Climbing the Terrain (Part 1: Ascending)

Step-by-Step Terrain of Mount Kinabalu:
From Kinabalu Park Headquarters to Laban Rata

  • The first 3 km is an easy climb. It is not steep. However, do not rush, walk at a consistent speed that you will not pant.
  • Bring one set of dry cloth in your backpack in case you reach Laban Rata hours earlier than the porter who carry your luggage.
  • After KM 3, be aware of your body response toward altitude sickness, i.e. headache, dizziness, vomiting, loss of balance, etc. As altitude sickness commonly occurs above 2,400 meters (8,000 feet), which is approximately at KM 3 onward.
  • From KM3 onward, the slope becomes steeper.

Calculation of slope for each KM of walk. The higher the value the steeper the slope becomes. For instance, the slope from KM3 to KM4 is 0.30 which is steeper than the slope value of 0.22 from KM 1 to KM 2.

  • Last KM before reaching Laban Rata is long and tiring. The road from 5.5KM to 6.0KM seems never ending.
  • Generally the trail from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata is safe. You will not slipped and fell off the trail or fell off the cliff. The climber walks on jungle trail most of the time. There is no cliff. At times, there are wooden fences on the trail that next to a slope.

(For those who live in Klang Valley and have chance to climb Bukit Gasing: Climbing from Kinabalu Park Headquarters to Laban Rata is not more difficult that the last 300 steps of Bukit Gasing. The trail before reaching Laban Rata is just like Gasing trail, except for the last KM. In the last KM of Summit trail, you walk on stones/rocks.

The trail is tiring as the road is long.)

Follow the link to see all the terrain photos of Summit Trail from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata.

From Laban Rata to Sayat Sayat
  • As you can see from the table above, Laban Rata to Sayat Sayat 6KM to 7KM is the steepest part of the climb. 
  • First half of this 6KM - 7KM summit trail is okay. The climber just walks up wooden staircases and stones.
  • It can be tiring as the climber is climbing this part of the trail at 2.00 am before dawn.
  • In the second half of this 6KM - 7KM summit trail we need to follow and hold a white rope. Normal carefulness will be good enough. At one very short stretch of trail, we need to use both hands and legs.
  • Ensure guide is around at the steep angle area before passing this area.
Night climb before reaching Sayat Sayat Checkpoint.

How it looks like in the daylight.

From Sayat Sayat to Summit

  • Sayat Sayat is the last toilet stop, don’t miss this toilet as it is still a long way to reach Low's Peak and back to this check point.
  • All climbers must reach Sayat Sayat Checkpoint before 5am to be allowed to continue their climb. The gate closes at 5am. 
  • The stretch right after Sayat Sayat is the most difficult part of the climb. The slope is steep and the air is thin (only 62% of oxygen available at sea level). Many people reported to have thought to give up.
  • After 8km, all the way up. It is easy to sprain your ankle on  the steep slope if you are not careful.

Step-by-Step Terrain of Mount Kinabalu: