Tag Archives: climbing

Indoor Climbing in Sabah

Indoor rock climbing

Why is bungee jump thrilling? Because our bodies alarm us that our life is in danger (but you know you are safe). This fight-or-flight response triggers the flood of adrenaline, endorphin, and dopamine, which excite us and awaken the warrior inside us.

climbing in SICC

Climbing can take you to places no others can reach

I want to look like one of those awesome rock climbing dudes who always appear in motivational posters, so I tried my first indoor climbing at Sabah Indoor Climbing Centre (SICC), the best indoor climbing gym in Sabah since 1 Sep 2010.

Sabah Indoor Climbing Centre (SICC)

Sabah Indoor Climbing Centre (SICC). This place becomes busy every late afternoon.

indoor climbing gym

Climbing is a sport for everyone

At first I hesitated, the tall and vertical climbing walls look like unconquerable cliffs. Nearly overpowered by fear, I started to imagine that I was failing and falling.

climber team

The gang who tries climbing the first time

No, I don’t want to give up without trying. It’s perfectly safe anyway. Because of fear, I had given up so many things in life. I don’t want to be a loser who hides in comfort zone, at least for today.

descending from rock wall

Descending from wall climbing

“Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

The staffs at SICC are very friendly. They assure me that rock climbing is a fun and safe activity. Well, I think my skill in climbing mango trees during childhood would help lol.

Briefing before the climb

Briefing before the climb

The preparation is fast and simple, I don’t really need to do much. They helped me strapped to harness and rope, something to prevent me from falling to the ground, in case I lose my balance or grip. After a short briefing and my belayer in place, I’m good to go.

No turning back

“Brave people also fear, but they go ahead anyway.”

My heart pumped rapidly. I walked to the giant wall and looked up. I knew once I made my first move, the only way was up and there was no turning back.

Guidance by SICC Instructor

Guidance by SICC Instructor

Anyway, my first wall is the easiest one, and I have little difficulty to complete the climb. They advised me to use more of my legs than my hands, and don’t try not to be a cliff hanger.

17 walls in SICC

SICC has 17 walls that offer different challenges (fun) and design

Climbers on belay

Climbers on belay are safe from falling

“The brain is the most important muscle in climbing.” – Wolfgang Güllich

Strength alone doesn’t determine your success. Besides right techniques, climbers need to plan their route. The rock holds are in different shapes and sizes. My favorite ones are those big ones that are easy to grip. Inevitably I have to use the small ones when they are the only option.

climbers on belay

Climbers need to plan the route to move up

When climbing the second wall, I used too much upper body strength and my hands began to shake. At some points I was kind of stuck and didn’t know where to go. Luckily the belayer guided me where to land my next step.

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I feel adrenaline flows through my body while trying to keep up with the increasing challenge. Hesitation is bad, so I have to keep climbing up.

man trying wall climbing

Climbing is a great physical exercise

I fought my way up with the gravity. When I was tired, I could request the belayer to hold me in hanging position for a short break. FYI, the rope is to prevent you from falling. You are not supposed to use it as a climbing aid.

Do not touch the rope

No… you are not supposed to touch the rope

The moment I tapped the top label, it was like a small victory to me. The second wall is harder due to its irregular wall surface.

girl reaching the top of rock wall

“Look! Mom. I reach the top!”

Then I got down for a rest before attempting the third wall. Though I was tired, I felt so relax. Rock climbing increases levels of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter in the body that reduces stress.

girl hanging around

Feel free to hang around

According to an article published by British Journal of Sports Medicine, the cardio and energy consumed in climbing is similar to running at a pace between 5 and 7 minutes per Kilometre (That’s fast!).

girl in climbing

Climbing can be a sport or hobby

Climbing wall for children

Climbing wall for children

When I sat and looked around, I noticed many pretty climbers. I wonder if it’s climbing that makes them look beautiful. To me, Lara Croft with fit physique definitely looks far more attractive than weak Snow White with fair skin.

girl almost reaches the top

Almost there…

busy climbers in SICC

“From a mental standpoint, climbing is an amazing teacher, instilling focus, balance, determination and a whole … host of valuable life skills.” – Cedar Wright

A one-hour climbing session can burn over 700 calories, and it uses lots of muscle groups in the upper and lower body. If you climb often enough, you will build very nice muscle tone. Doubt?
Just look at the instructors of SICC.

Belayer

Thank you Beverly for being my belayer. Nice ass by the way

Ok, the third wall is even more challenging with mild level of overhang. Now I realize two things: 1) it’s no easy task to be a Spiderman lol, and 2) our fingers can do more amazing things than swiping the screen of smartphone. Climbing really tests our strength, endurance, agility, and balance.

hanging on rock wall

“Climbing isn’t about hanging on, it’s about letting go”

It is not a race, so I just kept calm and moved up inch by inch. Sometimes it’s nerve wracking when I had to reach far to make a bold move that could cause me losing balance. I knew I was in good hands, but I still disliked the idea of falling.

girl hanging at rock wall

Don’t look down!

