Pre Trip Preparation & FAQ

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Latest News due to the effects of the 5th June 2015 earthquake?

On 1st September 2015, Sabah Park’s have confirmed that Mt Kinabalu is open to climb up to Laban Rata only (3272.7M) as the summit climb (Laban Rata to Summit Route) is still closed pending specialized inspections. The views from Laban Rata is still incredible and we are very sure that all climbers will be happy with the climb. Climbing package rates will remain the same as there are no changes to all fees or costs and all inclusions are still the same except for a summit climb due to safety.

GREAT NEWS!! For summit climbs, we are now taking Mt K summit climbs from 1st December 2015 onwards since we are confident that the summit we be open from this date. In the unlikely event that the summit climb is not possible we will advise climbers as such before the climb, however the rates for the summit climb and non-summit climb do remain the same since there has never been a reduction for non-summit climbs from the mountain provider.

What do I need to do to prepare for my Mt Kinabalu adventure?

You will be climbing a major mountain and you are strongly advised to be in a physically fit condition.

Here are some suggestions from the Alpine Guides Association:

The best preparation for mountain sports always involves a good amount of cardiovascular exercise outdoors (running, cycling, mountain biking etc) and getting out for long days in the hills whenever possible.

We recommend all customers to engage in cardiovascular sports at least twice a week,
with each session being a minimum of 2 hours in duration at a medium intensity.

Fitness training should begin 2-3 months leading up to your trip, this way you should be well prepared. Don’t forget to read the trip itinerary & important information for climbers carefully to find out what else is involved too, so you can tailor your preparation accordingly.

What do I need to pack?

For personal items, here’s a checklist of the minimum essential items on that you will need to bring:

  • Raincoat or waterproof jacket
  • Warm clothing like a fleece jacket, hiking pants
  • Change of clothes (you may not want to sleep in what you sweat in!)
  • Cap / beanie / head scarf (helps prevent heat loss, especially at night and in the early morning)
  • Gloves
  • A small / lightweight towel
  • Personal toiletries
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Torchlight (preferably a head torch)
  • Camera
  • Comfortable covered trail/ hiking shoes
  • Energy snacks e.g. chocolate, nuts, biscuits, sweets, energy bars
  • Sun protection – Sunglass, sun screen lotion, SPF lip balm (beware of the strong UV rays)
  • A small backpack to hold your things
  • A rain cover for your backpack
  • And of course, AN ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT!

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q. What happens if the weather prevents me from climbing, do I get a refund.
A. No. Unfortunately we are bound by the climbing operators T&C and there is no refund offered for climbs cancelled due to weather. Usually you will still manage to climb to the Labab Rata Rock Face at 3,200m which is still a great achievement. It will be the final ascent that may be cancelled due to poor weather and strong winds. You will only know this in the early hours of the morning when the mountain guides conduct their final environmental check.
Q. What time will I start my climb?
A. We recommend that you stay overnight at Kinabalu park the night before your climb. This way you can begin climbing at your leisure. If you are unable to stay overnight at the park HQ the night prior then we will pick you up from your accommodation in KK City between 07:00 – 07:30 hrs. This means that you will begin your climb around 09:30 hrs.
Q. Do you include insurance for the climb?
A. Sabah Parks who is a state governing body for national parks in Sabah provides the basic Climber’s Personal Accident Insurance for personal accidents only which covers your ascent and descent between Timpohon Gate and the Summit. Please note that the insurance will not cover accidents through climber negligence.

Therefore, in addition to this climbing insurance, you are advised to purchase personal injury and travel insurance prior to your trip as mentioned in our Terms and Conditions which covers for cancellation, money, personal baggage, medical coverage, trip interruption, emergency travel service and provides coverage for all incidentals.

The following FAQ is specific for those climbers taking part in a Mountain Torq – Via Ferrata Activity which on many of our packages is optional.

Q: Do I need to bring any additional equipment?
A. No. You will be provided all the technical safety equipment required.
Q. Where do I meet my Mt Torq trainer for my via ferrata familiarisation when I arrive at Laban Rata level?
A. Your trainer will be waiting for you at Pendent Hut between 3pm and 4pm for your familiarization session.

During the session, you will be:

  • Familiarised with the via ferrata equipment
  • Walked through an initial via ferrata practice round
  • Informed of the actual meeting point for your chosen activity and
  • Reminded of the cut off meeting time for your activity (7:00am–Low’s Peak Circuit, 7:30am–Walk the Torq)
Q. Must I attend the briefing?
A. Quite simply, YES, you have to attend the briefing which is conducted between 3pm to 4pm at Pendant HutQ. Where is Pendant hut?A. Pendant hut is located at 3,289m on the Laban Rata rock face. When you arrive at the Laban Rata rest house, you will see Pendant hut on your right hand side perched above a rock path (see map on next page)Q. What time will I start my climb ?A. We highly suggest that you stay overnight at Kinabalu park the night before your climb. This way you can begin climbing at your leisure. If you are unable to stay overnight at the park HQ the night prior then we will pick you up from your accommodation in KK City between 07:00 – 07:30 hrs. This means that you will begin your climb around 09:30 hrs.

Mt Kinabalu stunning sunset shot

Important Information for Climbers

Road Transfers

Return road transfers between Kota Kinabalu Hotels and Kinabalu Park are provided by Downbelow in our licensed mini-vans on a shared basis with other climbers that day (for our clients only). This is a door-to-door service with multiple pickups & drop-offs throughout the journey. Do expect some short waiting time. We may change the pick up time the day prior to your climb to minimize waiting time so please ensure you are contactable for such notice. Our group rates are quoted with one pick up and one drop off point, meaning the group is transferred at the same time.

