Mount Kinabalu

Following a bumpy-as-hell bus trip broken up by another roti stop, the canopy walk at Poring Hot Springs and a shop in Ranau that jointly resembled Grace Brothers and the Naboo-tique, we arrived at Mesilau.

Our overnight stop was c.1,850 metres above sea level, and the starting point for our hike up the mountain. The hostel, with the mountain behind:


It started raining during breakfast (chicken sausage ‘Julienne’ style. Really) on Friday morning, and continued for a large part of the 8km hike. That doesn’t sound much, but think about 1,500m of climbing, and the effects of altitude. Also, the heat and humidity (wet inside your cagoule from sweat), plus the Mesilau trail is the hardest route up the mountain, with lots of ups and downs and some very steep climbs.

After many steep climbs, slippery wooden steps without a handrail, foot pain, breathlessness and increasing altitude sickness, I made it to the Laban Rata hut 3,200m above sea level


I collapsed into a chair, and promptly drank 11 cups of sugary tea before progressing to the (cold) shower, dry clothes and food.

Over the evening my headache and dizziness got worse, then the shivers started. By the time of the 2am alarm call (you leave the camping huts early to summit at dawn), I was also massively suffering from nausea and shivering uncontrollably, so I had to take the sensible option and not attempt the summit.

Finally managing to sleep a little, at 6am I got up to watch the sun rise. I then climbed another 300m up on the summit trail to see if the ascent & descent helped my altitude sickness. It didn’t. Only descending, once Dave, Yvette, Khan & Manit returned from the summit, helped.

(I’ve got to head off now, and will add more photos from the other camera at a later date. Til then, here’s the summit from a few miles away on the main road)



2 thoughts on “Mount Kinabalu

  1. Looks like you got pretty wet weather for your climb. I started the ascent at 3am in a pouring tropical rainstorm, but the weather cleared somewhat by the time I gained the peak. Did you get a good sunrise from the top of Low’s Peak?

  2. Just re-read your post and realised you had bad altitude sickness and didn’t ascend – that’ll teach me to speedread! Very sorry to hear, my travelling buddy had awful altitude sickness too and didn’t climb up – best decision she made! Mustn’t push it. Maybe next time?

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