferrata. Via Ferrata offers an added adventure to your Mount Kinabalu climb, and there are two Via Ferrata options to choose from – Walk the Torq or Low’s Peak Circuit.

Climbing Mt. Kinabalu is an option for those in good physical condition, up for a challenge and with strong willpower. You do not need mountaineering experience; however, remember you are trekking up and down a mountain and not going for a stroll in a park. It is highly recommended you complete a physical training program for 1 – 2 months before climbing Mt. Kinabalu. This will help you get the most from your trek at this amazing location and enjoy the changing scenery and awesome views along the trail.

Watch Sabah awakening from 4095 metres | Sabah

The temperature ranges from a comfortable 20-25°C at the main park to something approaching freezing near the top (depending on the weather), so layering is important and having warm clothing and windproof gear helps you stay warm as you near the Summit. Whilst the trek up Mt. Kinabalu will feel challenging, the trek down back to Timpohan Gate will feel harder due to your legs being tired and the pressure on your knees and joints. The use of walking sticks can provide invaluable support, especially when trekking down Mt. Kinabalu and will make it feel more comfortable.

Once you’ve climbed Mt. Kinabalu, you will have had a fairly challenging workout so expect your legs to be sore for a few days afterwards. Maybe plan some chill-out time after your climb, a nice massage and maybe gentle excises like yoga or snorkelling. You’ll also deserve a hearty meal or two and a celebratory drink ;-).

You’ll find information below on the range of Mt. Kinabalu tours we offer and can help arrange for you. Remember, no visit to Borneo is complete without trekking to the summit of Mount Kinabalu, and it will provide you with memories to last a lifetime! Buy your Mt. Kinabalu Climbing Tour Today!

  • What are the facts about Mount Kinabalu?

    Mount Kinabalu (Malay: Gunung Kinabalu, Dusun: Gayo Ngaran or Nulu Nabalu) is the highest mountain in the Malaysian Borneo – Federal state of Sabah. The mountain is 13,435 feet (4,095 m) and is the third-highest peak of an island on Earth. Being the 20th most prominent mountain in the world by topographic prominence, it makes a great challenge for visitors to tackle. Mount Kinabalu is in Ranau district, West Coast of Sabah, Malaysia. It is protected as Kinabalu Park – World Heritage Site.

    Mount Kinabalu was originally listed at 4,101m tall but after a resurvey in 1997, using satellite technology established its summit (known as Low’s Peak) height at 4,095 m (13,435 ft) above sea level. 6 m (20 ft) less than the previously thought.

    Mount Kinabalu and Kinabalu Park are among the most important biological sites in the world, with between 5,000 and 6,000 species of plants, 326 species of birds, and more than 100 mammalian species identified. Among these are the famous gigantic Rafflesia plants and orangutans – UNESCO World Heritage status.

    • Third-highest peak of an island on Earth
    • 4,095m Tall (1997 Survey)
    • 5,000 to 6,000 Species of plants
    • 326 Species of birds
    • 100 Mammalian species
    • UNESCO World Heritage status
    • Earthquake 2015
    • 7 to 8 million years old

    Experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for yourself on our 2-day Trek Via Timpohan Gate.

  • How to get into backpacking (hiking) if I've never gone before?

    Start by day hiking. Do some reading on the subject; go to a public library and borrow a few books on the subject. Find a mentor; this might be done in a club, or a class or with existing friends who do it. It depends (factors) on your age, available resources, etc.

    I was never a member of the Scouts (a good start, whether as a kid or an adult leader (like a friend (mom) with a son needing male role models)). My first mentor was my 10th-grade biology class teacher (I just saw him yesterday (we’ve known each other 46 years now)). My first-day hike was 16 miles round trip with 4,000 feet elevation gain (you need not take a hike this strenuous; I was 14). Other people and groups are possible (e.g., Sierra Club, AMC, CMC, Mazamas, Mountaineers, ad nauseum; I presided over my high school’s club, the Trailblazers and university 2 terms in our mountaineering club, friends were Trail finders (a school)).

    Get a sense of your limits: walking distance, elevation gain, and time (your most important outdoor resource). Take lunch (from your reading, you should get an idea of what to take). Avoid buying too much of anything. It’s not about the gear. In time, it’s generally a good idea to learn to push your limits (but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves yet).

    Some people take courses like Outward Bound or NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School). This is not necessary, but some people like this. The whole topic of what’s called outdoor education is controversial.