The standard pick up time from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu to Kinabalu Park is set at 0700hrs – subject to change (earlier or later time) with prior notice a day before your transfer. Therefore, climbers are encouraged to stay a night in Kota Kinabalu City before departure transfer to Kinabalu Park the next morning. Should climbers not be ready during the standard pick up time, a private transfer from Kota Kinabalu Hotels only no later than 1200hrs can be arranged at MYR 300 per vehicle (Pick up at Kota Kinabalu International Airport is subject to surcharge) or climbers can decide to make own arrangement to the park.

For your shared transfer from Kinabalu Park to your hotel in Kota Kinabalu, after your climb you may have to wait for other climbers to descend the mountain before we bring you back. Our cut-off time for shared transfers from Kinabalu Park to Kota Kinabalu departs at 1700hrs so you will not have to wait beyond this time. Should you or other climbers not be ready to depart by 1700hrs a waiting fee of MYR 195.00 (for 1 – 6 person) / MYR 290.00 (for 7 – 8 person) / MYR 365.00 (for 9 – 10 person) (After 6pm is subject to 50% surcharge) must be paid by the late climbers.

Should you prefer to not wait for other climbers that day and have a private transfer for your return from Mt Kinabalu back to Kota Kinabalu City Hotels only this can be arranged at a cost of MYR 195.00 (for 1 – 6 person) / MYR 290.00 (for 7 – 8 person) / MYR 365.00 (for 9 – 10 person) (Drop off at Tanjung Aru hotels or Kota Kinabalu Airport is subject to surcharge). Please state which option you require upon booking.

Single Supplement transfers are not classified as private transfers and are subject to the standard pick up times and private transfer charges stipulated. Should a single traveler with single supplement transfers not be ready to depart the park by 1700hrs, a waiting fee of MYR 195.00 (for 1 – 6 person) / MYR 290.00 (for 7 – 8 person) / MYR 365.00 (for 9 – 10 person) (After 6pm is subject to 50% surcharge) must be paid.

*** All rates under Road Transfers information are inclusive of 6% Goods and Services Tax.

Check out Time at Mountain Huts

For stays at Lamaing Hut, Laban Rata Resthouse, Gunting Lagadan Hut, Panar Laban Hut and Waras Hut at Laban Rata (mid-way accommodations on Mt. Kinabalu), please note that the check out time is at 1030hrs. A fee of MYR 50 per hour at Lamaing Hut and MYR 50 per half hour at Laban Rata Resthouse, Gunting, Panar, Waras Huts will be levied for late check outs and is to be paid directly to the Resthouse / Hut.

Your Mountain Guide

Your booking includes a private mountain guide for the Mt Climb, you will not have to share your guide with other climbers, this way you may climb at your own pace. However, during peak season, there may be a possibility that you would need to share your mountain guides with other climbers (maximum of 6 climbers to 1 Mountain Guide), should this happen we will refund the difference for the shared mountain guide accordingly and we ask that you stay with your Mountain Guide at all times.

The mountain guides are compulsory and are with you to keep you safe, ensure that you stay on the correct summit path and should visibility reduce due to rain or fog, ensure that you do not become lost or disorientated. Also should you need assistance or evacuation they will summon it for you. The mountain guides are licensed and employed by Sabah Parks, a government authority and are not employed by individual operators. Therefore we cannot pre-book guides for our clients, however we do always request that your guide speak English and we request those we are familiar with. However on occasion especially at peak times our preferred guide may not be available and it may happen that your guide cannot speak English. Rest assured however all are expert mountain guides and are local men and women from the area and your safety remains their priority.

For the via Ferrata activity, you will be sharing the via Ferrata Trainer with other climbers who will be doing this activity (maximum 10 climbers to one trainer for BASIC level / maximum 6 climbers to one trainer for the ADVANCED level).

Electricity & Heating

Due to an unexpected technical problem at Timpohon Gate Power Station, the mountain huts are currently experiencing electricity failure at Laban Rata. All efforts are under way to rectify this problem, until then there will be no electricity supply until further notice. Basic lighting is powered by the mini gen set. Hot showers and room heaters are not available during this period and until further notice. Any inconvenienced caused is much regretted.

Climbing Conditions

The government authority of Sabah Parks will assess the weather conditions for your summit ascent in the early hours whilst you are at the rest house. Should they deem the summit to be unsafe due to strong wind, rain or storms they will not permit climbers to attempt the summit ascent. Should this be the situation there will be no refund in part or full for your climb.

Food

Full board meals are included for your trip and provided by the mountain operator. The food is basic and probably not what you are used to eating, mostly simple Asian buffet style with a packed lunch for your first day ascent. We suggest taking extra sources of food such as nuts and energy bars.

Mandatory Briefing – for via Ferrata Activity

Should you wish to complete the atonal Via Ferrata activity, there is a mandatory via Ferrata briefing session that you have to attend at Pendant Hut between 1500hrs – 1600hrs on your first ascend day. Do make sure you arrive Pendant Hut and attend this briefing at the mentioned time as you will not be allowed to do the via Ferrata activity the next day if you missed it.

Your Passport

Please remember you passport. It is required to validate your climbing permit applied for by us on
your behalf.

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mount-kinabalu-trail-mapMt. Kinabalu is one of the highest peaks in South East Asia, almost half the height of Mt Everest!! No other peak this high is as relatively easily accessible as she is.

A journey of a lifetime, many will come to attempt her summit, but not all will succeed.

With equal amounts preparation and determination, the summit of Mt. Kinabalu is yours to conquer.

Learn to Dive with PADI Scuba diving courses for divers visiting Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and Borneo.
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved By Downbelow. Unless otherwise stated all text, web & graphic design and photography is by Richard and Joanne

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