Experience Via Ferrata at Mount Kinabalu

This is my first Mount Kinabalu via Ferrata Experience. Ferrata means Iron road and it was initially build to ease the movement of soldier during world war 1. Europe has the most number of Ferrata route but Kinabalu's Ferrata was the highest in the world. In this post, you can see a lot of pics starting from bottom (Pondok Timpohan) till the peak of Mount Kinabalu including the Ferrata route. (Low's Peak Circuit).

All the photos were taken by me using DMC-FZ28. copyright no reserved :D feel free to take :D

tips- on apparels.
1 wind breaker or water proof clothes, 1 coat,1 polyester t-shirt, 1 tights, 2 track bottom, 2 stocking, snow cap, gloves.

Panoramic View from the Pendant Hut. In the picture : Laban Rata Hut
View during the Via Ferrata Low's Peak Circuit.
Early Morning view at the Summit Kinabalu @ Low's Peak .
Another view from the Low's Peak.

I climbed Mount Kinabalu during my last semester holiday :D
I went there with my best friend : Lew Chun Wai

We booked the expedition last minutes (around 1-2weeks). "Via Ferrata" It is not the normal one because the normal one is fully booked. (RM1200 per person)
The normal one requires 6months advance booking.
Here is some of the great experience :D

Kinabalu Park,

you will see a big sign board-(information about Mt. Kinabalu)

The NOTICE - before climbing :

The journey now begins :)
The Pondok Timpohan. First Check Point.

We start hiking to Laban Rata at around 9am.

Below pic shows a note at Pondok Kandis, the first shelter after Pondok Timpohan. "Pondok" means "shelter" in Malay Language.

Estimated that every 0.5km -1km, there is at least one shelter. Every shelter has toilet and water tank. (untreated water)
No need to worry about toilet, Mt. Kinabalu provide a toilet every 500-1000m. Normally, people shit and pee inside bushes when climbing.... but this time pee in toilet :D and no longer in the wilderness.

The so called untreated water is not safe to be drink, if we think logically. However, I think it should be no problems to drink untreated water. Just make sure that the water is clean (white in color). The reasons why the authority put the sign untreated water is to tell that "DRINK AT UR OWN RISK!"

Climbing Mt. Kinabalu is not as hard as you think. it's just bout climbing stairs
Many stairs to go :P
WTF ? how many stairs I need to climb somemore ?
My tour guide, he is SHE ! haha.. I was expecting a Man. but nvm... she still so great :P

I am taking a rest :P - what to do .. I "tayar pancit" already.
This is me myself.

Throughout the journey, there are many porters carry stuff.
Porters are from nearby area. Most of them are ethnics.
This one carry Tong Gas ~~~ around 40kg :P
They will earn around RM2.50 for each KG they carry to Laban Rata.
There are also young porters but I couldnot manage to take photo of them.
The young porters don't carry much weight as they just beginneer. Most probably they are earning part-time money.

Along the way,

Taking some rest :P
We met friends from our hometown (Negeri Sembilan). They are senior citizen but still actively climbing.Me and my friend Chun Wai.

Chun Wai's Leg start to cramp :(

Lucky got Yoko-Yoko. (muscle cramp reliever)

Reaching high, you will notice something different in ur surronding.
The path way no longer is soil but more to stone and granite. The folliage no longer a tall tree but just moderate size green tree with thick leaves. ( pokok renek )

The house. I think it is a gathering place for Porters and also a place to store some stuff.
May be for emergency use.6.0 KM to reach Laban Rata, and now we are at 5.0KM. Means that there is another KM to go.. Damn happy..

Reaching Laban Rata.

Laban Rata in near view. But that is not the place that we going to stay at. Because it is fully booked. (6 months advance booking is required)
Pendant Hut from Far. ( The shelter for Via Ferrata Climber)Pendant Hut in near view. ( Newly build)

At Laban Rata, we can see some Via Ferrata participants. It is " Walk the Torq" seems difficult and challanging :)
This is me, taken at Laban Rata Empty Ground.

Below few pics show what inside Pendant Hut. haha.. I taken all Pics inside the Pendant hut.

Below is me, it's very cold at Laban Rata. around 10 celcious. Even though I am inside the Pendant Hut, I still shivering.

And the view from Pendant Hut.

Met new friend from Germany.

Briefing about Via Ferrata. How to use the equipments properly.

There is a strict rule on VIA FERRATA. You need to reach the summit Mt. Kinabalu before 6.30am and reach the Via Ferrata starting point before 7.30am. Else, you will be left behind and there's no VIA FERRATA for you. (FORFEIT)

In other words, Via Ferrata is for people who are fit because you need to reach there latest by 7.30am. This is due to the safety purpose as the rocky surface is very slipperly when raining.
During the time I went to Kinabalu ( June), the weather trend was sunny in the morning and then rain in the afternoon (Continously for many days). On the first day, it rain at around 12pm.... I ended up wet upon reaching Laban Rata :)

Below is inside Laban Rata. We dine at there. It is Buffet style. A lot of FOODS !! and all the FOODS are damn NICE !!!There's lot of people inside Laban Rata.

There are public phones inside the LABAN RATA HUT.

I slept at 6.30pm and then wake up at 2.00am.
The journey start at 2.30 am.
It takes me approximately 3 hours to reach top. Distance from Laban Rata to Peak is 2.5km.
I did a rambo stuff... I left my friend Chun Wai behind because he is slow. At first, I was waiting for him... as I waited long... I decided to continue my journey.
I taught I am far behind of my schedule.... thinking that I need to reach summit before 6.30am.....

I walked alone.. but luckily there is a rope guiding my way. If not, I must have lost.

I met Seremban Uncle along my solo journey. But later, I found that I could not go along with their speed because I am tired. Imagine you being blocked by a people till you left behind and then you are chasing till the front line. I am exhausted.

Later I found out that I was early... if I decided to continue my pace. I will be reaching summit at around 4-5am.... So...what I did is.. I rest more along the last few meter.
Enjoying the Starry night...
At Mt. Kinabalu, I enjoyed the most beautiful night. The sky was full with STARS. The sky was clear and filled with a lot of diamonds.
Reaching the summit too early is not a good idea because it is cold and will get colder if you did not move around.

I finally reach the summit at around 5am. Not much people at there.. 2 Germany guy, 2 Seremban Uncle and 2 Guider.
That time was Dark. I could hardly see my surrounding. Luckily there was a safety rope that prevent falling down.
This is the signboard indicating that " you finally reach Low's Peak"
There is a metal box at the summit, I dunno what is the purpose, but I just take the picture :D

Below is some of the picture taken by long shutter. I put the camera on rocks and captured the scenery.
The rock on the right showed a gorilla face. It is called Gorilla Peak.
Upon reaching 6am-7pm..... there's more people reaching the summit.

There are really a lot people climbing Mt. Kinabalu. You can see the crowd come and go.

UGly sister's Peak

oooo0000OOOOO Nothing special.... you climb and you reach top like others. and enjoy the crowded peak... lolx... haha

The warning sign. No trepasser for non-via ferrata climber.
Preparing for Via Ferrata. :D
Stopped by to enjoy some view :D while Ferrata-ing . haha

I saw the Laban Rata Hut and Pendant Hut while ferrata-ing. haha

and also helicopter landing base :D
Low's Peak Circuit.
Highlight of Via Ferrata, The HANGING BRIDGE ! haha ! Chun Wai seems to be very confident with that :D
I could hardly take a picture because I am afraid that my camera might fall down.
The second highlight of the Low's Peak Circuit . Single Line ~.~
My Leg was trembeling until I walked very fast until pulling Chun Wai.... I wonder why Chun Wai walk very slow, since he told me that he is not afraid :D
Via Ferrata took my time around 4hours. but I believe if everyone is fit for it... It just took around 1 hour to 2 hour to complete it . It because each person was tied to another person. As a result, nobody leaves nobody.

Chun Wai seems to be exhausted and it's clear that he did not prepared for Mt. Kinabalu. Anyway, he still did a great JOB !

Below are some landmarks along the route to Mt.Kinabalu. I taken those photos so that I could remember what to Look for when Climbing Mount Kinabalu.

Mt. Kinabalu not hard.. I just rate it normal even though it was categorized as GRED A mountain in Malaysia. There are much harder mountains in Malaysia.

Below pics are some Nice Folliage in Mt. Kinbalu.
Sometime, if you walk alone, you could see some beautiful birds. I manage to capture the picture of the birds. (see below)
See the picture properly, there was a bird eating the flowers.
Top 2 pictures show the Mesilau - Timpohan Junction. Mesilau trail is less common and 2km longer. The Timpohan trail is the one that I went. However, on Jan2010... I will go to Mount Kinabalu again by using Mesilau Trail which is more quiet and has more wonderful scenery.

The journey decending took me 2 hours while my friend take 4-5hours to reach...
Walking alone is terrible but walking in the darkness even worse.
When I was walking alone, sometime I heard some sound and sometime I will be thinking of other things... it's very scare. However, it still a great experience to me.

Climbing certainly test a relationship. I saw an Indian Family where as the Father left his family behind with the guider and walked alone same like me myself left Chun Wai behind .... I guess that not much people would wait for people that delaying you.

However, it is my trend not to wait people because I don't like to walk in the dark in Jungle ! unless if I have no choices.

Luckily, the tour guide was together with Chun Wai.
Later in the evening. the rain came and send regards to Chun Wai :D............... zzzZZ
haiz... but anyway... Chun Wai still able to make it.. he have very strong mentalilty.

I reach the Timpohan at 4.30am... but too late... The Timpohan Corner close at around 3pm :D

The World Toughest Mountain Race 4095.2m
Men Open
FIRST - AGUSTI ROC AMADOR from ESP (2 hours 44 min 47sec)
SECOND – TURO MIYAHARA from JPN (2 hours 49 min 01 sec)
THIRD – YOKOYAMA TADAO from JPN (2 hours 50 min 18 sec)
Women Open
FIRST – FAVRE CORINE from FRA (3hours 17 min 19 sec)
SECOND – DANNY KUILIN CONGOT from MAS (3hours 36min 14 sec)
THIRD – KAMBARA YURI from JPN (3hours 37min 2sec)
Men Veteran
FIRST – GUIANUS SALAGAN from MAS (3hours 12min 48sec)
SECOND – SARUN SADI from MAS (3hours 19min 41sec)
THIRD – MITSUO MORIOKA from JPN (3hours 21min 28sec)
Over a thousand species of orchids grow in Kinabalu Park. They display a variety of life styles. You can see some growing on the surrounding tress. Others sprout from the ground.
Over 26 species of Rhododendron trees grow in the Park. Their bright red, orange, or yellow blossoms are common sights as you climb.
I have a nice camera and that camera size were just nice to bring for expedition and vacation.
Mount Kinabalu is worth going place and it has the WORLD HIGHEST VIA FERRATA.
The via Ferrata Asia is handled by Mountain Torq.


~`w!L`Li@m'~ said...

Hey cool!! I will be climbing Mount Kinabalu next year May. Your post came on the right time! How much did you pay to climb it?? And is it necessary to bring lots of food there? What about clothing?? Perlu winter clothings kah? From the look of it, it is not very difficult right? So, if I am not so fit like you, should be ok is it? Hehe..... :D

Lai Kok Soon said...

take it easy :P . I paid 1200 for via ferrata low's peak circuit.. the via ferrata price is around that...

I also going back Kinabalu in JAN.... 1150 include white water rafting at Padas, Manukan Island Trip, and Kinabalu, and all the accomodation along with the air ticket.

not necessary to bring much food but bring energy bars - banana , chocolate, sweets.
estimate that you going to eat one every 1-2hours.
5 hours climb to Laban Rata.. another 3hours to Top. get minimum 4... :P

bring 1.5 litre if you are the type that drink a lot water. or else 1 litre will do fine.

need clothes. at least 2.. 1 thick ..winter clothes will do fine... temp at Peak is around 0-5 celcious.

You can buy rain coat the Pondok Timpohan. RM4 if not mistaken. One use.

If you think you need a walking, then you buy. OR ELSE don't waste money buy.
Personally I prefer my hand empty while climbing :P

S-e-a-n said...

what i was amazed - you still able to take so many pic while climbing the mountain.

Anonymous said...


i love your blog. it is really useful for people who loves to travel.
i am also travel lover.. read your blog. reminds of my trips... :)

keep it up for ur traveling

nr said...

can u give me the details for the agent that u used for the lows peak circuit

Post a Comment