Mount Kinabalu is Borneo's tallest mountain. You can climb to the top of Low's Peak (4,095.2m or 13,435.7ft above sea level). Mount Kinabalu is not as high as Mount Everest, or as dramatic as snow-capped Mount Fuji, or as treacherous as China's Gongga Shan. However, mountaineers and naturalists agree that it is unequaled for the variety of its wildlife and landscapes. The giant granite, rocky peaks of Mount Kinabalu are impressive, even compared with the world's greatest mountains.
Mount Kinabalu is one of the most accessible mountains in the world and no specialized mountain climbing skills are required to ascend it. The summit trail is described as a 'trek and scramble' trail. The oldest person to reach the peak was 80 years old. However, to successfully complete the climb requires good fitness and acclimatization to the thin air at the higher levels.
Climbers must be accompanied by accredited guides at all times due to national park regulations. There are two main starting points for the climb: the Timpohon Gate (located 5.5 km from Kinabalu Park Headquarters, at an altitude of 1866 m), and the Mesilau Nature Resort. The latter starting point is slightly higher in elevation, but crosses a ridge, adding about two kilometres to the ascent and making the total elevation gain slightly higher. The two trails meet about 2 km before Laban Rata.
Although it is possible to climb to the top and back in less than four hours, most climbers take two days to ascend and descend Mt Kinabalu. The eight-kilometer climb generally starts from the Timpohon Gate near park headquarters (1800m), with an overnight stay at one of the guest houses at Laban Rata (3273m), before pushing on to the summit early next morning. Mt Kinabalu's summit is usually reached in time to view the sunrise. By mid-morning the mist begins to roll in, obscuring the breath-taking views. Climbers then descend the mountain, stopping for some breakfast at Laban Rata, then generally reaching the park headquarters by mid-afternoon.
Climbing weather is best around the month of April while November and December bring more rain. The temperature ranges from a comfortable 20-25Â°C at the main park to something approaching freezing near the top at night (depending on the weather). Bring clothing appropriate or else you will get cold and be miserable. If possible, climb during the full moon as it helps illuminate the white rope that marks out the climbing path.
Getting to Mount Kinabalu is easy - the park headquarters are only a 2 hour drive from the city of Kota Kinabalu (capital of Sabah).