The Summit Climb

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

Don’t be fooled into thinking that climbing Mt Kinabalu is going to be easy just because you can reach the summit in a day. It isn’t ! Its one of those experiences that feels a lot better on reflection rather than at the time.

There are many different packages available to you as a climber. In low season you may be able to choose your preferred option, however in peak season there will be less flexibility. The good news is that all climbs follow the same route to the summit, the difference is only how you descend, where you sleep & the cost. This said, you can still choose to descend the conventional route, so in fact no matter which package you choose you can ascend and descend based upon your comfort level. This is possible with us because all our climbs provide you with a private guide for your party only. So you can climb at your pace, your route and not worry about other climbers.

Bare in mind that at 4,095m the Mighty Mt Kinabalu is almost half the height of Mt Everest and the highest peak between the Himalayas and Papa New Guinea. This is NOT a walk in the park!

Accept and Embrace that you will..

  • sleep uncomfortably & share accommodation with other people.
  • eat foods that are foreign to your pallet and not your first choice of food.
  • be exhausted, probably wet and take cold showers.

Do you still want to climb ? If the answer is still YES then you will ..

  • Learn a lot about yourself.
  • Have an experience of a lifetime.
  • Only truly appreciate your achievement once the climb is over

We offer the following ALL Inclusive packages thats are protected under our PRICE PROMISE, which means if you find a cheaper price elsewhere we will beat it by 2%. Thats how confident we are that our packages are the best value for money.

The Ascent

Climbing Mt. Kinabalu is a tough physical challenge but not a technical climb as such. The average climber ascends from the starting point of Timpohon Gate within Kinabalu Park to Laban Rata, located at 3,333m in approximatley 4 – 6 hours.

Unrelenting large, seemingly endless rock steps form the well trodden path. The route is 99% uphill and the secret to a successfully climb is to take it slowly, because unless you’re competing in the annual Kinabalu Climbathon, climbing Mt. Kinabalu it’s not a competition.

Rest huts are located along the route at 1KM intervals, equipped with squat toilets and untreated water they provide a seating area and an opportunity to discuss with other climbers the climbing experience.

The benefits of packing light for your Mt. Kinabalu climb becomes evident soon after you start your climb when everything starts to feel 10kg heavier than when you packed. Refer to our Preparation & FAQ page for a suggested packing list. Porters are available and can be requested upon booking, extra fees apply.

Clouds will begin to close in and more often than not it will begin raining around 12 noon and usually disperse around 5pm just in time for sunset.

Once you arrive at the Laban Rata plateau you will find your basic accommodation. There are various huts to accommodate climbers, a more detailed description and a map can be found at our Laban Rata Accommodation section.

Some people suffer from altitude sickness at this elevation, we have a dedicated altitude sickness section on our website to explain this in more detail.

Temperatures at Laban Rata are 6 – 10°C at night, plummeting further to 2°C at the summit with wind chill sometimes subtracting yet another few degrees from that.

The summit ascent starts at 2.30am and this is when a good torchlight is required. The final ascent from Laban Rata passing through the final check point in the dark is gruelling, steep slopes and some ropes to assist pave the route.

If it’s a clear night, do take a moment to enjoy the night sky, with no light pollution its breathtaking !

Most people take around 2-3 hours to reach Mount Kinabalu’s summit from the Laban Rata plateau and the objective is to arrive just before sunrise. If your ascent the day prior was quick then your guide may suggest you begin later than 2:30 am to avoid a long wait at the summit. The views at the top are spectacular. It can be extremely cold up there, especially since you may be sweating from the physical excursion then waiting in surrounding temperatures of 2°C for the sun to rise so make sure you take dry warm clothes.

Once sunrise is over and you have absorbed enough of the views then its time to begin the descent. If you are climbing with the optional MT Torq activities then you will descend via a different route which will involve ropes & bridges, if you are descending via the standard route, you will follow the same route as the ascent.

The descent, including breakfast at Laban Rata, will take 5 – 9 hours depending on your pace. People often report the descent being more challenging than the ascent due to the unrelenting use of your knee joints and pressure on your shins & surrounding muscles. Our advice is to take your time and enjoy the entire experience.

Once you reach Timpohon Gate (the starting & ending point) your guide will show you where to find the park shuttle bus which will bring you 5.5km down the windy roads back to the Balsam Cafe where you will meet our team to bring you back to Kota Kinabalu, unless you wish to remain another night at Kinabalu Park in the various lodges available.


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