My hands were shivering more and more. The staff tried to encourage me to push the envelope. Whenever I thought I was exhausted, I still managed to squeeze a bit of power from my energy reserve.

climbing with friends

It’s more fun to climb with friends

Finally, I couldn’t hang on anymore. My hands slipped and I fell. The rope stopped my fall. I tried to get back to where I fell and carried on, but my hands were like jello. White flag raised.

me trying wall climbing

It’s me trying wall climbing

Descending after the climb

Descending after the climb

Depend on how you take it, rock climbing can be a skill, sport or passion (or all three) for you. You can enjoy the exhilarating moment without doing extreme sports, speeding, drugs or other dangerous things that can break your bones. Warning: it can be addictive.

fearless female climber

If a person is fearless, he/she is unstoppable.

Next day my arms and legs were so sore that I could barely lift my toothbrush. I welcome this though. Rock Climbing is one of the best whole body workouts available. If I climb regularly, I can become as strong as a ninja.

Practice climbing techniques at small wall

Practice climbing techniques at small wall

I saw some parents went climbing with their kids too. I’m sure this sport can help the kids to learn to be independent thereby building up their confidence and self-esteem. Growth requires a bit of struggle sometimes right. FYI, SICC has “Little Monkeys Class” for kids aged 6 to 13.

kid tries indoor climbing

Children of 6 years and above can try indoor climbing

girl climbing the wall

Climbing helps children to face their fears in a safe environment.

The fee of One-day pass fee for SICC is RM22 For adults and RM20 for 17 years & below. (Climbing Shoes for Rent: RM6, or bring your own). They offer special rate to students, group and senior citizens. If you become an avid climber, you can consider all-you-can-climb buffet package that costs RM150 per month (full climbing gear included, except climbing shoes).

kid climbing in SICC

Indoor climbing is safe for kids too

SICC is located next to jogging track of Likas Sport complex, Kota Kinabalu City (Sabah, Malaysia). Its GPS Coordinates is 5.979028, 116.091671 (see Map).

Harness and climbing shoes

Harness and climbing shoes for rent

Below is more information of SICC if you want to know more:
Website: www.sicc.com.my
Facebook: climbsabah
Instagram: @sabahindoorclimbingcentre
Tel: +60 19-8837341
E-mail: info@ropeskills.com.my
Opening Hours: Tue-Fri: 4pm-9pm, Sat-Sun, Public Holidays: 12pm-9pm, Mon (closed)
(You can walk in during opening hours, no advance booking is required)

girl climber

Climbing empowers and builds self-esteem in kids of all ages

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu City, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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Climbing Mount Kinabalu via Kota Belud Trail

Climbing Mount Kinabalu

A 6.0 magnitude earthquake on 5 June 2015 destroyed part of the old summit trails on Mt. Kinabalu. On 1 Dec 2015, a new summit trail named Ranau Trail is open and becomes the Standard trail to climb Mt. Kinabalu until now, and I had covered this trail in detail in my article “How to Climb Mount Kinabalu and How Much it Cost?”.

Map of Ranau and Kota Belud Trails

Ranau and Kota Belud Trails (Click to Zoom In). Both start from Laban Rata and meet at Sayat-Sayat (checkpoint 1.6 Kilometres before the summit)

New! Kota Belud Trail

The second new trail called Kota Belud Trail is open on 9 Dec 2016. I had climbed it three months ago (with special permit by Sabah Parks, as it wasn’t open to public that time), and this post will give you an overall of this new trail.

1. Kota Belud Trail is 170 Metres longer than Ranau (Standard) Trail

The one-way distance (from Timpohon Gate starting point to the Summit) of Kota Belud Trail is 8.97 KM, while Ranau Trail is 8.8 KM. The starting point of Kota Belud Trail is next to Gunting Lagadan Hut and Panar Laban Hut, while Ranau Trail is started behind the Pendant Hut.

Ranau trail and peak

Ranau Trail is less challenging than the old trail

Please note Kota Belud trail doesn’t start at Kota Belud town, and Ranau Trail doesn’t start from Ranau town too. You can see these districts from the trails on mountain hence their names.

Descending via Ranau Trail

Descending via Ranau Trail

Kota Belud Trail

Though Kota Belud Trail is more challenging, the experience is more thrilling.

2. Kota Belud Trail is more Challenging than Ranau Trail

Ranau Trail is more tourist-friendly and safer because there are a lot of staircase and climbing aid. Kota Belud Trail is quite “raw” with limited support, so it is meant for adventurers who want to do real climbing. You need to be quite fit, and more upper body strength is required for climbing at the steep section.

