REDISCOVERING THE SUMMIT TRAIL – From November 28th to 5th December 2015, the Borneo Expedition team members John Kong, Wong Hoe Kiat and John Lee spent a week at Pendant Hut, operated by Mountain TORQ to rediscover and document Mount Kinabalu new summit trail which is now opened to the public from December 1, 2015.
Mount Kinabalu, which stood strong after the June 5th earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 rocked the mountain and took 18 lives. Since that day, the summit trail to the peak was closed by Sabah Parks for maintenance and to rebuild a much better and safer trail. The daily lives and incomes of the silent heroes of Mt. Kinabalu, the mountain guides and porters were greatly affected by the quake with the closure of the park to climbers. Risking their lives, they worked with Sabah Parks rangers to rescue stranded climbers during the quake by bringing them and carrying some to safety. Take note that all the facilities and amenities at Laban Rata; the chalets, the bed, the food, the wood that makes the steps and all luxury comfort and utility items are carried by them, piece by piece, day by day like human ants. We had the opportunity to meet up with Ridzuan, one of the 3 Sabah quake heroes during our visit and had to opportunity to photograph him.
WE HAD A BLAST! During our expedition, we managed to catch up with Sabah Park’s first climb to the summit lead by Y.B. Tuan Kamarlin Bin Ombi – Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture & Environment Sabah, Sabah Park’s Chairman, YM Datuk Dr Tengku Adlin and Director Dr. Jamili Nais, Deputy Director Dr Maklarin Lakim together with MOTCE, Sabah Parks management and other members of the media. We also get to join YM Datuk Tengku Adlin on his attempt on Mountain TORQ’s “Walk The TORQ” via ferrata route to kick off the start of the mountain activities! Not only did YM Datuk Dr Tengku Adlin did the via ferrata, he also led a group of para gliders to fly from the summit plateau of Mt Kinabalu to Kundasang, Ranau early in the morning on December 2nd, 2015 and what an awesome view!
We went up and down the new summit trail over the next few days and thanks to Mt. AKI, we had beautiful sunrises, sunsets, morning and evening weather to enable us to really capture the true beauty of Mt. Kinabalu even surpassing our own expectation of the weather! Thank you Mt. Aki for letting us to capture you, the new and true beauty of Malaysia’s and Sabah’s pride to the world.
Most of all we would like to thank Sabah Park Board of Trustee (Pn Rimi and En. Rodzan) for granting us a special permit to document the new summit area, providing assistance by Sabah Park rangers and most of all providing medical assistance to one our team member who suffered AMS during our expedition. Our appreciation to En. Engelbert of Sabah Parks, Dr Nazim and his team members to provide voluntary medical and emergency services for climbers up on the mountains! Our solute to the great effort of Sabah Parks and the emergency team and this has really bring Mt. Kinabalu’s climbing to higher safety standards.
We also wish to thank Mountain TORQ for hosting our food and accommodation at Pendant Hut during our stay and we wish to thank Wilfred, I-Quek and the team especially trainers Ali, Pody, James and Sudin and the rest of the Mountain TORQ team members for making our stay most comfortable and enjoyable and we hope to stay longer! We really hope that the via ferrata will be up and running soon and with our pre-photo session of the via ferrata routes, WE WANT MORE!!
Powerful images need powerful camera and equipment to capture them. We also wish to thank Nikon Malaysia and Nikon Professional Services (NPS) for loaning us two of Nikon’s top of the line professional camera bodies, the Nikon D4s (16 Mp) with the ability to capture even small details in the dark without noises and the amazing Nikon D810 (36 Mp) with images created with such awesome details beyond my expectation.
Most of all, we would like to thank you, yes you for looking at this album and we hope you enjoy the images generated by our team during our expedition and YES, please like and share our album to the world over to let them know that Mt. Kinabalu, Malaysia’s 1st World Heritage Site is up, ready and much more beautiful than before to welcome visitors!!
For those who are interested to climb Mount Kinabalu, please make this your NEW LIFE LIST to climb Mt. Kinabalu to enjoy the true beauty of mother nature as well as to support the daily living of the mountain guides and porters to make this a truly sustainable eco-tourism product for the local communities surrounding Kinabalu Park.
John Kong – Photographer / Expedition Leader / NPS Member