COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON MOUNT KINABALU: How long does it take to climb Mount Kinabalu? The climb takes a minimum of 2 Days 1 Night. Usually, the first day trek starts in the morning via Timpohon gate (about 5-7 hours) or Mesilau gate (about 6-9 hours) to Laban Rata base camp whereby you shall stay overnight. The next day, your ascent to the summit (Low’s Peak) shal start at 2am where climbers get to catch sunrise around 5.30am at the summit. Later on, after you had satisfied with the beautiful scenery at the mountain, you shall return to Laban Rata directly (if not taking on any Via Ferrata activity) for check out and descend straight to Timpohon gate. You wil then be transferred to Kinabalu Park HQ. After col ecting your climb certificate, depart for Kota Kinabalu City or other desired destinations. Can I do a day hike up to Mount Kinabalu Summit? Yes! You can do it only if you think you are super fit. There are only 4 such daily climb permits. Climbers must comply with several health criteria and timing. Other than that, normal climbers will have to do the usual 2 Days 1 Night compulsory climb itinerary with us. How many days should I spend on my Mount Kinabalu trip? We recommend 3 Days 2 Nights. It would be advisable for climbers to stay overnight in highland areas (Kinabalu Park, Mesilau or Kundasang town) prior to the actual climb. This is to allow high altitude acclimatization and reduce risk of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). What time am I expected to reach Kota Kinabalu on the day of descend from Mount Kinabalu? Arrival time is very much depending on the individual climber and their group physical fitness levels. A reasonably fit climber can reach Timpohon gate from Laban Rata base camp between 11am – 2pm. Most climbers reach between 1 – 3pm. We have also served climbers who arrives Timpohon gate as late as 10pm. In addition, the total time taken from Timpohon gate to Kinabalu Park HQ for certificate collection and onward to Kota Kinabalu city is approx. 3 hours. Can I catch my flight on the same day I descend from Mount Kinabalu? We do not recommend climbers to rush to the airport on the same day of descent from Mt Kinabalu. There is a high chance that you might miss your flight due to several reasons and unforeseen circumstances. Slow in your descent, injury, landslides, traffic congestion, vehicle breakdown & etc. We will not be responsible for any losses incurred due to missed flights. When should I start to book a climbing trip? You should start booking as soon as you have decided to climb. Although it is often said that it’s better to book your Mt Kinabalu climb slot 3-6 months in advance, however, it is still possible for us to accept any last minute bookings though subject to availability.
How do I know if my climb slot and permit are confirmed & secured? Deposit wil be required before the stated due date given by our sales coordinator once reservation has been made. Usually we must receive payment within 2-5 working days to have your climb slot & permit secured. Otherwise, it will be automatically released from our climb booking system to other guests in queue. Full payment is required if your climb date is less than 30 days at time of booking. Once payment is received, we will issue a payment receipt before your tour starts as reference. What personal particulars are required for climb permit application? We would need your passport name in full, passport number for Non-Malaysian, IC number for Malaysian, nationality, date of birth and contact number (if available). You should return withed form to us ASAP or no later than 14 days before your climb date (except for last min booking). Failure to do so, the Via Ferrata climb operator wil impose a RM100 penalty fee per climber for any late submission, which we have no control over this. Can I change climber’s particular? Yes. An administrative fee of RM50.00 per climber will be imposed for any name change on revision of non-Via Ferrata climb permit & RM100.00 per climber for Via Ferrata climb permit. Do I real y need a climb permit to climb Mount Kinabalu? Yes, a climbing permit issued from Sabah Park Authority is compulsory. One needs to wear the climb permit (visible) ID tag at al times throughout the climb as you wil be checked periodical y at certain check points. The total number of climb permits equals the total number of beds available at Laban Rata base