About this trail
This trail is the tougher trail beside the standard Timpohon trail for those who wishes to climb/trek to Mount. Kinabalu, Low's Peak.
For those who take this route, the distance from the Mesilau gate to Laban Rata is an additional of 2.2 KM thus the whole journey to Laban Rata rest house is 8.2 KM. A strenuous task if trekkers did not trained well for this trek. This route worth trekking as the scenery along the route is much more beautiful and much more vegetation like orchids to see as it is less trodden by trekkers.
How to Get there
One have to travel to Mount. Kinabalu park from Kota Kinabalu by bus or mini bus or even charted a van to take them from their hotel straight to the Kinabalu park, a distance of about 88 KM.
Accommodation at Laban Rata
It is important to book an accommodation well advance usually 6 to 7 months before actual climb. You might be disappointed if you cannot get lodging at Laban Rata then you will not be able to proceed to climb the Low's Peak the next day. Alway book in advance to save the hassle. To register the climb you can do that when you check in a day before at the park.
Early in the morning, after reported to the park to received your climbing pass, this is actually a tags (it contain a chip that can detect your where about in case you are lost) and get your register guide for the climb. You are off to the Mesilau Gate at Kundasang which is another half hour by transport (you have to arrange and pay for the trip include guide).
Usually you can ask the driver to stop at the Kundasang market place to buy some fruit or food that you need for the journey, and there was much verity of local food available to savour, that will also depend on one stomach
Arrive at the Mesilau gate and show your pass (tag) and the climb is on. .The journey was quite easy at first as the step was well laid and smaller then the standard route, but gradually it became tougher as one have to go up and down. But it offers more opportunities for viewing flora and fauna. There was shelters and toilet built along the trail.
We saw much orchids and mossy growth and the common Nepenthes. The time taken to joint the standard route near the Layang Layang shelter was about 3 hours for normal trekkers speed.
Seen here(right photo) is my son John with Simon Peter children, Isaac and Ivy are having their rest at one of the shelter. The trail saw much jungle or tall tree then the standard trail. as this trail need to go through the Mesilau valley and up again to the ridge of the Kinabalu massive structure.
This photo was taken when we have to walk through the ridge of a mountain that over look many splendid scenery such as the rock face of the Mount. Kinabalu.
More photos below show the scene we saw during our trekking through this Mesilau trail.
Short rest from the journey in this Mesilau trail Another splendid view of the waterfall along the trail
After much tired journey we came to the river crossing with suspended bridge that over hung the Kipuyut river, the surrounding scenery was beautiful and there was also much orchids and other vegetation that grows well in this environment.
Me standing on this suspended bridge This is the cascading river of Kipuyut
The lust greenly vegetations give one's fresh feeling This sign indicate the Kipuyut suspend bridge
After many stops over for rest, one will come to the final leg where the path will become less strenuous and soon will be able see the meeting point to the standard trail that come through Timpohon Gate. At the junction there was a piece of clear land where it was previously gazetted for development, to built another stopover structure that cater more people to lodge and refreshment (then it was canceled and became abandoned for few years, left idled) . Now the sore eye foundation and debris was clear after the project abandoned and now it was a pleasant nature again.
This is Siew Mooi posing at the Mesilau Trail and Timpohon Trail junction, just a short while before the Layang Layang hut. See the background land been clear and been clean up after the proposed project was abandoned for a few years. It was good decision as we do not want too many man made structure that mar the beauty of nature as more commercial developed it will rob of the nature and it heritage as one that recognized by the world.
The climb will be normal through the existence path all the way to Laban Rata for over night before one proceed the assault to the peak early in next morning by 2.30am.
The Low's Peak
The night before the climb, most peoples will gather at the Rest House restaurant area to chat and have hot drink, other will retired early anticipating for tomorrow climb. Climber will usually awaken by the noise of climbers getting up to prepared for the last assault to the Low's Peak. Head light/lamp is a must since one might need both hand to climb the tough and steep rocks. The trail will be glittering with light from various climber toward the summit. One have to make it to the peak before 6:00 AM to see the sunrise if weather permits them. At the summit the area will only be able to accommodate about 25 persons, since it was small space at the peak. Climbers will need to descend before 10am as the heavy mist will covered the area render difficulty and danger pose to climbers.
Our experience on this Nov 2007 trip was that:
The weather are getting worst as it start to rain and wind are howling due to the tail wind of typhoon that hit the southern Philippine. Only 13 of us out off 16 proceed the climb. Another 3 drop off at Sayat-Sayat hut check point due to very cold and raining still and their spectacle are foggy and cause visibility bad. I have to practically drag my wife to prepared her first successful attempt to the Low's peak. The peaks was practically empty due to extreme coldness -almost zero on that morning, everyone that reached the peak will hurry descent to Laban Rata again. Later those who want to proceed for 'Via Ferratta' activity will proceed from Sayat-Sayat starting point.
Before the climb to Low's peak - Mountain Torg HQ Siew Koon, Irene, Siew Mooi and John at Low's peak
Left photo showing me and my son John doing the Via Ferratta after complete the peak and my foot and hand still numb due to exposure to the extreme cold with lack of warm clothing. Upon complete the activity, we met up at the Mountain Torq HQ to rest and pack up to continue our descent to Mount Kinabalu park.
Photo at right show most of the ladies who manage to reach the peak at bad weather and all of them are first timer and are well prepared for this climb. The white zinc building on the right is Mountain Torq administration cum lodging place for package climber like us.
After this, all of us proceed downward trek again. Upon arriving the foot of the Timpohon gate, our mini bus was waiting for us to ferry us back to the park HQ. We the pay up the fees and collect our completion certificate for reaching the Low's peak. For 11 of us who uses the Mesilau trail and complete we will received 2 certificates while those 5 will be one certificate.
14 to 20 Mar 2010 Mesilau Tail
On this date our group that comprises of 10 persons make another attempt to trek through this challenges route, we have keep to the number of 10 persons, since it is better in management for transport, lodging and foods. Our starting point was from Kuala Kubu Bharu and pick up another climber from Kuala Lumpur. Our flight to Kota Kinabalu City was through AirAsia flight, arrive Kota Kinabalu City by midnight, check in to X-plorer Backpacker hostel after being pickup by prearrange mini bus.
Our first classical hostel lodging in Kota Kinabalu. Our next lodging, cottage style hotel at Kundasang.
15 Mar 2010
Next day after breakfast we proceed to Kundasang, stopping at Pekan Nabalu for fruits and lodge at Rose Cabin, this 2 star hotel was in a good location that overlook the massive formation of Mount. Kinabalu. Rested after checked in, we proceed to the Park for registration and much paper works for permit and insurance, Having our early dinner at the park junction where the food was much reasonable prices in compared to the Kota Kinabalu Park restaurant. We stroll around the park for photo and enjoy the cool air.
K.K. Park building with Mt. Kinabalu at the back. Having early dinner after completed registration of climb.
16 Mar 2010
Get up early to have simple breakfast before we all proceed to K.K. Park, report to the park officer for guides that assign to us and potters as well, after all documentation done and each of us get our climb tag, we hop into a mini bus and go to the stating point at Mesilau gate. We all assemble again to have a quick briefing through our guides Mr. Mathius and Mr. Joseph. All members are anxious to start the trek then, after we have our regular prayer and thank giving we poceed the journey. There was also many other group who trek through tough route rather then the standard Summit Trail through Timpohon Gate. Probably the news through brochure indicate beauty scene along the route. Advise to all trekkers who choose this route to prepared hard for physical strength in order to enjoy the trekking, rather regret later with uncomplete journey.
Group photo at Mesilau resort/gate before journey. Posing with beautiful backdrop scenery and resting.
