Sabah gears up to fully reopen Mount Kinabalu by year end

KOTA KINABALU, Aug 12 – Nearly three months after being wrecked by a 5.9-magnitude quake, Southeast Asia’s tallest mountain will be partially opened to climbers from September 1, though full access to the summit won’t be possible till December 1.

The daily number of climbers up the mountain will also be limited to 100, Sabah’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said today.

“Climbers will be allowed to spend the night at Laban Rata before descending the next day,” he said, referring to the 3,272m stop of the 4,095m mountain.

Masidi, when contacted by Malay Mail Online, also said that Sabah Parks is working on creating a new trail to the summit from Laban Rata, which will be open by December this year.

Local travel agents said the reopening is highly anticipated by foreign and local tourists who are eager to experience the new trail following the magnitude 5.9 earthquake that hit the mountain last June 5.

“We have been receiving many enquiries and have taken bookings for climbs between December and next year. People seem to be eager to see the mountain after the earthquake,” said one travel agent who declined to be named.

Last Saturday, a test hike was held for some 88 climbers, including rangers, mountain guides and members of the media to experience the hike and aftermath of the earthquake.

Signs of the damage along the trail emerged from 1,500m upwards, where a section of the route had fallen off the cliff and a new path had been cut out.

Paths damaged by falling trees following tremblors had been cleared and those who reached Laban Rata said that the trail was safe and secure for climbers.