The 29th annual Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon is on again this October with a new, breathtaking track.
Cacelled in the wake of last year’s devastating earthquake, the legendary Climbathon is returning on 16 October, featuring a subtantially modified trail which takes participants to even higher greater altitudes, while showcasing magnificent views – all of which will ensure that the 2016 Climbathon is the most challenging yet.
Setting off from the Kinabalu Park World Heritage Site at Kundasang, race-goers will make their way up to the summit of the 4,095 metre-high Mount Kinabalu, before descending and finishing the race back at Kinabalu Park some hours later.
As the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea, Mount Kinabalu dominates the 290 square miles of Kinabalu National Park. It’s also a veritable biological cornucopia, boasting some of the world’s most beautiful and diverse ecology, flora and geology, which provide a dramatic backdrop to this year’s climb.
Unlike previous years, this year’s event is only open to experienced and qualified participants – namely people who finished the 2013 or 2014 races within allocated time limits, those who have been recommended by their country’s relevant national athletic or climbing body, and those who have recently completed in a mountain race with an altitude of more than 2,000 metres, and participation is limited to a maximum of 120 competitors.
Mount Kinabalu has long been revered as a sacred site by the Kadazan-Dusun, Sabah’s local indigenous peoples. According to their beliefs, the Mountain is home to home of the spirits of the dead who dwell on its summit, and race organisers take great care to ensure that all race participants are respectful of their traditions.
For anyone interested in climbing the Mountain outside of the International Climbathon, guided tours are available and no special climbing skills are needed. According to Sabah’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun “Anyone in reasonably good health and fitness can climb all the way to the peak of Mount Kinabalu.”
Sabah Parks on permits a maximum of 192 visitors allowed to ascend to the summit each day so make sure you register well ahead. Tour guides traditionally bring food and gifts for the spirits along the journey to the summit.
Registrations for the International Climbathon close on 20 September and more information can be found at www.climbathon.my.