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Option to stay night at Laban Rata from Sept 1

Kota Kinabalu: Visitors will have the option to stay the night at Laban Rata which sits at 11,000 feet when the trail up Mount Kinabalu reopens on Sept 1.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun on Wednesday said the decision came about following recommendations made by the Technical Committee on Aug 11.

He said the number would be limited to 100 climbers a day, almost half the permissible limit previously.

Masidi also said a target date to open the trail right up to the summit has been set for Dec 1, to allow for repair and upgrade works in the meantime.

“Sabah Parks is going to conduct a geo-technical study to determine the most suitable and safest trail up and thereafter proceed to work on it,” he said, here.

He said most of the RM10 million allocation the Federal Government provided to repair the mountain will go into this area, adding that the trail up was severely damaged during the June 5 earthquake.

On Aug 8, Masidi said experts from Canada and Japan said to be well conversed with earthquake mitigation and mountaineering were helping Sabah Parks with the recommendation on the repair works, adding that two companies are also helping in the work.

Laban Rata is the last stop for the climbers to rest before scaling the mountain summit, for which a cut-off time has now been set for 2pm for climbers to reach the station. A 5.9-magnitude earthquake caused avalanches of boulders and rocks on June 5, destroying parts of the trail and killing 18 people including 10 Singaporeans – seven pupils and two teachers from Tanjong Katong Primary School, as well as an adventure guide accompanying them on the trip.

Since the World Heritage Site was closed, mountain guides were left without jobs and have been trying to make a living in other jobs like farming.

About 250 mountain guides earn about RM150 to RM170 for each trip, taking their guests up the mountain for a two-day, one-night stay. They usually make one to two trips each week.

But Mountain Guides Association President Richard Soibi doubted they would be able to make the same amount of income anymore.

© Copyright 2015 Sabah Publishing House Sdn. Bhd


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