Kinabalu Via Ferrata & Padas Whitewater Rafting
Now that we are back, here are a few of tips for those of you planning your next Sabah adventure.
TIPS (Mountain Torq)
1. Unless you've been running the marathon or training very very hard to climb Mt Kinabalu AND do the Mountain Torq via ferrata, break your journey up into a 3 days, 2 nights adventure. If you try to squeeze it all into 2 days, 1 night you will probably be too tired to even remember your experience. Actually, the only thing I remembered was chasing the clock...
2. The two long routes (The Preamble and Low's Peak Circuit) will certainly be quite a challenge for those with a fear for heights. Needless to say, it will feel even harder if you are not fit.
3. The Mountain Torq accommodation at Pendant Hut is as cozy as it comes. Lovely little hut with the cleanest mountain toilet I have seen so far! (Maybe it is because I just came back from Nepal).
4. The via ferrata climbing guides are both strong and handsome. The Mountain Torq service is as professional as any I have come across overseas. They have good safety equipment, bombproof anchor installations, and excellent communications equipment. In terms of safety on the route, you should not worry too much. That being said, watch where you step.
1. Generally you can expect the mountain to be wet. The clouds and mist move in and out quite quickly and frequently.
2. While hiking, layer your clothing so you can take out inner layers as you get hot. Expect to put them on as soon as it feels cold. Getting sick on the mountain is no fun.
3. You MUST have a waterproof and breathable jacket. The more breathable the better (GoreTex or eVent). Otherwise condensation collects very quickly on your clothing in the humid environment.
4. Poncho is a bad idea on summit day. There are many sections where you might accidentally step on your own poncho while tackling the mountain slopes. The wind is also very strong, so the poncho will end up flapping around you...some times in your face.
5. Wear waterproof hiking gloves when going up the summit. All the ropes are always wet.
6. If you participate in the via ferrata activity, 2mm-3mm neoprene kayak gloves or diving gloves work perfectly well on the climb. They give you a good grip and insulates you from the cold metal pieces. They are also hardy enough not to tear easily from abrasion on the granite wall.
5. Wear stiff soled boots. They help you maintain a better posture on the via ferrata pieces. Soft soled shoes will make your feet and legs even more tired as they do not provide any support.
For extended gear list, go to Via Ferrata - A New Adventure on Mt Kinabalu
TIPS (Acute Mountain Sickness - AMS)
1. Remember the symptoms of AMS before you start hiking.
2. Severe headache, vomiting, shortness of breath, falling asleep while walking, blue lips or blue finger tips. DO NOT GO HIGHER.
Refer to TIPS on AMS
< You have to book your Via Ferrata trip from any of the travel operators listed in the Mountain Torq website. Go to www.mountaintorq.com , OR you can try to book as a "Walk-in" customer when you reach Pendant Hut (the newest looking hut) in Laban Rata >
PADAS WHITEWATER RAFTING
A MUST TRY for those eager for an adrenaline rush. It is a crazy rodeo ride in a big inflatable tube.
Lovely scenery and a great train ride. Lunch was excellent (best I've had on a river...and I've been to many river trips). Riverbug service is very professional. One of the best local operators in my book. They take care of you from the moment you leave the hotel to the time you return...about 11 hours later. For booking information, go to www.traversetours.com
Overall, I would give both Mountain Torq and Riverbug the thumbs up for their very professional and friendly service.