Trails to the Top
to the Top I The
Challenge of the Peak I Getting
There I Mountain
Climbing Mt. Kinabalu can be done in 2 days but a more comfortable
climb in 3 days is recommended to fully enjoy the rich biological
diversity. While it does not require special skills to do the climb,
you must at least have the basic fitness level. Park regulations
state that all climbers have to engage the services of a registered
guide on their climb. If you wish, porter through Sabah Parks or
Kinabalu Nature Resorts. You can pay when you register at the Park
The are 2 trails up Mt. Kinabalu and Both meet at Layang-layang.
The Mesilau Trail was just recently opened and offers more opportunities
for viewing flora and fauna. The Summit Trail is the main route
taken by most climbers as it is a simpler and shorter approach.
Starting from Park Headquarters, climbers must walk 4 1/2km. up
to the Timpohon Gate at 1,866.4m. where the Summit Trail starts.
Nearby, lies Carson's Falls where you can refresh yourself. From
here, depending on your fitness level, it is an approximate 4 to
5-hour climb for the day.
The trail winds up a steep staircase of gnarled tree-roots to a
mossy world of drifting clouds and orchid-draped trees, where pitcher
plants and rhododendrons abound. You'll come upon the First Summit
Trail Shelter at 1,981.7m. where on a clear day, a view of the road
that links Kota Kinabalu city to the Park can be seen. The Second
Shelter at 2,081.4m. is your point of entry to the zone of Low's
Pitcher Plant, so look out for these oddly-shaped plants with pitcher
containers. The mossy forest continues on past to Karamborongoh,
where you'll find the Sabah Telecoms Station at 2,252.2m. Interestingly,
the name Karamborongoh is derived from the local plant that the
Dusun people use to ward off evil spirits. The Third Trail Shelter
is further up the ridge.
Layang-layang (Place of Swallows) is where the Mesilau Trail meets
the Summit Trail at 2,740m. As you climb higher, you will pass a
forest of bent and twisted silvery-grey trunks with peeling bark.
At about 3,200m. there's a helipad where you can catch a magnificient
view of the Summit Plateau. Look around for Paka Cave. This was
where the first explorers slept.
Panar Laban - the 'place of sacrifice' - was where Sir Hugh Low
and his local guides performed a ritual sacrifice to appease the
ancestral souls for their 'disturbance' to the spirit world. Nearby
is the Laban Rata resthouse and cafeteria where you'll stay the
night before continuing the climb the next morning.