Home » Mount Kinabalu FAQ
Mount Kinabalu is one of the tallest and most famous mountain in the South East Asia, bringing thousands of climbers from around the globe to scale this awesome mountain.
Where is Mount Kinabalu?
Mount Kinabalu is in Kinabalu National Park, which is about 90 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu city of Sabah, Malaysia. Major airlines fly direct into Kota Kinabalu, such as AirAsia, Singapore Airlines, Brunei Airlines, etc
How high is Mount Kinabalu?
The highest summit is the Low’s Peak, which is 4095 meters (13,435 feet) above sea-level and all climbing package route will take climbers to the highest peak.
When would be the best time to climb Mount Kinabalu?
Mount Kinabalu is open all year round to its climbers. Best months to do the climb is from February to August as these months has the least rainfall, however as Sabah is close to the Philippines we do get torrential rain whenever our neighboring country has its typhoon. When it comes to mountain, do expect passing showers and best come prepared for the weather with raincoat, jacket and waterproof bag.
Why are there several different Mount Kinabalu climb packages offered?
All climbers booked for the Mount Kinabalu climb will take the same route, which is from Timpohon Gate to Panar Laban. Panar Laban, is where all the mountain accommodations are located. Practically the packages offered are based on the accommodation that the climbers are staying in.
Laban Rata Resthouse – is known or referred to as ‘Normal Climb’ where the main restaurant is attached to. Therefore it is convenient to stay in Laban Rata as climbers could have their meals (dinner, supper and breakfast) at the attached restaurant.
Pendant Hut – is referred to as ‘Via Ferrata Climb’ where climbers have an added advantage to join the via ferrata activity, which is done after the summit climb and the climbers would meet at the via ferrata checkpoint to participate in the activity. For climbers staying in Pendant Hut, they would need to go to Laban Rata restaurant for the buffet dinner, whilst supper and dinner are served in Pendant Hut itself.
On the via ferrata – there are two level of via ferrata that the climber can choose to book, one is the Walk The Torq (WTT) and the other is Low’s Peak Circuit (LPC) which is more intermediate. Here’s the link for the differences between these two activities.
Kinotoki Hut – is referred to as ‘Budget Climb’, this hut is fully managed by Sabah Park, with lower rates compared to Laban Rata and Pendant Hut. The accommodation is basic dormitory with beds and blankets provided, there is no hot shower and all meals are to be taken at Laban Rata restaurant. Therefore climbers has to commute back and forth for all their meals when booking to stay in this accommodation.
Lemaing Hut – is referred to as ‘Malaysian Budget Climb’ this hut is fully managed by Sabah Park, and are only offered to Malaysian nationality holding MyKad ID. The accommodation is basic dormitory with beds and blankets provided, there is no hot shower and all meals are to be taken at Laban Rata restaurant. As the same, climbers has to commute back and forth for all their meals when booking to stay in this accommodation.
What is via ferrata?
Via ferrata is an Italian word meaning “iron road”, it is a mountain activity route with series of rungs, rails and cables attached to the rock face. Using harnesses and carabiners, climbers are secure to the cables for safety, to the crux of the via ferrata (a steel cable) that runs along the route and anchored at regular intervals to the rock face. Via ferrata can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of their climbing experience. inexperienced climbers a safety means to transverse precarious cliffs and enjoying the dramatic views and thrills of mountaineering. There are more than a few hundred via ferrata routes around the world but most of them are situated in the Alps. The via ferrata in Mount Kinabalu is the first via ferrata in Asia and also the highest via ferrata in the world. There are two different routes which correspond to two different levels of difficulty; the beginner level route – “Walk the Torq” and the intermediate level route – “Low’s Peak Circuit”.
What is the difference between “Walk the Torq” and “Low’s Peak Circuit”?
Walk the torq, or in short is referred to as WTT starts at 3,520 meters and ends at 3,411 meters is an introductory route, which would be ideal for beginners and those who would like to have some fun activities after the summit Mount Kinabalu Climb. The highlights of Walk the Torq activities include the twin cable Monkey Bridge, the Tyrolean Traverse and the Balancing Beam.
Walk the Torq details:
Length of route 430 m
2 hours to complete
French grade PD
Highest point 3,520 m above sea level
Low’s Peak Circuit, or else referred to as LPC starts at 3,776 meters and ends at 3,411 meters is an intermediate route designed for those who are physically fit and seeks for further adventure. The total length of the route is 1.1 km with a vertical height traverse of 365 meters (not recommended for those with height phobia) and takes about 4 to 5 hours to complete the whole route. The LPC route is an extension of the WTT route, in addition it has some steeper descends, obstacles like a suspension bridge and the 3-cables Nepalese bridge.
Low’s Peak Circuit – LPC
Length of route 1.1 km
4 hours duration
French grade AD
Highest point 3,776 m above sea level
When should I book the trip?
Since there are limited slots to 150 permits in a day issued by the Kinabalu National Park and Mount Kinabalu is one very popular destination in Borneo, therefore best to book the climbing slots at least 2 to 4 months in advance, especially if your intended travel dates are fixed to during the holidays or festive seasons.
What is a climbing permit?
Each climb permit is a slot that will guarantee you a bed space. There are a total of 133 climb slots in a day (70 for Laban Rata, 33 for Pendant Hut and the other 30 for Panarlaban Hut, and this is actually equivalent to the total number of beds available in accommodations.
What is a normal 2 days Mount Kinabalu climb like?
