Climbing Mount Kinabalu: From Mesilau Trail to Laban Rata

Of the two trails to the Summit of Mount Kinabalu, Monyet King had strongly recommended the Mesilau Trail. Err, did it make a difference to me? Hehehe, anything lah – whichever way also I have not gone through mah!

The Mesilau Trail is more scenic and pleasant to trek. It may be a longer trail but it is definitely the better trail. Timpohon is the shorter trail which takes you all the way up without much to view. Trust me.” He said.

Yes, Sir! Anything you suggest will be the best since this is going to be my first attempt to “conquer” the mountain? “Conquer the mountain? It has always been here lah! What is there to conquer?” Oophs, right also, yah?

Hence, we trekked the Mesilau-Summit-Timpohon on the fruitful day. We were scheduled to start at 7.30am, when the gate opened, but finally ascended at 8am!  With a group of 12 people, delay was unavoidable lah. 

“It would be a slow walk up the hill. No rush!”

No rush ah? Sounds good lei. Can we take pictures on the way? Can? Oh, good dei.

Now sit back and enjoy my journey to Laban Rata, which elevation reached 3,323.20m.

Laban Rata is where we would have our meals, clean up and rest before we ascend to Low’s Peak, Mount Kinabalu (a.k.a. the Summit) at 4,095.2m on the following morning.

We had to be transported to the foothill of the trail.
Feeling suspense already while in the van ;
did I make a right decision to make this climb??!

Yes, the trail is where the Mesilau Nature Resort is!

A dear friend who joined us last minute!
I called her the “crazy woman”!
Just two nights before,
she was saying, “Have a great time!”
The next day, she called and said she will join us!
Got a place at Laban Rata and the flight to KK last minute!
More expensive also happy!

Oh, we had to wear that tag throughout our climb!
Must show it to get our certificate one!

This was it!
The starting point of the challenge!
No turning back!

Everyone was minding the steps on the ground….

and of the wooden ladder…

First sighting of pitcher plants!
Feeling excited already!

Until we saw a dead snake!
A fellow climber said it just died.
Did one of us step on it ah???
Not me lah!
We found it dead, remember?!

Monyet King was right about this place!
Really scenic!
Simply loved the sceneries!

What did I tell you?!
Really out of the world, right?
You just gotta be there to know what I mean!
Cold breeze, blue skies and everything nice… ahhhh….

After enjoying the sceneries, it was time to resume our climb.
While we only carried our pouch or back pack, our porters had to carry our luggages!
We had to pay RM9 per kg
( to carry Mesilau-Laban Rata-Timpohon Trail) 
to the porter for his or her service.
(If you are using the Timpohon-Laban Rata-Timpohon Trail,
you will be charged RM8 per kg)
Minimum charge is 10kg.
If you need more information,
you can call Kinabalu Park’s operation room
at 088-889095/ 088-889099
Fax: 088-889068
I was told that one porter can carry up to 30kgs!
Some people were really shameful to find 12 years old kids carrying their luggages for them.
Just loved watching the mountain as we ascended!
Say what you like, I did feel I was conquering the mountain with every step I ascended!

Glad to find some jungle trail along the way…

Rather shortlived though before we were faced with another rock climbing challenge!

However, it was worth every bit of it when
magnificant jungle by Mother Nature welcomed us!
Don’t you love the greens too?!

Must tell you about the walking stick,
which I paid RM3 for it,
the one I was holding in my hand
(together with my green handkerchief).
I do not usually trek with a walking stick but
when Monyet King said I must have one,
I just took the advice and was glad that I did.
When the steps are too wide apart or too steep,
it is necessary to use the stick to support our weight.
Erm, my stick ended up with a crack when I slipped at one point!
Guess I was too heavy for the poor cane!

Another wonderful sight of the jungle trail.
You know, you must love the jungle in order to love trekking.
It is not all about racing to the peak or the destination,
it is about the journey getting there…

This trail is not all ups,
we also needed to descend to reach the waterfall.
Ahhh, such refreshing sound of the water;
if only we could jump in for a dip!

