KOTA KINABALU: Trekkers heading up Mount Kinabalu’s summit were treated to the sight of ice sheets near Low’s Peak as early morning temperatures dipped around many parts of Sabah.
The surface of the renowned ‘Wishing Pool’ near the mountain summit became frozen as the state like other parts of Southeast Asia experienced high pressure cold wind from Siberia.
Mount Kinabalu Mountain Guides Association president Richard Soibi said that though the occurrence of ice forming in water pools on the mountain previously, the sight of them was still unusual.
“It has been colder than usual but thankfully the weather has not affected climbing activities on the mountain,” he said.
Sabah Parks Kinabalu Park manager Yassin Miki said temperatures on the mountain have occasionally gone as low as zero degree Celsius.
“The incidence of water freezing into ice is a phenomenon considering that we are in the middle of Southeast Asia where it is always warm and humid,” he said.
He said those working on the mountain including the Sabah Park rangers, guides and porters were used to the colder temperatures.
Sabah Meteorological Services Department director Azemi Daud said that the colder than usual temperatures were felt between 5am and 7am on Wednesday.
He said February was one of the coldest months in the country due to the northeast monsoon which was expected to end in March.
Ranau district at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu recorded the lowest temperatures with 15 degrees Celsius, Keningau (16 degrees Celsius), Kudat (20 degrees Celsius) and Kota Kinabalu (21 degrees Celsius).Azemi said the colder temperatures could also be attributed to geographical factors and the common cooling effect during fair weather as well as lack of cloud formation at night.