Sabah quake: One year on

Trail rerouted to avoid damaged areas

A view of the valley below from the end of the Walk the Torq route. The route was partly damaged by falling rocks set off by the quake last year and was closed for months for repair works and a diversion.
A view of the valley below from the end of the Walk the Torq route. The route was partly damaged by falling rocks set off by the quake last year and was closed for months for repair works and a diversion.PHOTO: MOUNTAIN TORQ

A part of the Via Ferrata trail that the Tanjong Katong Primary School pupils were on when the earthquake struck last June has been rerouted to avoid the damaged areas on Mount Kinabalu.

The Walk the Torq route, located 3,520m above sea level, was partly damaged by falling rocks set off by the quake and closed for several months to allow for repair works and the diversion. Equipment lost or destroyed then has also been replaced.

Since its reopening in January, the upgraded route receives about 100 climbers weekly, down from about 150 previously.

Ms Quek I-Gek, marketing director of Mountain Torq, which operates the Via Ferrata trail on Mount Kinabalu, said: "We rerouted the trek as it was too close to the original summit trail where most of the rocks landed during the rockfall."

The trail, which takes about one to two hours to complete, is designed for beginners and family groups, and caters for individuals aged 10 and above. It is also peppered with spots for visitors to take pictures and enjoy views of the picturesque mountain.

A new hanging ladder feature has been introduced on the route, which also boasts other highlights such as a two-cable monkey bridge.

Mountain Torq also runs another Via Ferrata route, known as the Low's Peak Circuit, which is designed for those with above average fitness. Several safety features have been added to this circuit.

For instance, a new clip system on a single continuous line has been installed along the circuit. Typically, climbers on the Via Ferrata trail have to clip and unclip their harnesses every few metres as they progress along the rock.

The new system means hikers can move along the rock face more quickly in an emergency.

Calvin Yang

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 05, 2016, with the headline 'Trail rerouted to avoid damaged areas'. Print Edition | Subscribe