Guest Post: How I Got to the Top of Mount Kinabalu in One Day

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Adrian from The Lifestyle Compound recently contacted me about sharing one of his adventures with ya’ll. To say this guy is a bit of an adrenaline junkie is probably an understatement, as you can see from his entries about hiking to Everest Base Camp or walking the very dangerous Huashan right here in China.

This week, he tells us about how he threw caution to the wind and just went for it with Malaysian Borneo’s Mount Kinabalu. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

How I Got to the Top of Mount Kinabalu in One Day

If you love mountains then you have to go here. This is one of the best mountains I’ve climbed but I nearly didn’t make it.

I’d devoured articles on Google trying to find out information on climbing this sucker; when to climb it, the best season, how much, can you do it in a day, do you have to book months in advance etc. But everything I found just seemed to make it complicated so I thought screw it, I’m just gunna fly to Borneo and take it from there.

To everyone out there, I found that is the best thing to do, everything can be organised a day or two before and I climbed Mount Kinabalu in the ‘busy’ period.

I actually never intended to climb to the top of the mountain in one day but because of bad weather it was a blessing that we did. We got to the top and probably could have got back to the bottom the same day but for all the rain.

I set off early in the morning from Kota Kinabalu and caught the bus for the 2 hour ride out to the park headquarters, filled out the necessary forms, was appointed my compulsory guide and we set off.

The walk/trek up to your accommodation for the night is not too physically demanding depending on your fitness but it takes several hours to reach Laban Rata. If fitness is not your thing, don’t worry, just take your time, take plenty of rest stops and you’ll get there no worries.

Photo courtesy of Adrian
Photo courtesy of Adrian Landsberg

By the time we reached our stay for the night, the rain was pelting down and my guide suggested we try and summit the mountain today or we may not make it tomorrow as the weather was forecast to be even worse.

I was absolutely keen as I didn’t want to have spent $270 AU for two days and not make it to the top.

We had lunch and set off once again.

The weather started getting even worse as we hit the sheer rock face part of the mountain, and with water teeming over the rock it was starting to get a little dangerous and slippery.

Photo courtesy of Adrian Landsberg
Photo courtesy of Adrian Landsberg

At this point only me and one Japanese guy were on the mountain with our guides, little did we know that they stopped letting anyone through just after we left. We pressed on, slipping and sliding here and there but we made it to the top, thankfully the fog cleared for about ten minutes so we could enjoy the view of the mountain, and what an amazing piece of rock it was.

We had made it to the top with time to spare ! I’d paid for two days anyway as I was in no rush.

Only a week before this day a German girl had fallen to her death only a metre from where we sat. I took a little moment in respect for her.

Celebrating a victory over Mount Kinabalu. Photo courtesy of Adrian Landsberg.
Celebrating a victory over Mount Kinabalu. Photo courtesy of Adrian Landsberg.

We took our photos and headed back down to base camp being very careful on the slippery down hill sections, holding onto the rope in a lot of parts.

We had our dinner, socialised and everyone had an early night as the idea with the two day climb is that everyone gets up at 2am to climb to the top to catch the sunrise.

Well when I woke up (7:00am) I expected everyone to be gone or on the way back but the food hall was full of dejected people that were told they couldn’t climb because of the bad conditions.

Wow. I can’t tell you how many times I counted myself lucky on the way down that my guide had suggested we summit the mountain the first day.

So if you come to climb Kinabalu in February as I did, keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to stay somewhere close if you really don’t want to go home without getting to the top. You may have to wait it out for a few days.

But if you make it to the top and the weather is great then make sure you sit and take the time to really appreciate it, it’s one of the most beautiful mountains in the world.

About the Author

Adrian Landsberg started The Lifestyle Compound for his love of entrepreneurship and travel. In October 2103 he quit his job of ten years to chase his dream of going on a multi-country, bucket list smashing mission. Recently he has bungee jumped, walked the most dangerous hike in the world and trekked to Mount Everest Base camp. Adrian enjoys writing about building passive income, travelling and living life against the grain of society.

You don't mess with Adrian Landsberg of The Lifestyle Compound
You don’t mess with Adrian Landsberg of The Lifestyle Compound

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  1. Hi Arlet, No I never even saw a suspension bridge, I saw pictures of it and was hoping to walk it but never came across one. I’m not sure where it is ? Maybe it’s on a different route or maybe because the weather was so bad I couldn’t see it haha ! But yes an amazing mountain, and would be even more amazing if you can go in good weather.

  2. When I saw the episode on Mt Kinabalu on Nat Geo, it made me realize how scary (and exciting) it is to reach the summit! This post is another testament to that belief. By the way, were you able to cross the suspension bridge in Mt Kinabalu? I heard that it is the highest suspension bridge in the world. Amazing!

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