camp. What is the maximum number of climbers al owed per day and why? Sabah Park al ows only 121 Non-Sabahan & 25 Sabahan climbers per day. Therefore there are only a total of 146 climbing permits given out daily. This is for safety related issues, so they could help to oversee on climbers’ safety upon ascending to Low’s Peak summit in total darkness. It is also to ensure the summit climb is not overcrowded by climbers. Do I real y need a mountain guide even though I’m an experience climber? Yes. Sabah Park safety regulations require al climbers/hikers to be accompanied by a licensed mountain guide from the local Mountain Guide Association. The ratio is at least 1 mountain guide to a maximum of 6 climbers. Do we have our own mountain guide? We do not mix different groups of climbers together for sharing of mountain guides. All individual or group booking will have their own assigned mountain guides according to guidelines set by Sabah Park. As such, you or your group may trek at your own pace and trek safely. Who can climb Mount Kinabalu? Any age limit? There is no particular age limit for Mount Kinabalu climbers. As long as you are in good health status or you have seek approval from your doctor if you are on any medication. We have served thousands of climbers ranging from 7 year old to 80 year old. However, we suggest young children to be at least 10 year old due to the numerous uneven steps and steep slopes. Similarly, elderly climbers need to be in good health and fitness level to attempt the climb. Are there any health restrictions for climbers? Although there are no physical health checks done upon registration in Kinabalu Park, it is recommended that all climbers should have themselves medical y checked before attempting any mountain climb. If you are pregnant or have a history of suffering from the fol owing ailments, it is highly recommended that you should refrain from climbing: Hypertension, Diabetes, Palpitation, Arthritis, Heart Disease, Severe Anemia, Peptic Ulcers, Epileptic Fits, Obesity (Overweight), Chronic Asthma, Muscular Cramps, Hepatitis (Jaundice); or any other disease which may hamper the climber. You know your body best! Do I need any special skil s or equipment for the climb? No. Although Mt Kinabalu is an adventure destination, you do not need any special climbing skil s or equipment. Climbing Mt Kinabalu is akin to climbing up endless flight of stairs and equipping yourself with a good pair of walking/trekking shoes, waterproof warm jacket, head torch & gloves are good enough. Anyone that is reasonably fit and healthy can attempt the climb with confidence. Remember to do regular exercises as this will give you an added edge in attempting a successful climb. How physical y fit I should be to do the climb? The mountain climb takes at least two days, the first day being relatively straightforward – 6km of uneven steps up to 11’000 feet above sea level, the second day being slightly technical – climb to the summit with ropes at an angle of about 15 – 20 degrees inclination. If you are able to climb a flight of 12-storeys staircase up and down few times in a day with not much difficulties, which means you are ready! How bad are the effects of high altitude? Altitude sickness or Acute Mountain Syndrome (AMS) affects every individual differently and is regardless of fitness level. Most climbers will experience lightheadedness or a mild headache, while a small percentage of climbers will suffer from nausea or vomiting. The symptoms of AMS vary for different people but include dizziness, fatigue, confusion, difficulty walking, rattling breath and feeling extremely il . If you experience any of these symptoms, avoid physical exertion and breathing too slow and too shal ow. Most importantly is to keep you hydrated by drinking lots of water. Return to a lower elevation if you are suffering badly and the symptoms do not subside. Seek medical assistance from your guide and he wil advise you where to move on from here. How do I prevent altitude sickness or Acute Mountain Syndrome (AMS)? Keep the 3 golden rules in mind. 1) Drink a lot to keep hydrated 2) Acclimatize to altitude gradual y and it is advisable to spend a night at highland areas before ascending Mount Kinabalu 3) Avoid rapid ascents by trekking at a normal pace and resting at the shelters (pondoks) along the way if needed. It is advisable to rest longer for acclimatization at Layang Layang hut (2702M a.s.l).
