Mount kinabalu

Old Apr 5th, 2010, 10:09 PM
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Mount kinabalu

Just wanted to know if anyone has climbed Mount Kinabalu Borneo. We are in our fifties (but quite fit) and thinking of going there in November this year. Just wanted to get to know how difficult it really is and if November (early) is a good or bad time to do this. Apart from that any other tips on Borneo would be welcomed
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 12:55 AM
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We climbed Kinabalu about 10 years ago (when I was aged 45). If you are reasonably fit then it should not present too many problems, apart of course from the altitude which can affect some people regardless of how old or fit you may be.

We started in the morning of the first day climbed for most of the day and styed overnight in a dormitory at around 9000ft. (very basic then , but it may have changed!). We arose at 02.30 hrs to commence our ascent to the summit which was obviously in the dark and reached the summit in time to watch the sun rise above the clouds - still one of the most amazing sights from all of our travels!

Is it diificult? Yes but you can do a lot to make it easier by a bit of training beforehand. Lots of walking (over hills if possible), taking the stairs instead of elevators and leg strengthening exercises at the gym will help a lot. There is no technical climbing involved but teh biggest problem I found were the many large "steps" some 2 ft high all along the ascent (hence the rec for leg exercises!).

The altitude will affect you, the question is how much? I had quite a bad headache and was very short of breath towards the end. My wife was not so badly affected.

My main advice would be to take it slowly and steadily and try to ignore the tiny malay guys literally running up the mountain with large boxes of supplies (one even had a refridgerator on his back!).

The final ascent is very steep and in the darkness so take a couple of head torches to keep your hands free. No special equipment is needed but rember that you start the climb in 90f heat and end it in near freezing conditions. We found the following invaluable:
-waterproof jacket
-fleece
-thermal underwear
-gloves
-head torches
-woolly hat
-good boots (worn in!)
-energy bars and drinks

We recently did something similar in the Andes and although the altitude was higher we found it much easier, mainly because we were at altitude for many weeks and really got aclimatised. which is sometheing taht can't really happen on Kinabalu.

The scenery along the way is spectacular staring in the rainforest which gives way to cloud forest, alpine scenery and finally bare rock.
cant help with teh timing but teh following site has a lot of info and you may find something there.

http://www.mount-kinabalu-borneo.com...t-trail-1.html

Good luck
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 03:09 AM
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I'm 62 and attempted it last year. I did no special training but are fairly fit. I was climbing with a young couple I met that day and kept up until about the last half kilometer on the first day. Then I became noticeably short of breathe. When we stopped at Labaun Ratu for the night I started to feel sick. Ended up vomiting several times and did not attempt the summit. The couple I was climbing with had taken tablets for the altitude and commented that their blood was fizzing with the extra oxygen. Should you attempt it? Yes, If you are like me and fail I can assure you that the first days climb is spectacular and a considerable challenge on its own.

I'd like to have another try and would spend a bit longer in Sabah before attempting the climb. I flew in from Australia one day and was on the mountain the next day.

As a bit of trivia, they run an annual marathon up and down the mountain. I think the winner's time is under three hours.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 11:42 PM
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thank you all, for the replies. I got a bit scared when a friend mentioned that her friends were totally recked for several days after the climb as I don't want to spoil the rest of the holiday by doing it. sounds like you both enjoyed it a lot and that is a good recommendation.

Thanks again
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 12:28 AM
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I had a massage the night I came down the mountain, then took it a bit easy the next day. The following day i caught a flight to Sandakan and went on a three day tour up the Kinabatangan river and felt fine. Also I reckon it took me about 500 metres coming down from Labaun Ratu to feel normal after the altitude sickness. One thing I forgot to mention, It is compulsory to have a guide for the climb. These vary tremendously in quality. Nuff said! I did not book in advance but obtained a vacancy the day before at a local travel agency in Kota Kinabalu. This is probably not recommended if you are going to Sabah specifically to climb the mountain.

It is still one of the toughest treks I've done.

If you have any other queries re Borneo don't be afraid to ask. (I went to both Sabah and Sarawak and enjoyed them both.) However, I travel as a slightly up market backpacker so cannot help if you want 5 star hotels!
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 12:44 AM
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You might rethink November for the climb, as that can be rainy in that area in November. See weatherbase.com and other websites. (Beach areas are going to be even rainier, not sure what your itin is.) Even if you get dry weather, due to the monsoon pattern in that area in November, you probably would have more cloud cover in November, which could obscure views from the top

Otherwise, if you do the climb I agree with the above, and lots of good advice from crellston on what to pack. I did the climb a few years ago (when younger, I am now 51) and while the steps do get to you, there is nothing difficult about the walk – you don’t need crampons and won’t be hooked to ropes or anything. It’s just endless stairs. Therefore, I would add one item to the list: a walking pole. I hike in Hong Kong and virtually every trail has here has lots of steps up and down, and I find the walking pole invaluable as a “third leg” to help with a boost up -- and more importantly to soften the impact on the steps on the way down. You can also lean against it when you stop to rest (if I sit down on a trail I may not get up again…). You want a sturdy one with a shock absorber and a full handle like on a cane (not just a small top like on a ski pole). This will help with using it to push up and down. They are collapsible and fit into a suitcase easily. If you can’t find one at home, my guess is that you will also be able to find them at or near the mountain for a good price. (You can buy them in Hong Kong for about US$10 if you are stopping here on your way out to Malaysia.)
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 01:43 AM
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Silverwool is spot on with the advice re getting a massage and the sooner the better! This will really help with stopping the soreness setting in. A lot of people also head to the hot springs for a soak after the descent (I think they are called the Poring hot springs?).

