KOTA KINABALU: Weather conditions atop the peak of Mount Kinabalu are on “thin ice”.
A sharp drop in the early morning temperature has led to ice sheets forming near Low’s Peak, catching many trekkers by surprise.
The surface of the renowned Wishing Pool near the summit has frozen as Sabah, like other parts of South-East Asia, faces high pressure cold winds from Siberia.
Mount Kinabalu Mountain Guides Association president Richard Soibi said although ice had previously formed on pools of water, the sight was still unusual.
“It has been colder than usual but thankfully, the weather has not affected climbing activities,” he said.
Kinabalu Park manager Yassin Miki said temperatures on the mountain had occasionally dipped to as low as 0˚C.
“The incidence of ice forming is a phenomenon considering that we are in South-East Asia where it is always warm and humid,” he said.
But those working on the mountain, including Sabah Parks rangers, guides and porters were used to the colder temperatures, Yassin added.
Sabah Meteorological Services Department director Azemi Daud said the weather was colder than usual between 5am and 7am on Wednesday.
He said February was usually one of the coldest months in the country due to the northeast monsoon that is expected to last till the end of March.
The Ranau district at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu recorded the lowest temperature at 15˚C on Wednesday. It was 16˚C in Keningau, Kudat (20˚C) and Kota Kinabalu (21˚C).
Azemi said the low temperatures could also be attributed to a lack of cloud formation at night.