KOTA KINABALU: Spectacular views were in store for 135 climbers and guides, the first to use the reopened Ranau trail to the summit of Mount Kinabalu.
They reached Low’s Peak yesterday.
Some of the climbers who had scaled the mountain before described the new trail as more challenging, especially steep sections that could only be negotiated using ladders.
“It is more challenging with the steep sections but climbers are then rewarded with awesome views of the mountain terrain,” said Petronas Sabah and Labuan regional office head Julita Ontol, who was a member of the group.
Even as most of the climbers reached Low’s Peak at 6am, a team of 18 paragliders and another two flying tandem took off from the summit plateau, flying in formation before landing in Kundasang 40 minutes later.
Julita, who has climbed the mountain twice in the 1990s, believes mountain climbers will really like this new trail.
She also noted that mountain guides were now more organised in carrying out their duties.
Julita and other climbers began their trek from Timpohon Gate at the base of the mountain on Tuesday. They spent a night at the Laban Rata rest house before continuing to the summit at 3am on Wednesday.
As the climbers reached the summit, the paragliders led by Sabah Parks chairman Tengku Datuk Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahamood began taking off from the summit plateau.
Tengku Adlin, who is also president of the Kinabalu Paragliding Club, said their flight was in memory of the 18 people who died in rock and boulder avalanches in the June 5 earthquake on the mountain.
He added that he was thankful for the clear weather that enabled them to carry out the paragliding flight without any hitches.
However, Park manager Yassin Miki said four of the climbers suffered numerous problems. One of them had altitude sickness, while the second one felt unwell due to asthma.
Another climber faced knee problem while the fourth climber twisted her ankle.
They were given medical assistance by mountain guides trained as search and rescue personnel.