Cicerone also makes an excellent point re the walking pole although I would recommend getting two which is almost like 4 wheel drive for people! We used them for the first time in the Andes and couldn't believe the difference they made. They will certainly help take a lot of the strain off of your knees.
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Old Apr 12th, 2010, 07:38 PM
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great advice. Can't do to much about the november bit. It will actually be the end of October. Was going to ask Silverwool about the Kinabatangan river- we were planning something like that as well - someone recommended Uncle Tan to us. Who did you use? We are not 5 star people either just something clean and reasonably comfortable.

We do have poles so will definitly take them now.

Any other tips what we can do in around 10 days or so in Borneo? Was thinking about trying to go to Mulu National park as well. We need to fly from Kota Kinabalu to Langkawi were we meeting some friends on a sailing boat for a week or so and then fly back to Sydney
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Old Apr 13th, 2010, 12:36 AM
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Mulu is OK but if you are only there for a couple of days then all you will probably have time for a trip to the caves and along the river. a bit longer and you could trek to The Pinnacles . The pinnacles summit trek takes 3 days/2 nights and, IMHO is even tougher than the Kinabalu climb!

If you really want to get off the beaten track then check out the Kelabit highlands really remote but very friendly people and great scenery. We were attendinga naming ceremony there and found it to be one of the most peaceful places we had very been to. The only way in is by light plane (MAS) to a grass airstrip. Some beautiful treks through the countryside staying in longhouses. You could probably organise independently but with limited time it would be best to sort out a guide/tour when in Borneo.
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Old Apr 13th, 2010, 02:43 AM
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I did the Kinabatangan river trip with S. I. Tours.

http://www.sitoursborneo.com

This was the most expensive part of the trip but I thoroughly enjoyed it. They came across as a very well organised outfit with lots of boating and good guides to point out and identify birds and numerous monkeys. (We started with a trip to Sepilok orangoutang rehabilitation centre which would be be a bit disappointing if you had been to Semenggoh in Sarawak first. I felt the latter was a lot better.)

Uncle Tan's has a good reputation and is more backpackerish I think. It was full when I was there.

Are you planning on going to Sarawak as well? If so why not do it first so you can fly straight out from Kota Kinabalu to Langkawi. As cities go I preferred Kuching to Kota Kinabalu except for the scarcity of internet cafes in the former. I'm not a big city man myself. (I'm a Victorian by the way)

Definitely take your poles. The people with them seemed to handle the climb a lot better than those of us without.
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Old Apr 13th, 2010, 07:50 PM
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You are a great help Silverwool. We were thinking about going to Mulu so flying to Kuching would be better you think and then on to Kota and the trekking part. I will look into your SI Tours as well. I know Uncle Tan's is very much no frills.
Thanks again for all your info
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 01:25 AM
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No worries. I did not get up to Mulu. I struck a bad week in Kuching as the Rainforest World Music Festival was on and I wanted to go to that. Have a look at Air Asia for internal flights as they are very cheap and I found them reliable. However they are a budget airline so remember if you miss a connection there will probably be no refund.
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Old Apr 30th, 2010, 10:36 AM
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We did 2 weeks in Borneo Feb last year. We are also in our mid-50's and active. We planned the trip ourselves and loved it. We flew into KK for 2 NTS and then rented a car and drove to Mt. Kinabalu and stayed 3 NTS at Mesilau. This allowed us to do a couple of day hikes on the mountain to see the unusual flora (pitcher plants and rafflesia). We've climbed Mt. Whitney in US before and strongly agree with the advice given by the posters. You also have to take into consideration the heat and humidity. I don't do well in either so I was happy just to do short day hikes.

We returned to KK and stayed next at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. This was great way to experience staying in the jungle. BRL is definitely a luxury lodge and is a wonderful place to stay. We wanted to see an orangutan in the wild and we were lucky enough to see one. We did not go to Kinabatangan because we were worried that the river would be too high in Feb but some people who were on our group at BRL said they saw more animals on Kinabatangan.

We spent the next week in Kuching which I loved. I preferred Kuching over KK mainly for the ambiance. It has more history because it was not bombed and destroyed in WWII. I also loved the food and people. We went to Semenggoh and then stayed one night at Bako National Park. If you are a hiker and want a unique experience - I recommend Bako. The accommodations are very rough but it is part of the experience. At the end we stayed two nights at Santubong which is near Damai. This gave us a chance to spend some time at a traditional village. We returned to KK for our flight home to US.

We used Malaysia Air for internal air because they had more flights that worked for us.
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