You may wish to take altitude sickness tablets, Acetazolamide (Diamox) as a prophylaxis. This drug has the effect of increasing acclimatization rates; improving periodic breathing; and helping climbers to recover from AMS more quickly. Please note that Diamox is a prescription drug and a doctor should be consulted about proper dosages. Alternatively, you may wish to purchase a portable oxygen inhaler bar (MYR 35-45) in Kinabalu Park stores, from your mountain guides or in Laban Rata Resthouse should you worry on suffering from AMS. The main cause of these sicknesses is a lack of oxygen; breathing oxygen with the aid of the inhaler will slow their onset and may provide some temporary relief of symptoms. This is extremely useful to all climbers regardless of your fitness level. Simply approach our team for more information or purchases. Can I stil climb Mount Kinabalu during bad weather? Yes, at least to Laban Rata base camp. Most of the hike up to the Laban Rata base camp is on a proper track with uneven steps. Therefore, this should not be affected too much on rainy days; moreover there are several shelters along the 6 km track. The concern falls on the early Low’s Peak summit climb as on occasions when it rains badly with strong wind, the climb to the summit would be stal ed or probably cancel ed depending on how extreme the bad weather is. Most of the time if the weather is bad and the summit trail is not official y announce closed by Sabah Park Authority, climbers can stil continue to ascend if they sign an indemnity form on the spot as requested by the Park Rangers. Final decision still lies with the Sabah Park official should they decide to close the summit trail for safety reasons. Based on average statistics, total closure of the summit climb happens about less than 8 times a year. Do I get a refund if the summit or Via Ferrata activity is closed due to extreme bad weather? No refund shal be made for such cases and we do not profit from it either. This is due to FORCE OF NATURE and also for your own safety reasons. Generally, you could still ascend to Laban Rata base camp and overnight with meals. However, in a very rare case where you are not even allowed to start your trek from Timpohon/Mesilau to Laban Rata base camp due to unforeseen circumstances like closure of the trails, 40% refund will be made to you by us. If I am injured/sick during my climb, what should I do? Please inform your mountain guide immediately. He will access your condition and make proper decision if you should continue trekking or be sent back to Kinabalu Park HQ. Emergency rescue team will be alerted and they wil carry the badly sick/injured down at no charge. For minor injuries or other reasons, you can be charged RM300/KM for the porter team to stretcher/carry you down or up the mountain. Not al such cases can be claimed under the Sabah Park climber personal insurance. You are advised to purchase your own travel insurance separately for better coverage. I notice there are helipads in Mount Kinabalu, can we hire helicopter services? In-fact, Mt Kinabalu region is a no-fly zone. Even in many emergency cases that involve life threatening situation, helicopter services may not be engaged. Visibility in this area could pose a potential risk to pilot’s & passenger’s lives as the climate changes often without warning. Visibility can be near zero and flying in this condition would be extremely dangerous. What does Sabah Park’s climber personal accident insurance cover? Provision of Sabah Parks Climber’s Personal Accident Insurance by PIB:- Death/Disablement RM50,000 Medical Expenses Per Accident RM5,000 Repatriation Expenses RM2,000 Note: As the default claim value is limited and may takes up to 2 months to process. It is advisable for climbers to purchase separate travel insurance in your own country for a better coverage. What preparation or training do we need to climb Mount Kinabalu? A routine of walking up hil /staircase for at least 2-4 weeks before the actual climb should be adequate as a basic training preparation for this mountain climb. Where can I store my extra belongings/bags as I do not wish to bring them for the climb? At the Kinabalu Park HQ, there is luggage storage service which is chargeable at RM10 per piece. They wil give out luggage claim tags and you will need to safe keep for claiming your bags back after your climb. Is accommodation in Laban Rata assorted huts heated or include sleeping bags? There are no longer heated facilities in Laban Rata assorted huts, except private room 1, 2 & 3 (at Laban Rata Resthouse) due to power cable breakdown in year 2009. Anyway, the temperature inside the huts (Approx 12-15 degrees