Climbing Mt Kinabalu in Borneo

Climb Mt kinabalu

Mt Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Southeast Asia with the peak 4095m high. What do you do when you see a mountain? Well you climb it of course.

The Climb

We did the climb in two days spending one night on the mountain. We started the climb in the morning with our local guide leading the way. The scenery keeps changing the higher you go with the guide pointing out pitcher plants and other interesting things along the way.

It is an uphill climb the whole way with lots of rocky steps that make your legs burn! After a day of climbing we reach Laban Rata where we spend the night. Tucked into some dinner, relax for a bit, then hit the hay nice and early as we had to be up at around 3am to start the climb to the summit.

I did not sleep well and I think it had something to do with the altitude. Or maybe I was just worried about the rest of the climb!

In the pitch black with just a torch lighting the way we climb near vertical granite to the summit. There are ropes to hold onto while you get your footing as you climb. I am glad it was pitch black because if I had realised just how steep the climb was I might have turned around and gone back down the mountain!

As the air got thinner, I struggled to breath and was hit with altitude sickness. My friend was telling me that I might have to turn around and go back but there was no way I was doing that. I had made it this far and I was determined to get to the summit. I took regular breaks, walked very slowly and then after awhile it was as if my body adjusted. I was feeling much better and ready to keep climbing.

Everyone is trying to make it to the summit for sunrise and unfortunately we just missed it. It was a little crowded at the summit with everyone trying to get a photo and capture the moment.

Mt Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu

Summit Mt Kinabalu

After taking in the view and celebrating the fact that we made it to the summit it is time to make our way back down the mountain. The climb down is much easier but don’t underestimate decent! After having had a knee reconstruction I found it a little jarring on my joints.

Equipment for Climbing Mt Kinabalu

You just need the basic equipment for the climb and if you don’t want to carry your bag you can always higher a porter to take it up the mountain for you.

  • Small backpack to store your items
  • Comfortable shoes with a good grip
  • Warm clothing
  • Jacket
  • Extra clothing and socks
  • Small towel
  • Gloves
  • Warm hat
  • Raincoat
  • Head torch
  • Personal toiletries
  • Refillable water bottle
  • High energy snacks
  • Sunscreen

How to book the climb

It is recommended that you book 3 months in advance, especial during peak season. Mount Kinabalu is the official website which has up to date information on how the book.

You are required to climb with a guide and need a permit to do so.

After the climb

Must admit my muscles were quite sore for a few days afterwards so it was lots of nice warm baths for me and a massage worked a treat!

I might just have to do the climb again so that I actually get to see the sunset next time!

Heading back down the mountain

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29 thoughts on “Climbing Mt Kinabalu in Borneo

  1. Wow Anne that is so impressive. I could never do a climb like that. I get vertigo really badly when I climb high altitude (and I mean only under 1,000m) so I wouldn’t be able to do it. However I must say I would love the challenge of doing something like this. Well done! The views are majestic.


  2. This is fantastic. we climbed a volcano in Bali many years back and this reminds me of that. it was a 1-day clim but we started in the pitch black! looks like a great thing to do.


  3. Hi great photos! Can I check with you which package did you book and how much did all this cost? Thanks in advance!


  4. A bunch of my friends did a girls trip to climb Mt. Kinabalu. Now that I’ve read your description, I think they were being modest when they described it as “so easy you can do it wearing flip flops.” I don’t do well at high altitudes, so I think I would have trouble with the climb if I attempted it. I love your photo of being up above the clouds. It really emphasizes how high up you are.


  5. Wow what an achievement – you smiled through the altitude sickness! Amazing that you need to book three months in advance, obviously very very popular. Hope you get to see the sunset there one day. #FarawayFiles


  6. Woo hoo! Congrats, that’s quite the achievement. I often look back at the physical challenges I have done in wonder. Do you have another peak on your list to conquer? Thanks for joining us on #FarawayFiles


  7. What a cool experience! Congrats on summiting! And way to stick with it even when you weren’t feeling well, I’m sure that view from the top made it all worth it though.


  8. What a great achievement. Congratulations. Thanks for linking up to #FarawayFiles. Hope you’re enjoying all the fab posts.


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