'We will be back, Mount Kinabalu'


RANAU: Disappointed they were not able to scale the Mount Kinabalu peak because of the earthquake, a group of 12 adventure seekers from Kuala Lumpur assured they will be back next year. After a year of preparation, they were supposed to start their climb today but decided to postpone their conquest to next year. The group will spend the next few days venturing hiking trails or other places of interest in Kundasang instead, now that they plan to scale the 4,095m peak is cancelled. Rosmawati Mohamed Din, 37, said they found out about the earthquake just before boarding a flight to Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur. By the time they arrived the state around midnight, they found out about the temporary closure of the summit trail and climbing activity at the Mount Kinabalu Park via social media. "I was scared but dissapointed too because we have been preparing for a year. Moreover, this is my first time climbing the mountain," she said when met at the park. They arrived at the park about 4am and saw many climbers and ambulance gathering.

Rosmawati Mohamed Din, 37 (right) and Faezah Noor Ab Rahman, 36. Pic by NSTP/KHAIRULL AZRY BIDIN

Rosmawati said she spoke to the climbers about the earthquake and was told about the tremors. "We were informed by the park management that we get either get our refund or postpone our climb to another date. "Many of us decided to postpone to next year as it was our first time. Others who had scaled the peak before opted for a refund," she said. Another group member Faezah Noor Ab Rahman, 36, said they might look for hiking trails and go sightseeing to fill up their free time. "We will be staying in Sabah until Monday. We are also planning to go camping in Kota Belud. Although many of us are dissapointed, we are looking forward to explore other part of Sabah in these few days," she said. At the base of the park this morning, all was calm with chatter of the evacuation process that started immediately after the earthquake last night. Many were also hopeful they could climb today where 135 climbers and 35 mountain guides were scheduled to start the ascent from Timpohon Gate. Of the 135 climbers, 33 people were scheduled for mountain torq - the World’s highest via ferrata and Asia’s first via ferrata located at the mountain's Panalaban rockface. The via ferrata or ‘iron path’ is a protected mountain pathway consisting of a series of rungs, rails, cables and bridges embracing the rock face. On 5 June 2015, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck on Mount Kinabalu while climbers began descending from the summit at 7.15am. The event caused more than 150 climbers, including mountain guides and porters to be stranded. It also killed 18 people. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd