New route to Mt Kinabalu summit ready by Dec 1

PHOTO: The Straits Times

KOTA KINABALU - A new route to the summit of Mount Kinabalu is being finalised and expected to be ready by Dec 1.

Sabah Parks chairman Tengku Datuk Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahamood said the opening of the new route to the highest point, Low's Peak at 4,095m, would boost the number of climbers heading up Mount Kinabalu.

Sabah Parks reopened the mountain trail up to Laban Rata at 3,270m on Sept 1 following the June 5 earthquake.

Tengku Adlin said the average number of trekkers heading to Laban Rata per day since then was about 20 to 30.

"Not many people will want to climb just to get to Laban Rata.

"That is why we expect the number of climbers to substantially increase once the trail to the summit is opened," he said.

Following the reopening of the trail, Sabah Parks had fixed the maximum number of climbers per day at 100 compared to 150 previously for safety reasons.

Tengku Adlin said the trail between Laban Rata and the summit would go through the Sayat Sayat hut before taking climbers along the summit plateau trail and then on to Low's Peak.

"It will be more challenging than the previous trail in terms of steepness but it will be away from any loose rocks.

"We are also ensuring that there are guide ropes and places for climbers to hold on to as they make their ascent and descent," Tengku Adlin added.

The earthquake three months ago resulted in avalanches that killed 18 people including four mountain guides.

Sabah Parks had closed the mountain trail following the quake and carried out extensive repairs.