MOUNT KINABALU

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Mount Kinabalu Climb Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQs about Mount Kinabalu

Where is Mount Kinabalu?


Mount Kinabalu (Malay: Gunung Kinabalu) is a prominent mountain on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. It is located in the east Malaysian state of Sabah and is protected as Kinabalu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.




How high is Mount Kinabalu?


The summit of Mt Kinabalu, Low’s Peak, sits at 4095.2M (13,435ft) above sea-level. Mount Kinabalu is the tallest peak in Malaysia & Borneo Island. It is also the 20th tallest mountain in the world by topographic prominence and is one of the highest peaks in the world that is easily trekked by most people.




What is the best season to climb Mount Kinabalu?


March to August is considered the best season to climb because of the dry season. However, as we are referring to tropical rainforest, passing showers and heavy rain are expected and a common sight at any time of the year. Moreover, the world climate has changed drastically, it is really hard to predict the weather, and hence it is still good to climb all year round.




Is it safe to climb Mount Kinabalu?


Yes. Apart from ‘Act of God’ incidents, as long as you listen to your mountain guide’s instructions and stay on the track, there is less risk of suffering any injury and/or accident. There are reported incidents where climbers lost their way, injured themselves or lost their lives on the mountain, but note that these usually happens when they leave the marked trail on their own and/or get deviated from their group.




What is Panalaban?


Panalaban is the pit stop or the base camp where climbers will take a rest before proceeding for the second part of their Mount Kinabalu Summit climb journey. It is located between 3,230 to 3,323 meters above sea level. Panalaban base camp houses a cluster of assorted huts such as Laban Rata Resthouse, Pendant Hut, Gunting Lagadan Hut, Lemaing Hut etc. These assorted huts provide overnight accommodation for climbers, inclusive of shower facilities and meals (Hot meals is only available on Laban Rata Resthouse).





FAQs on Planning A Climb

How long does it take to climb Mount Kinabalu?


The climb takes a minimum of 2 Days and 1 Night. Usually, the first day trek starts in the morning via Timpohon gate (about 5-7 hours) to Panalaban for an overnight stay. The second ascent to summit starts 2am on day two where climbers get to catch sunrise around 5.30am at the Low’s Peak summit. After which, return to Panalaban directly (if not participating any Via Ferrata activity) for check out and descend straight to Timpohon gate. You will then be transferred to Kinabalu Park HQ. After collecting your climb certificate, depart for Kota Kinabalu City or other desired destinations.




How many days should I spend on my Mount Kinabalu climb trip?


We recommend 3 Days 2 Nights. It would be advisable for climbers to stay overnight in highland areas (Kinabalu Park 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 descend day from Mount Kinabalu?


Arrival time is very subjective as it all depends on the climber and their group physical fitness. A reasonably fit climber can reach Timpohon gate from Panalaban 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. MountKinabalu.com will not be responsible for any losses incurred due to missed flights.




Should I purchase a Personal Travel Insurance plan?


Yes, you are strongly encouraged to purchase a comprehensive personal travel insurance policy for the duration of the trip from your own country; to cover against Personal Accident, Loss of baggage, Delays, Unexpected alterations to travel arrangements, Cancellation, Act of God, Emergency Medical Evacuation, Infectious diseases, Epidemics, Terrorism etc. Although all our Mount Kinabalu climb packages include a personal accident plan by Sabah Parks for all climbers, the coverage and claim value is very limited and subject to approval by Sabah Parks Authority.




Should I book my flight ticket first or book & pay my mountain climb slot first?


It is advisable to always check the availability of Mount Kinabalu climb slots and get a booking confirmation from us first before booking your flight tickets.





FAQs on Age & Fitness Level

What is the age limit to climb Mount Kinabalu?


There is no age limit for who can climb Mount Kinabalu, as long as you are in good shape, good health status or you have sought approval from your doctor if you are on any medication. Amazing Borneo Tours has served thousands of climbers ranging from 7 to 80 years old. We do however, suggest young children to be at least 10 years old due to numerous 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?


Though there is no physical health checks done in Kinabalu Park upon registration, we strongly recommend all climbers to have themselves medically check before attempting to scale Mount Kinabalu. If you are pregnant or have a history of suffering from the following 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 get in the way of a pleasant experience.




Do I need any special skill or bring any special equipment to climb Mount Kinabalu?


Not at all. Climbing Mount Kinabalu is indeed a big adventure, but no climbing skills or equipment is needed. Climbing Mount Kinabalu involves several flights of stairs, just being equipped with a good pair of trekking shoes, waterproof jacket, head torch and gloves is enough to get you far. Anyone reasonably fit and healthy can scale, hike, trek and climb with confidence. Regular exercises will give you an added edge in attempting a successful climb. Please refer to the "Important Info For Climbers" page .




How physically fit should I be to do the climb?


It takes a minimum of 2 Days and 1 Night to scale Mount Kinabalu. Day 1 kicks off bright and early via Timpohon Gate, a 5 to 7 hour brings you up to 11’000 feet above sea level for an overnight stay. The second day is slightly more to the technical side – there are parts where you will need to hold onto ropes at an angle of about 15 – 20 degrees inclination. If you are able to climb a flight of 12 story staircase up and down few times in a day with not much difficulties, that’s good enough to prepare you for Mount Kinabalu.




How bad are the effects of high altitude?


The effects of Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Syndrome (AMS) differs for every individual, regardless of fitness level. Climbers may experience light-headedness or mild headaches, while some climbers will suffer from nausea or vomiting. The symptoms vary, but it includes dizziness, fatigue, confusion, difficulty walking and feeling extremely ill. If you seem to be experiencing any of these symptoms, stop doing any physical exertion immediately and be sure to take deep breathe. The most important tip is to keep yourself hydrated. Return to a lower elevation if you are suffering badly and the symptoms do not subside. Seek medical assistance from your guide and he will advise you where to move on from here.




How do I prevent High Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Syndrome (AMS)?


Three (03) Important Rules to Remember: - Drink a lot of fluids to keep hydrated. - Acclimatize to altitude gradually by spending a night at highland areas before the day of your ascend. - Avoid rapid ascents. Trek at a normal pace and rest at shelters along the way. It is advisable to rest longer for acclimatization at Layang Layang hut (2702M a.s.l). You may want 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. You would also want to purchase a portable oxygen inhaler bar, which helps with 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.





 

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