Celsius) is stil comfortable enough for stay as bed linen and blankets are provided. Sleeping bags are not required although they are provided only at Pendant Hut for Via Ferrata climbers. Is there any water heater for shower in Laban Rata assorted huts? Water heaters for shower are only available in Laban Rata Resthouse private room 1, 2 & 3 and at(all Via Ferrata climb packages). But be prepared to encounter some electrical failure at times. What is the temperature like? The temperature inside Laban Rata assorted huts/Pendant Hut is approx 12-15 degree Celsius and at Low’s Peak Summit approx -3 to 5 Degree Celsius. It is advisable to have at least 4 layers of clothing including windbreaker for summit ascend. What is the cost of hiring a porter? Porter Fee (OPTIONAL) From Timpohon gate to Laban Rata @ RM10/Kg From Timpohon gate to Sayat-Sayat @ RM11/Kg From Timpohon gate to Summit @ RM12/Kg From Mesilau gate to Laban Rata @ RM12/Kg From Mesilau gate to Sayat-Sayat @ RM13/Kg From Mesilau gate to Summit @ RM14/Kg *Minimum weight commitment is 10Kg. Any weight less than 10Kg will still be charged at a min. 10Kg rate. **Rates stated are for reference purposes only. Please confirm with porters on their day of services. ***All payments are made directly to the porters in cash. Wil the porters trek along with me? No. Porters, unlike mountain guides, wil carry your belongings and walk non-stop to Laban Rata base camp and wait for your arrival. Therefore, please do not ask them to carry items that are considered handy to you during your climb. The tip is to pack 2 separate bags; one is for the porter to carry straight to Laban Rata base camp, the other personal bag containing your necessities (e.g. water, lunch pack, energy bars) wil be carried by you throughout the climb. What much water should I bring? Most climbers actual y need about 1.5L-2L from Timpohon to Laban Rata. It may be less than you think you would need. This may due to the humidity and passing shower along the trek. Anyway, a 500ML drinking water will be provided in your packed lunch. A refillable water bottle is useful as you can refil unlimited supply of drinking water at Laban Rata assorted huts/Pendant hut. Can I refil water at the shelter/pondok along the trails? Yes. The water stored in the tank is natural spring water. However, the untreated water may not be suitable for weak stomach. You can consider bringing your own water purification tablets or simply stick to your bottled water. What can I expect in the packed lunch? The packed lunch may differ periodically but usually, it includes – sandwich, hard boiled eggs/fried chicken, local snack, fruit and a bottle of 500ml mineral water. Can I have vegetarian menu? Our standard vegetarian menu is mostly based on ovo-lacto vegetarians. It can be easily accommodated in most areas; options typically leave out the meat rather than adding vegetarian mainstays such as tofu, beans, or nuts. Vegetarianism is a concept our country is stil learning to comprehend. Please note that unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that special requirements can always be met for other types of vegetarians. In tour packages where meals are served buffet/set menu style, we suggest that you leave out the meat or other things you do not eat. QUESTIONS ON VIA FERRATA CLIMB: Is Via Ferrata the same as rock climbing?
No. Via Ferrata is not the same as rock climbing. Although they both occur in the same area and the same
environment, Via Ferrata climbing is easier than rock climbing and do not require you to have any previous
experience. Who can climb a Via Ferrata?
Almost anyone. Climbers and non-climbers aged between 10 and 70 who are fit and healthy, not afraid of
heights, and want to experience the mountain in a whole new way. Oh and by the way, you also have to be
at least 1.3m in height! Do I need any climbing experience?
Absolutely not! If you can climb a ladder, you can climb Mount Kinabalu Via Ferrata. Walk The Torq or Low’s Peak Circuit Via Ferrata activity is more suitable for me?
wil be the best option for beginners. If you would like to participate in the world highest
Via Ferrata which is the Guinness World Record holder,wil surely be the choice. Can I miss the pre-activity briefing conducted the day I arrive?
All Via Ferrata climbers are required to attend the mandatory pre-activity briefing and familiarization
session. The sessions start between 3pm and 4pm. Late arrivals wil not be considered eligible to
participate in the activity the next morning. This is for your own safety, be it if you are a first time climber
or an experienced mountaineer. Do I get a refund if I miss or skip the Via Ferrata activity?
