I just got back from climbing the world’s highest Via Ferrata (3776 metres) at Mountain Torq located in the Mt. Kinabalu National Park in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. On December 15, 2009, it was officially announced by Guinness World Records that Mountain Torq’s Via Ferrata is the highest in the world. Via Ferrata originates from an Italian word ‘Via Attrezzata’ (fully equipped road) which means routes that are secured by handrails, ladders, cables or lifelines. I travelled with Phebe’s dad (Uncle Sam) and some of his friends. To get to Via Ferrata we needed to hike the trail up to Mt. Kinabalu to Low’s Peak (at 4095 m it is the highest mountain in SE Asia). I had hiked this trail a few years ago with Phebe’s brother Amos to the summit. We decided to take the Mesilau trail instead of the Timphohon Gate trail up to Laban Rata guesthouse. Although the Mesilau trail is about 2km longer, it is much more challenging and offers better views along the trail. It is challenging in a sense that you have to climb these ridiculous stairs that are about 4 feet high. If you are wanting hike Mt. Kinabalu, and don’t mind the extra long hike, I highly recommend the Mesilau trail.
It took us about 7 hours from the start of the trail at Mesilau Gate to Laban Rata where we stayed overnight to acclimatize. Uncle Sam had hiked this trail a few years ago but this time he said the mountain grew on him. I must admit, the trail was a bit challenging compared the other trail. Once at Laban Rata we had a great dinner buffet and a nice cold shower. Yes, ice cold mountain water. It was really refreshing though. There was no real entertainment at the guesthouse other than eating so we decided to sleep early for an early start the next morning.
The next morning we woke up early and started our hike to the Via Ferrata trail at 5:45am. The first part of the climb consisted of a short training session on how to hook our scorpions from one cable to another. The other part was the vertical climb up to the summit. That was the fun part. If you are afraid of heights then this type of thing might not be suitable for you. We ended up at the summit at around 12 noon for a total of about 6 hours on the mountain. I wish it was longer though. You can read more information about the Via Ferrata on the Mountain Torq website.
Here are some pictures of the trip. For all Via Ferrata pictures, click >>>HERE<<<