On day one you will be picked up from Kota Kinabalu City, which usually is around 6.30 am, once at the Kinabalu National Park HQ (1,800 meter above sea level) the registration and climbing ID has been given out, next all climbers will be shuttled to Timpohon Gate which is the starting point gate for the 6 km hike to the mountain huts (3,272m). For the second day, you will wake up early in the morning around 1.30 am for the remaining 2.85 km summit hike for a chance to see the sunrise, (if you are booked for the via ferrata, the activity takes place after the summit climb) later you will trek back to your mountain hut for breakfast, then descend back to Timpohon Gate where you will be transferred back to the Kinabalu National Park and then back to the city.
How tough is Mount Kinabalu hike?
The first 6 km of the trail is moderately steep wide trail, that has medium to big steps, from Timpohon Gate to Panarlaban area (where all the accommodations are). The trail is well defined with distance markers at every 0.5 km interval. For the comfort of climbers there are shelters for climbers to rest, and toilets along the way. For the second day hike to the summit, the first 850 meters is via rocky steep stairs and steps while the remaining 2 km are over smooth granite surface. The summit trail route is marked by guided ropes which can be used as climbing aid all the way to the summit.
How difficult is it to climb Mount Kinabalu?
Climbing Mount Kinabalu requires good stamina, but anyone in reasonable shape should be able to do the climb. There is no technical climbing skills needed, a good preparation like cardio workout, running or step climbing 2 months before the climb would definitely helps.
How cold can it get at Mount Kinabalu?
At night the temperature inside the mountain accommodation is about 10 to 15 degree Celsius. While the temperature at the summit trek can be below 10 degree Celsius and sometimes may even drops to freezing point.
What clothes should I bring for the Mount Kinabalu climb?
The first day of the hike, leggings or track pants would be good for the hike. Do wear multi-layers for your top, a quick dry t-shirt, and have a jacket that you can easily put away once it started to warm up. Do have a poncho or raincoat handy in your daypack in case if it rains. As for the second day of the trek, in higher altitudes you will need to have at least 3 layers on to protect yourself from the cold weather. The first layer is a quick dry synthetic material shirt (either short or long sleeve), next a good quality fleece jacket as the second layer and finally a windproof jacket as the outside layer. As for the pants, you can opt for waterproof or windproof trekking pants, you will also need a pair of gloves, a beanie and compulsory to have a headtorch.
What shoes are recommended for the trek?
A pair of good running shoes or trekking shoes with good traction. You may also choose to have mid or high-cut shoes for better ankle support.
Do I need a trekking stick for the hike?
A hiking stick is an aided advantage to have especially for the descend, as after two days of climbing your legs muscles started to feel the strain and having the walking sticks will helps to reduce the strain on your joints when going downhill. Hiking sticks can be rented from the Kinabalu National Park Headquarters at RM15 per stick.
How much drinking water is needed for the trek?
You should have at least 2 litres of water for each day of the hike, and you can get to refill your water at the Laban Rata restaurant.
What are the accommodation and facilities like at the mountain huts?
There are three types of accommodations at the mountain (Panarlaban), Laban Rata Resthouse, Pendant Hut and Kinotoki Hut. Laban Rata and Kinotoki provides bunk beds and blankets, as for Pendant Hut they have bunk beds and sleeping bags. Hot showers are available at both Pendant Hut and Laban Rata Resthouse, not at Kinotoki though. Meals are provided at the Laban Rata Restaurants and those staying at Kinotoki will take all meals (dinner, supper and breakfast) at Laban Rata Restaurant, Pendant Hut provides, their own supper and breakfast only dinner you will need to commute to Laban Rata Restaurant.
Can I get high altitude sickness from Mount Kinabalu climb?
Mount Kinabalu is high enough for climbers to get acute mountain sickness (AMS), as the altitude of the mountain accommodations where climbers stay for the night is considered high (at 3,270 meters). Common preventive measures include taking altitude sickness medication and to pace yourself well throughout the climb.
Do the mountain guides and porters speaks English?
Yes, all the guides and porters are able to speak basic English. Since we all have certain accents, the guides and porters would appreciate if you are to speak clearly and slowly.
What are the porters fee rates?
Porter can be hired on the spot at the National Park HQ; prior booking is not required. The porter fees are:
|Destination||Minimum Weight (kg)||Rate|
|Timpohon – Panarlaban||10||RM65.00 per way|
|Panarlaban – Timpohon||10||RM65.00 per way|
|Timpohon – Sayat Sayat||10||RM75.00 per way|
|Sayat Sayat – Timpohon||10||RM75.00 per way|
|Timpohon – Summit||10||RM80.00 per way|
|Summit – Timpohon||10||RM80.00 per way|
Minimum porter fee is at 10 kg, and with any additional weight from this will be charged based on rate per kg. These prices are endorsed by the national park.
Where can I store my extra luggage?
There is a luggage service at the Kinabalu Park Headquarters, which is at RM12 per piece of luggage. All luggage kept here will be given a claim tags, issued by the lodges, which you need to keep for luggage claim after your climb.
What is an appropriate tipping for the mountain guide?
Tipping is highly encouraged especially for good services by your mountain guide, a guide of around RM50 to RM100 to the guide for the two days of climb is acceptable.
Are there mobile phone signals at the mountains?
At most part of the trail from the Timpohon Gate towards the summit, there are several good coverage points for you to get phone signals.
What does the insurance covered?
The insurance that comes with the mountain climb covers, accidental from the climb activity only. Therefore, we strongly recommend climbers to buy an additional travel insurance to protect themselves further, for instance lost of items such as camera, money etc and trip curtailment due to missed flight connection and many more that travel insurance covers.
Outback Venture is a specialized Borneo Tour company based in the heart of Malaysian Borneo’s most accessible and diverse tourism region Sabah , Kota Kinabalu. Fully licensed with extensive first-hand experience from a team of local insiders, we craft bespoke adventures that will help you make the absolute most out of your precious time…. and live out your wildest dreams.