<Kinabalu Climb FAQ - Climbing Mt Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia
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Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Mt Kinabalu?

Mt Kinabalu is in Kinabalu National Park in the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. Sabah's capital city, Kota Kinabalu, is about 90 minutes by air from Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur.

How high is Mt Kinabalu?

The summit of Mt Kinabalu, Low's Peak, sits at 4095m (13,435ft) above sea-level. The mountain is the tallest in South-East Asia and is one of the highest trekkable peaks in the world.

How long does it take to climb Mt Kinabalu?

The climb takes two days. Climbers trek 6km to Laban Rata on the first day, taking four to five hours, before climbing to the summit early on the following morning. The return trip from Laban Rata to the summit can take anything from six to nine hours. Climbers then descend to the park headquarters that afternoon, which takes three to four hours. See The Climb for a detailed account of the ascent.

Do I need any special equipment for the climb?

No. One of Mt Kinabalu's main attractions is that climbers don't need any special climbing equipment. Good walking shoes, a headtorch and a sturdy windproof jacket are the only essentials. See Equipment for more details.

How much does it cost to climb Mt Kinabalu?

There are a range of fees imposed by Sabah Parks for all climbers. For the typical non-Malay adult tourist, it will cost about RM250 ($80 AUD).

This is made up of a climbing permit (RM100), guide fee (RM70-100, depending on route and group size), insurance (RM7), transfer to Timpohon Gate (RM10-30, depending on group size), accommodation at Laban Rata (RM50-60) and entry to Kinabalu National Park (RM15). Transport to and from Kinabalu National Park, food and equipment costs are not included in this price.

Is there a limit on how young or old you can be to climb Mt Kinabalu?

No, but it is a difficult climb and young children may become quite tired early in the climb. Similarly, elderly climbers need to be in good health and boast a very good level of fitness to attempt a successful climb.

Do I have to do any special training to climb Mt Kinabalu?

No. A reasonably fit and healthy person can attempt the climb with confidence. As long as you do some regular exercise as part of your lifestyle and you are injury-free, you can reasonably expect to complete a successful climb. Of course, the fitter you are, the better. And, the more experience you have at trekking in hilly terrain, the easier you will find it. See Physical Fitness for more information.

Is Mt Kinabalu a safe mountain to climb?

As long as you stay on the track, there is little to no chance of suffering any injury. There have been incidents where climbers have become lost, injured or killed on the mountain but this has only happened when they leave the marked track in poor weather. Listen to your guide's instructions and take care at all times and you will be fine.

How bad are the effects of high altitude?

Altitude sickness affects every person differently. Most climbers will experience at least a mild headache, while a very small minority of climbers will be overcome by nausea and vomiting. Others will suffer these symptoms to varying degrees. The headaches can be helped with paracetamol or similar, and plenty of water. But, if you suffer badly from altitude sickness, the only remedy is to return immediately to lower altitude. Your guide is experienced in this area and he will tell you if it's not safe for you to continue.

Does it snow on top of Mt Kinabalu?

Very rarely, if at all. There have been isolated reports of snow on top of the mountain, but the summit and its surrounds are almost always bare rock with sparse vegetation. It rains regularly, though, particularly in the afternoon, and can become very cold and windy.

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