KOTA KINABALU - Mount Kinabalu will remain closed for at least another three weeks as Sabah Parks begins repair work on sections of the mountain trail damaged during the June 5 earthquake.
An initial three week closure period ends today.
The mountain was shut to all climbing activity following the earthquake that triggered rock and boulder avalanches killing 18 people, including four mountain guides.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun in a tweet also said that they have cancelled the annual 29th edition of the Mount Kinabalu Climbathon scheduled for Oct 17 and 18 due to the damage.
Sabah Parks chairman Tengku Datuk Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahamood said mountain guides had been engaged to help in the repair works.
Sabah Parks had hoped to get the mountain up and running in three weeks after the quake but continuing aftershocks has derailed many plans to repair destroyed trails and accommodation facilities at the mountain.
Tengku Adlin said that they have started the repairs on the trails and have engaged mountain guides to assist in the repairs,
He said mountain huts at Panar Laban would be replaced and repairs carried out at the Laban Rata rest house.
He said their main concern now was the loose rocks and the safety of the Sabah Parks workers and mountain guides carrying out the repair work.
"We are hoping the tremors would eventually taper off. Otherwise the repair work would be interrupted," Tengku Adlin added.
The damaged trails included the stretch between the 1.5km and 1.8km stretch near the base of the mountain, between the 6.1km and 7km stretch between Laban Rata and the Summit Plateau that had been blocked by rocks and boulders, and at the 6th kilometre of the Mesilau-Layang Layang trail.
Sabah Parks personnel as well as mountain guides are planning a new route between Laban Rata and the Summit Plateau.
A team of mountaineering experts would evaluate the proposed new trail before it is built.