Via ferrata, from the Italian for iron road, is an impossible trail on the side of a mountain made possible with the help of foot-struts, guide cables and a mechanism that secures climbers.
Popular in the European Alps, the highest via ferrata in the world can be found near the peak of Mt. Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo.
Mt. Kinabalu is a well-known landmark and one of Sabah’s most popular tourist destinations. Although not the highest mountain in South East Asia, Mt. Kinabalu’s peak is certainly the most accessible of the tall peaks.
The highest point, Low’s Peak, towers 4,095m above the plains of Borneo, and can be reached without any specialised equipment. That’s one of the reason why around 100 climbers a day, between the ages of 13 and 80, take on the challenge of reaching the summit of Mt. Kinabalu.
Although reaching the peak before dawn, and being rewarded by a unique sunrise from the roof of Borneo, is a tough challenge and an unbeatable experience, Mt. Kinabalu has more to offer than just a walk in the park, as it was.
Mountain Torq Via Ferrata
Since 2007 Mountain Torq operates the via ferrata (and other mountaineering activities) from their base at the Laban Rata rest camp.
The via ferrata is an additional physical challenge and is therefore recommended for those with an above average level of fitness.
There are 2 via ferrata routes on offer against the Mt. Kinabalu plateau.
Walk the Torq Via Ferrata
The ‘easier’ of the 2 routes is called Walk the Torq.
Starting at 3,520m above sea level (a.s.l.), this route still requires you to walk down from the summit. Walk the Torq offers adrenaline pumping views from overhangs above Laban Rata that lets you see all the way back to Kota Kinabalu.
Although just 430m long, Walk the Torq takes 2 – 4 hours, depending on the abilities of the group. That’s ample time to enjoy the surreal location of your surroundings and see Mt. Kinabalu like only a select few will.
The route include a hanging step-ladder, a rudimentary suspension bridge, and enough breathtaking views to keep awed all the way. You are secured throughout the walk with redundancies, so you will be relaxed enough to enjoy it all.
According to the grading systems for via ferrate, Walk the Torq is a French PD and an Italian 2A, although the grades are probably more useful for active mountaineer rather than the casual hiker. Keep your own abilities in mind as well as what the Mt. Kinabalu hike will take out of you.
Low’s Peak Circuit
The more challenging via ferrata is called Low’s Peak Circuit. With its highest point at 3,776m a.s.l., the participants on the Low’s Peak Circuit look like tiny ants to those on the Walk the Torq circuit.
The Low’s Peak Circuit starts high up on the Mt. Kinabalu trail, so you skip a chunk of the route between the summit and Laban Rata, but the Low’s Peak Circuit’s 1.2km distance will add 4 – 6 hours to your morning.
A high level of fitness is therefore recommended for the maximum enjoyment of this activity.
For your effort you are rewarded with jaw-dropping views. Low’s Peak Circuit feature one of the world’s highest suspension bridges, probably the world’s highest Nepalese bridge and, after traversing a vertical height of 365m, it connects to the Walk the Torq circuit.
On the grading system Low’s Peak Circuit is a French AD and an Italian 3C.
Rustic Borneo for Mt. Kinabalu & Via Ferrata
As local travel specialists Rustic Borneo is happy to arrange your Mt. Kinabalu climb and Via Ferrata activity for you. Our packages are tailor made to your requirements to make your experience as effortless and rewarding as possible.