KOTA KINABALU - Mount Kinabalu's summit may be open to climbers by Dec 1 if restoration works are be completed in time.
However, the state is warning that the alternative routes being developed may turn out to be tougher as they are steeper than the one that was commonly used before it was destroyed by an earthquake.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said park authorities were still worried about the presence of large boulders found along the old path as any earth movement could cause the rocks to fall and injure climbers.
"We would like to avoid using places with these boulders, and are considering several alternative routes which should turn out to be more adventurous," he said on Saturday.
Masidi added that bookings to climb the mountain would be open once experts confirmed that the new section was properly constructed.
"We still need more time to construct new trails from Panar Laban (at the 6.3km) to Sayat-Sayat (6.8km)," he said.
For now, climbers are only allowed to trek up to Laban Rata and stay overnight at the facilities available beginning Sept 1.
"Only 100 climbers are allowed to climb and stay overnight at any given time for now," said Masidi, adding that the safety of climbers was of primary concern.
"The facilities still needs further rectification work after the June 5 quake."
All mountain-related activities were stopped following the quake that killed 18 people that day.