Mount Kinabalu’s summit trail is once again open to climbers, six months after an earthquake, which devasted East Malaysia iconic national park. Mount Kinabalu is located on Borneo Island and is the third highest peak in Southeast Asia culminating at 4,095 m. Kinabalu National Park is on UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000.
Some 135 climbers were the first to experience the new Ranau trail leading to the mountain’s highest point, Low’s Peak at 4095.2m. They were flagged off by State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun at Timpohon Gate yesterday.
Among the first batch of climbers were 53 tourists while the rest were Malaysians.
Masidi said the reopening of the trail following the devastating 6.0 magnitude earthquake on June 5 showed Sabahans’ ability to rise above a tragedy. The quake triggered rock and boulder avalanches that claimed 18 lives, including four mountain guides.
He said the cost to reconstruct the trail was less than US$90,000 (RM400,000) due to voluntary help from local villagers and mountain guides chipped in to help. “It was their labour of love for the mountain,” told the Minister.
The reopening of the trail is however accompanied by some bad news for the climbers: guide fees have been increased from RM150 to RM230. It is due to the fact that Sabah Parks will now provide them with insurance coverage for death and injuries. Sabah Parks also reviewed safety along the trail, limiting climbing to only 120 people on a daily basis. “We will review this figure based on feedback from climbers,” added the Minister to reporters, present at the reopening ceremony. Limited climbers’ numbers is also due to the fact that repairs on some accommodation facilities have not been completed yet.
Sabah Parks is now working with Malaysia National Meteorological Services Department for the installation of seismic equipment on the mountain. “We would like to have this equipment as soon as possible,” told Masidi Manjun.