A chance to walk over a short suspension bridge.
It was fun!  Hehe…

There are certain parts of the jungle that
gave me the Jurassic Park feelings.
Look hard, you may find a T-Rex in this picture!
It is all in the mind, 
when the body gets tired the mind gotta be alive mah!

As we ascend, there are many “pondok” (huts) for the climbers to rest.
I would not encourage one to stop too often.
Just keep going so that a constant momentum is maintained.
By resting, one will get tired easier and the pace would slow down.

Aiyah, did I speak too soon about keep on going?
Another flight of ladder steps to go!
LG, you can do it!

No joke!
Now that I look at it again, I could just climb on my fours, right?
What I did?
I had used the stick to balance myself on the steps instead!
Guess it’s okay since I managed to get to Laban Rata with the balancing act!

I call this place, the Ridge!
Simply felt this place was heaven!
I really wonder if heaven will feel like this:
clouds were floating up from the sides of the ridge
as I walked across to the other side of the mountain.
Beautiful shrubs and pine trees (?) lined up at the sides of the ridge.
Above me, it was only blue skies covered by some white clouds,
or was it the mists??
This could only happen in a dream, or here, at the Ridge…
Another out of the world experience!
Yup!  What goes up must come down!
Trekking down from the ridge.
To me, trekking down was easier than trekking up lah!
Zroom!  Now you see me, now you don’t!
Dear cousin kept on asking me to stop and smile to her DSLR!
Aiyah, where got mood to smile when I was gasping for oxygen lah!
Never understood it when people told me about thin air.
Now, I know, thin air means difficult to breath, feeling sleepy and slower in motion.
Drink lots of water (or Ribena or energy juices),
eat energy bar ( or anything that gives energy) and
have a sweet in your mouth ( Hacks or anything refreshing)!
Haizz, I learnt it the hard way, okay?!
“Setengah mati” (Half dead) also must climb this stretch!
Yeay!  LG did it!  LG did it!
We had to insist our porter stayed on with us for the rest of the trail.
I needed water and he was carrying our bottles.
I drank 3 bottles of 1L water in this climb!
When I was training at the Ketumbar Hills, I hardly finish half of my 300ml bottle!
Hence, I never knew I had to drink so much to get going.
I learnt to appreciate water the hard way alright!
Life has to be like this one;
when the tough gets going, the going gets tough!
“Teng Nga Seong” (Keep going, LG!)
The varieties of ascending ground really made the climb more interesting.
At least, I could enjoy some beautiful coloured stones on the way.
Eh, natural colours ke?
Aiyah, since I was looking down mah, might as well appreciate the ground lor..
See, the porter was walking right behind me… for a while only lah!
When he got bored following, he would run ahead and wait for us with a boring look
as if saying: “Haizz, why you so slow one???”
Dear cousin was tailing me to snap pictures of my maiden climb,
and proof that I was at Mount Kinabalu!
We had never trekked so many hours in our entire trekking life!
“Are we there yet??”
“Really, are we there yet?”
I kept asking the porter everytime I saw him and I insisted he gives me an estimation.
One hour?  Two hours?
Poor guy was really pressured or haunted by the same question!
We finally joined the Timpohon Trail to reach Laban Rata at the Summit Trail.
Turn right to go up and turn left to go down.
Aiya, we have to turn right ah??
Yup!  Everyone must get a permit to climb.
The tag we were asked to wear was our permit but there was nobody there to check us wor.
A totally different kind of steps here!
Reminded me of the song:  Stoney, happy all the time.. really?
Just strike wide la and climb!
What else could I do lah?!
I love this scene!
Not the physical climbing on it though!
Why lah they don’t build cable cars here?!
Don’t be too happy to see the porters resting; thinking that you’d finally overtook them!
Within minutes, they would be walking ahead of you again one!
Did I tell you about the mountain guides?
You can get one at the Park’s office.
Since our group was made up of 12 people, we were required to have 2 guides;
6 pax (which is max) to 1 guide
and because we used the Mesilau-Summit-Timpohon trail, one guide’s fee was RM115.
If you need more information,
you can call Kinabalu Park’s operation room at
088-889095/ 088-889099
Fax: 088-889068
The guide could be your porter too or could recommend porter(s) to you.
Since there was nothing much to do, I was admiring what was around me.
As we got higher, the jungle got thinner (other than the air).
We had passed by many beautiful wild plants and flowers,
but I thought I would save that for the next blogpost.
Could not possibly share all the pictures in one post lah.
Just this post alone was already over 40 pictures lei.
Did I tell you that dear cousin snap more than 3,000 pictures during the 11 days travel??
See this guy!
He was carrying a gas cylinder up the mountain.
A fellow climber, who is a local, said
this guy earns about RM2,500 to RM4,000 a month
by carrying stuff up and down the mountain.
While we trek for fun (or should I say suffer),
he treks for a living.
A wise Chinese proverb:
As long as we are able, we will not die of hunger.
“Are we there yet?”
Beware of the small pebbles.
I say, after all the experiences and to be able to reach this spot,
one is already season lah in climbing a mountain, right?
Don’t be too sure!
I did not see this coming at all!
Walking upwards on big rocks…
…with nothing to hold on to!
This was when the stick came handy!
“Are we there yet?”
A little more to go…
“How long more?”
One hour?
When you pass that signboard, it was really very near.
If you see the “Pondok Waras”
(‘Sane’ Hut; the opposite of Insane – hahaha!),
you are a stone throw away from the main rest house where the restaurant is!
Food!  Smell of food!  Sight of food!
Oh!  I finally reached civilisation!
The restaurant closes at 7.30pm.
We reached it at 6.30pm while the rest of the team reached at 6pm.
Wah!  8am to 6.30pm = 10.5 hours trekking lei!
(Our fitter team took 10 hours.)
It was printed in some brochures somewhere that the trekking hours for this trail is 6-8 hours.
Really ah??
Whatever it is, just make sure to reach Laban Rata’s main Resthouse before 7.30pm so that you can have your hot meals, okay?!