    Start slow: walking, buying things, learning. Pick things up by slow progression. You will not learn (much) by reading or lecturing. It’s about putting 1 foot before another and experiencing.

    Try car camping. Learn to sleep on flat ground. Learn about and minimize sleeping bags (learn to borrow or rent if possible), foam pads, and tents (handling environmental conditions like rain). Learn about camp stoves (do learn to prime, but you can also use other warming methods). Learn to do evening things in daylight like a tent set up. A mentor watching over you (should not necessarily be an instructor (course work)) can help critique you.

    Then, finally, work up to one overnight night hike. (I only did car camping later.) My first overnighter required walking 8 miles in with 4,000 feet of gain to 11,500 feet (and I think we had to carry most of our water in). My teacher also brought his young son (maybe he was 10). You don’t have to do a hike this seriously. Very windy summit (a little hard to sleep), and I was back a month later (2nd overnight hike). My 3rd overnight went to the top of Mt Whitney (14.5K ft) (twice, over a weekend, with my #2 mentor).

    Repeat – Take a first aid class and CPR. Pick up other skills like a river crossing. Practice with a map, compass, and GPS separately. Realize that it’s not what you learn in a class but what you retain in the way of problem-solving. Transition to winter (learn to ski, not snowshoe). Learn what to pick up in the way of skills and gear. Learn to minimize (this is mathematically called the knapsack problem (what you place on your back)). Make new reliable friends. Travel the world.

    Avoid adventures. Avoid drama. The last thing you want to deal with is dead bodies. Real dead bodies (friends have). Jedi don’t crave adventure, and neither should you.

    Taken from https://bit.ly/3FWQN5z – This article was written originally by Eugene Miya, who has been a climber and trekker since 1970s

  • What it’s actually like to climb the via ferrata on Mt Kinabalu

    Latin for ‘iron way’, a via ferrata is the bridge between scrambling and climbing. It requires very little equipment and a good head for heights. Unlike climbing or bouldering problems, a via ferrata is a route marked out by metal rails and rungs embedded into the mountain. It’s easy to follow and a great way to tackle otherwise impassable cliffs and ledges. Whether you’ve done it before or are planning a new adventure, these are eight things that you need to know about via ferratas.

    An alternative via Ferrata on Mount Kinabalu is Low’s Peak. This can be climbed by a person in good physical condition, and there is no need for mountaineering equipment. Climbers must always be accompanied by accredited guides due to national park regulations and may experience altitude sickness.

    Why not join experienced tour guides on our Mount Kinabalu Climb via the Ferrata for a memorable two days.

  • Is Mount Kinabalu, in Sabah, an active volcano?

    The very simple answer is no. Mount Kinabalu is a huge granite mountain or dome (pluton in geographical terms). That was uplifted above the surface about 7 to 8 million years ago due to the Magma intrusion and collision from the crustal plate movements. That was a long time ago. This non-volcanic mountain was not formed from smoke and lava. In fact, the birth of Mount Kinabalu is a result of long, dramatic and complex geological processes in different stages, which began about 40 million years ago.

    BACK STORY – On 5 June 2015 at 07:15 MST, the area around Mount Kinabalu was damaged by an earthquake. Eighteen people, including hikers and mountain guides, were killed by the earthquake and a massive landslide that followed it. Ranau and many parts of Sabah West Coast were affected, and Donkey Ear’s Peak was heavily damaged.

    Six days before the earthquake, around ten western tourists (comprising six men and four women from Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) “stripped and urinated at the mountain (which locals believe has angered the spirit at the sacred place)”. The tourists also allegedly shouted vulgarities when they were told to desist by their mountain guide, but this was later dismissed by the judge in their trial.[citation needed] This provoked outrage among certain Sabahans, who want all of the alleged offenders charged in native court and forced to pay the “sogit”, a type of compensation given in the form of money or livestock, to appease the aggrieved party according to local Kadazan-Dusun customs. It is imposed on wrongdoers for the purpose of appeasing “the aggrieved”, thus placating the community. However, as most of the detained tourists have been released from Malaysia’s prison and escaped the native court, the local villagers had to perform their own rituals. Following the incident, some of the tourists and their families expressed their apologies to all involved parties, and the government of the United Kingdom began to review its travel advice for Malaysia.

    The back story was taken from Wikipedia, the link to the article https://bit.ly/3PWilwl

    To experience the beauty and magnitude of Mount Kinabalu yourself, why not book our 3-day Climb package via Timpohan Gate.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top