The journey by our group started well, as most of us train hard to tackle this tough route and most of us did it in year 2007, except 2 member have no experience on trekking to Mt Kinabalu. The weather was splendid but a bit too dry, since it has not n raining for last 2 months, probably due to El Nino phenomenon. Both Simon and myself who love photography snap as many scenic photo as possible as to contribute into this website and remembrance.
Beautiful scene with upper Montana trees and plants Irene trek through a mountain ridge with unique trees.
By half way through, those strong trekkers proceed to pace their speed, leaving some who have to go slow as to conserve energy and taking a little step at a time according to their own breath. All member was reminded to partner as to help out. Three members was last and they was ensure of safety to Laban Latar by the guides. We all have our pack lunch whenever we feel hungry but most of the time it was drinking water and 100 plus, since we sweat a lot and condition is dry.
Slowly struggle on after joining to main dusty trek The struggle is over! Here Irene arriving at Lagadan hut
The earliest to arrive was Simon pack who reaching Laban Latar rest house by 3:40 PM follow by the rest. 3 strugglers who made it by 6pm, 6:30pm and 7:20 PM respectivily. This are the consequence of lacks of actual physical training and first timer through Mesilau route, which actually 2.5 KM longer! all of us then quickly have our dinner before going up again to the Gunting Lagadan hut for the night. Arrangement with the guide to bring up some bread and jam for the early morning 2:00AM breakfast, as it will not logic for all member to go to the rest house for breakfast and come up again!
The late afternoon cloud formation from Rest House. The going down of sun as seen on TV3 video clips.
We all retired early as to anticipate for the next day early climb, since everyone are tired too. The night was not very cold, as the weather show temperature stand at 11 degree celsius on thermometer outside the Lagadan Hut. Most of us could not sleep well due to anticipating for tomorrow climb.
17 Mar 2010 (11,000ft to 13,514ft)
By 1:30Am, most of us already get up and prepared with gear for the last trek up to the peak to catch the sunrise by 5:45AM. Some of our members was in full gears after the bad weather experience during our last climb in 2007. The guides came in only after 2:15AM, we quickly have some bread and a cup of hot drink, off we go as a group by 2:35 AM, this time only 9 persons proceed as the other member not feeling well. The night was quite cold due to blowing of gush wind and it was also quite dark without full moon and depending only our headlight. Every steps was a carefully placed and maintaining of pace and breath as not to exhaust oneself easily, due to thinning of air at these altitude.
Wake up early to prepared breads and hot drinks Arriving at Low's peak and waiting for sunrise.
Most of us arrived at the peak right before the actual sunrise and with less people for those early birds, photoes session of successful climber and friends. Since it was clod and the sun not up yet, some decide to hide among the big rock and taking a short nap!
Taking a naps since it was cold and dark still. We came, we saw and we conquered! Proving a point.
After the sunrise and much snapping of photoes and we all marvel at the beauty of the surrounding, thanking God greatness in His creation. Thanking Him for enable us to view glory and enable our group to make it to the peak. We started to go down by 7:15AM as we are getting quite hungry by now. There as also many climbers at the peak, probably this is the best month to climb as the weather is usually good.
The splendid sunrise view from the Low's peak The crowded climbers cheering upon their success.
Time to get down before the heavy mist come over. Posing at the plateau where no tree can grows.
On our way down, many trekkers over take us, while some of them will marvel at the beauty, the height and the steepness of this mountain as they could not see clearly during their ascending to the peak. The constant coldness is there but the sun can cause some burn as well, but nobody really care and all we want is to go down and have our breakfast!
Looking down to Sayat Sayat check-point. Looking behind Sayat Sayat, one can see the route.
Easy part of the trek with some stunted shrub trees. Careful! it getting much steeper and be alert on step.
More of photo session with our members and other scenery that we continue the descending to Laban Latar, the going down trend was much easier, but beware of our knee that take much of the jamming or jarring of kneecap, some take it to Zig-Zag pattern, some go extremely slowly as it was still a long was descend to the K.K. Park! On certain stretch of route, one will need to hold the available rope to be on the safe side. Season and experience trekker usually know how to manoeuvre their way down safetly and faster pace.We all pack up our belonging at Gunting Lagadan and proceed for our packages breakfast, having a short rest to ensure food is properly goes down. We started our journey down by 9:30AM
Going down and down to the Timpohon gate trail. Looking back at the mountain we just conquered.