6 responses to this post.

  1. hmmn really need to think twice if i wanna hike this mountain… hahaha… so susah one.. 😛

  2. Very comprehensive reporting 🙂

  3. Casendra dear, I bet you can climb it in record time lah! Sap-sap-sui for a fitter and younger you! So, wanna climb it together next year??! Huh?MK, thank you very much for inviting us for this climb. It was really an experience of a lifetime. Already missing you and the gang! Err, when is the next do lah??!

  4. Wah, I see the steep slopes and steps/ladder, my legs already gone soft dy. I think if I will to attempt to climb MK, I'll need to shed 10kgs at least and shape up for a year.I climbed Mt. Fuji before and I could only manage to reach the 3010m rest house. Couldn't reach the summit due to poor fitness and altitude sickness. I was out of breath with trobbing headache and my head felt like it wanted to explode. I could only managed to walk 10 steps before needing to rest 5 minutes to catch my breath. And this was during my younger years, 15 years to be exact!

  5. Thanks to LG & MK to invite me for this climb. It a first time experience to climb with 10 1/2 hours, I'm tired and tired but just keep on walk and climb, and my concentration look around for photos taking, cos make me forget the tired, but CANNOT ….. hahaha ….. Yes…yes…yes… you can see all the rock and step ….. no joke, just feel that "beh chin mai nan sau" pay money for suffering….. haizzzzz Next climb we must well prepare ….. must get ready all the neccessary kits, foods, drinks n etc…..

  6. Sean, you lagi terror! You touched base at Mt Fuji! Wah! 15 years ago is a long time but it is never too late to train and be physically fit to do the Mt Kinabalu climb. Add oil! Add oil! Wanna train together??? We can plan for next year! Huh?Hahaha, JD, "pay money for suffering"! Hahaha! I felt that too! But after looking at the pictures and recalling the fun we had with the team, I say I do not mind doing it again. Let's train for next year, okay?! Yum Seng!

Have a Happy Day! ;D

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