First tourist group treks up Mount Kinabalu as trail reopens partially after earthquake tragedy

A tourist taking pictures of Malaysia's Mount Kinabalu.
A tourist taking pictures of Malaysia's Mount Kinabalu. PHOTO: AFP

KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Some 24 Malaysians and foreigners have become the first group of tourists to trek up Mount Kinabalu as the authorities partially reopened the trail to the Laban Rata point.

An aftershock at 1.25pm on Tuesday (Sept 1) failed to deter the trekkers, who were allowed to stay overnight at the Laban Rata rest house (3,272m). The remaining part of the trail to the 4,095m peak remains closed until Dec 1.

Sabah Parks chairman Zainal Adlin Mahamood said 15 of the trekkers stayed at the rest house .

"We were getting an overwhelming response on the reopening of the route, but it looks like it will take some time for confidence to come back.

"I believe that soon, through word-of-mouth from climbers who made the trek up, more will start climbing," he said.

He said the number of climbers was now limited to 100 as compared to more than 150 before the earthquake.

He said aftershocks were more worrying at the summit plateau area where the rocks remain loose but there was no such problem at Laban Rata.

Sabah Parks is still working out a new route to the summit with the help of foreign experts in an effort to circumvent the problem of rocks falling.

A total of 18 people including Singapore school students on a field trip were killed when a 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit the western side of the mountain on June 5.