By 3:00PM, some of our fast pace members have reach the Timpohon gate, resting while waiting for those who are tired and struggle with knee pains. Most of us are very tired and knee sore, even though some have to depend on knee guard and with the help of walking stick. Finally all other reaching the gate by 4:00PM and we hop into the waiting bus to the park to process the certificate and others all went down to Balsam restaurant to have late lunch (under packages). Enjoy the meal as all of us are tired and hungry. Return to hotel by minibus.
18 Mar 2010
Get up next day after a goodnight rest, we proceed to our plan destination, that is to Poring hotspring. We charted a minivan for this trip after our breakfast. the places was still under the management of Sabah Park, thus we do not need to pay the entrance fee except to show our climb tag. walking in the park was ok, except when one have to climb up and down a stair! for the pain is still there.
The pain experience is still there going down stair. This is a hot spring bathing area, full of weekender!
Having a dip in the hot bath tubs for pains relief. Laze around while waiting for other members.
Most of us decide to soak in the hot spring water to ease the sore of our legs, looking for any vacant bath tubs available, since it was Malaysia school day, there was much people coming for the same purposes. Some decide to stroll around to snap more photoes and went into the butterfly farm, where there was many species of its to be seen. When everyone have enough, we regroup and proceed to the Borneo Orchid conservation centre. it was a walking distance of 600 meters. We saw many local varieties of orchids collected from the Island of Borneo, due to dry season and the plant was not well kept that some are withering away. Many Phapiopedelum species (slipper orchids), Phalaenopsis species, Dendrobium species, Bolbopedium and many other species to be seen. Due to non flowering season, most of the plant was not known, except labels that was written and place high above that make identification difficult.
The famous Rothchild's Orchids found only in Borneo Phalaenopsis species that have fragrant smell.
By 1:00PM we depart for Ranau town to have our lunch in one of the chinese restaurant, our driver Mr.Yasic was kind enough to bring us there. After enjoy our meal we proceed to the Kundasang War Memorial. The place had change much the last time (year 1996) I visited. Now one have to pay for the entrance fee and the garden was better kept and maintained, it is worth for paying and the place being keep clean and tidy, there was also restoration work done and new building and structure put up, surely it will attract more visitors especially relative to the Australian and the British POW who had fight and defence the country during the WWII, the long marches known as "The slow march to Hell" a distance of 265 KM from Sandakan to Ranau saw about 1,800 Allied forces died and only 6 survive. May their soul have peace and remembered by all who love peace.
Entrance to the War Memorial, group photo. This garden dedicated to Australian, British and Borneo
This is British garden, Borneo garden is next block. Part of the main garden where a plaque was erected.
We all return back to our hotel after stop over at the Kundasang vegetable market for more bananas and others fruit and titbit for the final night stay at our hotel. That night saw everyone was tired but we still find strength to gather for a session of talks and sharing experience during our trek to Mt. Kinabalu and taking foods we bought. we even plan to get up by 5:30AM just to watch the early trekker who will trek up to the peak by identify the blinking light as they ascend up to the peak along the known trail.
19 Mar 2010
Our last day stay in Sabah, get packed up and have our breakfast at the restaurant, we was all ready by 10:00AM and was pick up by the mini bus which we have arrange before hand to go down to Kota Kinabalu city. we have arrange with the driver to stop at Pekan Nabalu for any member who want to buy some local product and the wild orchid stall further down to see their collection and try to buy some back home. As usually some bought the dark or black hill rice and some souvenir for friends.
Buying some local hill rice and other local foods Did you see any interesting local product here?
Looking at many wild species of orchids collection. I am trying to buy some orchid from this stalls.