One of the two new trekking routes to reach the summit of Mount Kinabalu from Laban Rata is now ready for use, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun announced at the end of October.
Alternative routes are step by step replacing the old single trail leading to the peak, where several climbers and mountain guides were killed during an earthquake in June. The opening of new paths will allow Sabah Parks to fully reopen the mountain to climbers by December 1, 2015.
“To meet our plan to reopen the mountain by December, we will use one of the two trails first, which is the Ranau Trail. I am very happy with the works that have been done on the trails, which were carried out professionally with the assistance from the American, Canadian and Japanese consultants.
“The construction of the trails was carried out by the mountain guides, porters and local villagers themselves. They are the most suitable candidates for the job as they are the ones who know best the needs and challenges faced by the climbers,” he told reporters after launching Google Maps Street View imagery of Sabah’s local attractions.
Masidi informed that the other trail, named “Kota Belud”, was still being constructed and would open to climbers once fully completed.
However, he said there was no confirmed completion date yet for the trail, which would offer climbers a more scenic view from the face of the mountain facing the Kota Belud district.
“I can describe both trails as ‘beautifully challenging’ and visitors who appreciate nature and its beauty will find the experience of trekking these trails very enjoyable.
“We avoid the old trail, which was badly damaged during the earthquake. So, now climbers will ascend to the peak from the two new trails, one is located east of the old trails and the other is to the west. Booth trails will meet at Sayat Sayat,” said Sabah Tourism Minister.
Asked if the new trails were more challenging, he said no special climbing skills were needed for the new routes as they were not that much different from the previous trail in terms of difficulties.
Despite the two news routes being available instead of previously one, Sabah Parks had decided to maintain the number of visitors allowed to ascend to the summit daily at 192.
Mount Kinabalu Park was closed to all climbers after a 6.0 magnitude tremor disconnected climbing trails and killed 18 people on June 5. The World Site Heritage was partially reopened on Sept 1, with climbers allowed to climb up to Laban Rata via Timpohan.
Meanwhile, the Google Maps Street View collection features now images from Mount Kinabalu, apart from other spectacular pictures from Sabah’s other renowned places of interest that were captured via the Street View Trekker, Google’s wearable backpack-mounted camera system.
(Source: Sabah Tourism/the Borneo Post)
Photo: Mount Kinabalu, theplanetd.com