Mount Kinabalu Summit - Borneo, Malaysia




When unexpected extended holidays had us searching for new places to travel to, we came across Sabah on the island of Borneo in Malaysia. We did a quick google of things to do and climbing Mount Kinabalu, (the tallest mountain in all of Southeast Asia) was one of the top things to do! We were very excited and did some research on how to summit it. We found out Kinabalu Park only gives out 120 permits for the 2D1N Summit daily. With booking this trip 4 days prior to going, we quickly got in contact with one of the climbing companies that have the rights to summit the mountain and luckily got the last two park permits on days we were in Sabah!!


Coming from the Philippines (with beach clothes in our backpacks) left us scrambling to find some winter gear seeing as the summit rings in at a chilly 0 degrees with heavy winds. We also were required to have headlamps as you start the ascent to the top at 3 in the morning! It was quite the hunt on a tropical island for winter gear, however we found the bare necessities for a pretty cheap price after shopping around.


This last minute decision to summit Mount Kinabalu was pretty incredible, challenging and rewarding! We were picked up at our hotel at 6:30 in the morning and driven two hours to Kinabalu Park Headquarters where we met our guide and got our mountain passes. We started the hike at an elevation of 1866m above sea level. The first leg of the hike was a 6 kilometre trail to the base camp, an increase in elevation of 1406m (almost the equivalent of 3 CN towers). During our hike we saw numerous porters hiking supplies up to base camp (the only way to bring things to base camp), some of them were carrying as much as 80kgs on their backs. They do this everyday, we were super impressed!! We slept the night at base camp and woke up at 3 a.m. to start the ascent to the summit, which was a 3km trail with an elevation gain of 823m. It was dark, chilly and challenging the whole way to the summit where we waited at 4095m, to see the sunrise. This is the highest place on earth we’ve ever been, the views and feelings of accomplishment were priceless.


After watching the sunrise and taking in all the views above blankets of clouds, we started our 3km decent (we were pretty cold) back to base camp to have breakfast and a short rest before the 6km trek to the bottom. We hiked a total of 18 + kilometres and a total elevation gain of 2.3 km, straight up and we had to walk it back down (jello legs lol). Safe to say we slept well that night.


Enjoy!


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