No, there wil not be any refund/compensation given if you miss or skip the Via Ferrata activity due to
various reasons such as personal, health, bad weather, summit closure & etc. We do not and never profit
from such situations. Timpohon or Mesilau trail for Via Ferrata climb package?
is the best choice. We strongly do not recommend guest to ascend viaif they
are booked on the via ferrata itinerary. This is because the route is longer, and guests may have a higher
chance of missing the mandatory briefing times. Kindly note that no reimbursement wil be accorded, if
guests miss the cut off times for the safety briefing & is not able to proceed with the Via Ferrata. Is there someone to guide me?
Yes! You and your group will be assigned a Via Ferrata trainer. The trainers are there to give you a full
safety briefing and training on how to use the safety devices. They are also there to climb with you,
provide tips on how to negotiate the more difficult obstacles, as well as highlight some of the spectacular
sights along the way. Can I climb the Via Ferrata without a trainer?
No. Due to Sabah Parks’ regulations, Via Ferrata climbers are to be accompanied by a Via Ferrata trainer at
all times. Is the Via Ferrata trainer only for me / my group?
Depending on the size of your group, you wil have to be prepared to join other Via Ferrata climbers.
What is the maximum number of people who wil be climbing the Via Ferrata with
There will be a maximum of 6 climbers for Low’s Peak Circuit and 10 for Walk the Torq. What time do I start my Via Ferrata activity?
The start time is between 5:30am to 7:30am Where do I meet my Via Ferrata trainer for the activities?
On the day of your arrival, the trainers will meet you at Pendant Hut where you will undergo a mandatory
briefing and familiarization session starting between 3pm and 4pm. There, you will be told the exact
meeting point and meeting times for the activities that you’ve signed up for and a practical session with
the full Via Ferrata safety gear will be provided. What does the Via Ferrata activity package include?
- Free rental of all safety devices: harness, lanyard and helmet
- Via Ferrata familiarisation for all participants
- Guiding services of the Via Ferrata trainers Are the activities safe?
Yes! Via Ferrata activities are carried out under a safe and controlled environment. With a proper system
of routes, devices and an experienced trainer to guide you, Via Ferrata climbing allows anyone to
experience the exciting chal enge of this sport under the safest of conditions. Regular safety checks and
maintenance are also conducted on the Via Ferrata equipment. So al you need to do is focus on enjoying
yourself. Can I bring my own camera?
Yes of course! But remember to keep your camera inside a backpack as you run the risk of dropping onto
and injuring fellow climbers below. Your trainer will advise you on areas where it is safe and ideal for you
to bring out your camera to take photos. We also suggest that your camera is fixed to a safety sling or cord
at all times. Where is the accommodation for Via Ferrata climbers?
All Via Ferrata climbers will stay in the well managed Pendant Hut at Laban Rata base camp. It will be in
dormitory style with individual sleeping bags provided. Where do we have our meals?
You wil have your continental breakfast & supper in Pendant Hut. Day 1 buffet dinner in Laban Rata
Resthouse. Day 2 lunch wil be provided on descending arrival in Kinabalu Park. I want to climb Mount Kinabalu Via Ferrata. How do I book this activity?
To ensure that you get a guaranteed space, we strongly encourage advanced bookings. You can make a
booking for Via Ferrata activity by sending an enquiry toestborneo.com.my. We will endeavor to
reply to your enquiry within 48 hours or whenever possible. What do I need to bring?
Via Ferrata operator Mountain Torq will provide all technical safety equipment required for its activities.
As for personal items, please refer tofor a checklist of what you will normally bring for
I s s u e 1 7 , O c t o b e r - D e c e m b e r 2 0 0 5 Goto www.wddty.com. And cal me for the info sheet I Hope you al had a beautiful summer; we have had a very busy summer and look forward to the winter, staying warm indoors and sharing with you al . We are in the process of setting up a formal complementary health practice at home. We wil be giving Jin Shin In the last newsletter I wr