‘Via Ferrata’ – Mount Kinabalu

12 Feb

When I was first introduced to the ‘via ferrata’ on Mount Kinabalu, I was really interested to try it. From the pictures I see in the internet, it looked really fun and full of adrenaline rush. Think of, climbing on a vertical cliff, walking along an incline cliff, looking down means looking over the vast land 3000 meters below. IF you aren’t thrilled about that, how about walking along a hanging wooden bridge at that height, or, walking on a single steel rope? That is what I did during the via Ferrata descend from Mount Kinabalu.

Suspension Rope Bridge - Via Ferrata, Mount Kinabalu

Suspension Rope Bridge - Via Ferrata

We took the low’s peak circuit. At 3,776 meters above sea level, it was certified to be the world’s highest Via Ferrata certified by Guinness World Records™. We started at about 7.30 a.m that morning. The starting point was at around the 7.5 km point. Reaching the starting point, we wore our safety harness and helmet, before taking a group picture.

After that, we started the vertical descend group by group. Each group consist of around 5 person and also an guide trailing behind. In my group, I was elected to be the leader. We were all tied together with a rope. For safety, we use 2 carabiners attached to our harness. The carabiners were lock to the metal wire anchored to the group at every 4 meters.

Descending the Cliff - Via Ferrata, Mount Kinabalu

Descending the Cliff - Via Ferrata

The day before, we were briefed and given some training on how to use the harness and safety rope. The briefing was held at Pendant Hut, around 100 meters from Laban Rata Resthouse.

At the start of the Low’s Peak Circuit, we descended a vertical cliff before walking for a short while along the cliff. Then, we descended vertically again. This time, the vertical descend was very long. The journey look short on a map, but, we moved so slowly that it took us 5 and a half hours to complete 1.2 km route.

Mount Kinabalu Via Ferrata Map

Mount Kinabalu Via Ferrata Map (Low's Peak Circuit - Red Trail)

After descending for some time, we reached a suspension bridge. The bridge was very unstable and easier shaken by us moving along it. All throughout the via Ferrata activity, we enjoyed the view below. We could see the headquarters of the Sabah Park ( Timpohon Gate), Laban Rata, and also the clouds below.The weather was very good that morning. The sky was clear and it wasn’t windy. But, it was very sunny. The next day, I had sun burn on my face and neck, it was the worst sun burn I have ever had in my life! So, apply sun block before you start.

Walking along the cliff- Via Ferrata

Walking along the cliff - Via Ferrata

If you plan to join this via Ferrata, I suggest that you have sufficient breakfast that morning. Half way into the via Ferrata, we were all tired, thirsty and hungry. Our body were low in sugar level. My family and I did not have a proper breakfast that morning. So, have a good breakfast before you go.

I didn’t really enjoy the via Ferrata. The activity was to long, and they were all the same, climb down and down and down. The fun part was the start, where you are new to the activity, the 3 bridge crossing and.. the scenery of course! The rest, boring.. It was too long with the same activity. If there were short flying fox, or short stretches that we could abseil down, then only would it be fun and faster.

It’s the adrenaline rush that makes it fun. Walking down on a cliff isn’t exciting for me. Height is not a fear for me. It’s free-falling that makes it fun.

Yet, it was a good experience for me.

What if there is base jumping from Kinabalu Peak? I’ll surely go for it! Of course, if it is not too expensive. How about, gliding down with a hand glider? xP

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Posted by on February 12, 2010 in Outdoors


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