Cutting a safe alternative route up Mt Kinabalu is difficult, says park manager

Cutting a safe alternative route up Mt Kinabalu is difficult, says park manager
Danger zone: A park ranger scaling down a path to check on earthquake damage along the route to the peak of Mount Kinabalu.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KOTA KINABALU - Cutting a new and safe trail to the summit of earthquake-hit Mount Kinabalu is proving to be a daunting task.

Mountaineering experts and geologists may have to be roped in to help Kinabalu Park rangers cut a new trail between Gunting Lagadan Hut (3,323m) and Sayat Sayat Hut (3,668m) of the 4,095m summit trail to Low's Peak.

According to park manager Yassin Miki, the area between 6.2km and 7km mark of the trail needed to be rerouted as it was badly damaged by falling boulders and rocks.

"It is becoming very challenging to create a new route. There are several loose rocks and boulders blocking the path," he said, adding that a new path was necessary.

"The present one can be dangerous to anyone in the event of aftershocks or rain.

"We need experts with technical and mountaineering knowledge to carve out a new path."

Recently, Sabah Tourism, Cul­­ture and Environment Minis­ter Datuk Masidi Manjun said the re-opening of Mount Kinabalu to climbers would be completed by September.

Sabah Parks chairman Tengku Datuk Zainal Adlin suggested the possibility of putting in place "breakers" to stop rockfalls on the problematic segment of the trail, similar to the avalanche breakers used in the Swiss Alps.

Yassin said a 99-member team had been clearing the mountain of rubble and rebuilding damaged trails between the starting point in Timpohon Gate and Laban Rata (3,289m).

"We have also collected a lot of rubbish and brought it down," he said.

For safety reasons, he said the clean-up and repairs were stopped temporarily when the frequency of aftershocks increased on Tuesday.

There were a total of 13 cases reported.

The June 5 earthquake killed 18 people.

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