Staircase on Ranau Trail

Staircase on Ranau Trail

The most difficult part of Ranau Trail

The most difficult part of Ranau Trail is still quite easy to climb

Rock climbing section on Kota Belud Trail

Rock climbing section on Kota Belud Trail

3. Kota Belud Trail is more Rocky

Most of the time you will walk on rock face and rocky ground, while Ranau Trail is flanked by dense vegetation most of the time.

Granite rock trail of Kota Belud Trail

Granite rock trail of Kota Belud Trail

Nice open view at Kota Belud Trail

Nice open view at Kota Belud Trail. You can see Aki Point platform far behind

Nature path of Ranau Trail

Nature path of Ranau Trail

4. Both trails start at Panalaban (then Laban Rata) and meet at Sayat-Sayat

Sayat-Sayat is a checkpoint 1.6 KM before the summit. The following routes are unchanged (before and after the earthquake):

  • Timpohon Gate (Starting Point) → Panalaban (Laban Rata, the location of midway accommodation): 6 KM
  • Sayat-Sayat Checkpoint → Summit: 1.6 KM
Kota Belud Trail ends at Sayat-Sayat

Kota Belud Trail ends at Sayat-Sayat (see green building in photo), where it meets Ranau Trail too.

5. Both trails have very different scenery

Climbing via Ranau Trail is like walking in a garden because climbers will see many flora along the way. On Kota Belud Trail, you climb on bare rock face most of the time, but the panoramic view of the landscape is magnificent!

Panoramic view from Kota Belud Trail

Panoramic view from Kota Belud Trail. You can see Laban Rata Resthouse from there.

Ranau Trail is flanked by dense vegetation

Ranau Trail is flanked by dense vegetation

Aki Point on Ranau Trail

Aki Point on Ranau Trail

Ranau trail

Ranau Trail: See the man in red?

Below is a table to summarize the differences between these two summit trails:

Ranau Trail (Standard) Kota Belud Trail
Distance (one way) 8.8 KM 8.97 KM
Difficulty Easy. Many staircases. Relatively less steep Steep and challenging. Limited climbing aid.
Features Dense and rich variety of summit vegetation along the trail Route on rock face and rocky ground. Beautiful panoramic view.

You know what. You can get better idea by watching the following video of Kota Belud trail. It shows our climb from the starting point to the summit. You can jump to 3:27 to see Kota Belud Trail:

The following is a photo walk-through of Kota Belud trail in chronological order:

Starting point of Kota Belud Trail

Starting point of Kota Belud Trail

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Kota Belud Trail is more challenging than Ranau Trail

Kota Belud Trail is more challenging than Ranau Trail

The waterfall section not far from the starting point

The “waterfall section” not far from the starting point

Nice view at Kota Belud Trail

Nice view at Kota Belud Trail

Beginning section of the Kota Belud Trail

Beginning section of the Kota Belud Trail

Climbing along the slope of Kota Belud Trail

Climbing along the slope of Kota Belud Trail

Resting on the rockface

Resting on the rockface

Wide and long rockface section of Kota Belud Trail

Wide and long rockface section of Kota Belud Trail

Staircase on Kota Belud Trail

Staircase on Kota Belud Trail

Starting point of the steepest rock climbing section

Starting point of the steepest rock climbing section

The most challenging part of Kota Belud Trail

This is the most challenging part of Kota Belud Trail.

steep slope of Kota Belud Trail

Steep slope of Kota Belud Trail. It’s no joke if you fall from there.

Climbing via Kota Belud Trail

The most difficult part is almost over

Reaching the Sayat-Sayat Checkpoint (green building at the left). At the right are climbers on Ranau Trail.

Reaching the Sayat-Sayat Checkpoint (green building at the left). At the right are climbers on Ranau Trail.

Both Kota Belud and Ranau trails end and meet at Sayat-Sayat Checkpoint.

girls rest on slope

Relax after overcoming the hardest part

Walking on the rockface

Walking on the rockface (about 1.5 KM before the summit)

Group photo in front of Wishing Pond at the foot of Low's Peak

Group photo in front of Wishing Pond at the foot of Low’s Peak

On the way to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu

On the way to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu

Happy lady climbers on the summit

Happy lady climbers on the summit

Group photo on top of Mount Kinabalu

Group photo on top of Mount Kinabalu

At the moment, I’m not sure if we will need special permit or requirement to climb Mt. Kinabalu via Kota Belud Trail. If this trail is open to public, you can get the most fun by ascending via Kota Belud Trail and descending via Ranau Trail. I’ll update this post when I get the latest information.

Photos taken on Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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