Descending from the Low’s Peak to the Power Station will take 2 to 6 hours, depending on the fitness of the climbers. For the average folks 4 hours would be a better time scale. Descending from summit to Laban Rata gives climbers a completely different view from the early morning ascent in almost total darkness. With the sun light brightly shinning on the mountain top, it is as if the rocky wall face of the plateau has suddenly come alive.
The grayish colour of the granite rocks are noticeable by now, and many mysterious white lines can be seen zigzagging across the rocky wall faces. Some mountain guides who still hold on to their traditional belief, said these lines were the works of the mountain spirits. For the Kadazandusun tribe in Sabah also believes Mt. Kinabalu is the resting place for their ancestors. Sacrificial rituals are still being offered to the mountain spirits by the female high priests yearly at the Panar Laban.
Scrubs and tiny colourful flowers can be seen doted around the plateau. The sub-zero temperature from the mountain top has turned to a much warmer environment. The rising temperature is even warm enough for some climbers to don on their t-shirt only.
The day light gives climbers a better view on the other Peaks of Kinabalu. On the right side St. John Peak looks like a facial feature with a Batman’s hood. While on the left side, Donkey Ears Peak seems to covertly listening to the climbers’ conversation, and the Ugly Sisters Peak does not look so ugly after all. Glancing downward the green forest and farmland at the foothill of Mt. Kinabalu, these places look so calm and serene, and even the roads are easily mapped out on this high altitude.
The white rope which helps many climbers on the ascent is also very handy on the way down. The white rope will be a great help for hoisting the body downward. It will help to reduce the stress on the knee joints.
On reaching Sayat-Sayat huts again, the mountain guide will record the climbers highest altitude reach with the Sabah Park Rangers . The Sabah Park Rangers will convey to the Sabah Park adminstration at the Kinabalu Park HQ to issue the appropriate certificates. The gate at Sayat-Sayat closes at 9:30am so climbers are asked to hurry down before this time.
After this the 300 metres wall face where the ropes are needed to hoist climbers up in the early morning is the next obstacle to overcome. The place look much more dangerous now compares with the night ascent. As during day light the steepness of the wall are very noticeable. There are even a warning sign asking climbers to be careful on this part of the descent.
For those who have height phobia this 300 metres journey can be a daunting task. Just walk slowly and claw if one needs to, and with the mountain guide’s help soon this will be a by gone case.
Then climbers will come to the rock steps and wooden staircases, this part is much easy now compared with the morning ascent. Now climbers can enjoy the beautiful view of the surroundings and especially the Laban Panar steep face. The Laban Panar Steep face is feature with a big steep wall and the lower part is covered with low vegetation, mostly scrubs and flowers, especially the rhododendron flowers.
After this the Laban Rata rest house will be in view and soon it will be breakfast time at the Laban Rata Restaurant. The check out time for all the rest houses is at 10 am. Most climbers will start heading down The Summit Trail after the check out and some rest.
As climbers are more familiar with the route now, and many climbers will only climb Mt. Kinabalu once in their life time, therefore spending sometime to observe vastly diversified floras of Kinabalu is a good idea.
Walking down seems to be an easy task, but the stress on the knee of many climbers slow down the descent considerable. Some climbers with longer toe nails will feel the pain by now, as toe nails constantly hit the inner shoe whenever applying brakes.
With all the huts behind the climbers, every one will come to the lowest point of the journey at Carson’s Fall. After passing Carson’s Fall and turning a right corner, the Timpohon Gate is finally in view. Yet theÂ climbers will have to walk the last 100 metres of fairly steep stairs upward. Although tired, weak and hungry somehow everyone will find that extra energy needed to complete this task.
The noisy machines from the Power Station provide good sound to the ears. On reaching the Timpohon Gate, the final check point, the Park Ranger will record the climbers’ details, and the journey on The Summit Trail comes to an end.
While waiting for the bus to Kinabalu Park Headquarters, climbers can’t miss the big sign board which shows the latest time record for the Kinabalu Climbaton. The current record holder is Kilian Jornet Burgada from Spain with an amazing time of 2 hours, 39 min, and 10 sec. Yes, doing the up and down in that time frame is quite unimaginable. Human is an amazing creature doing some incredible task at times.
At the Kinabalu Park Headquarters climbers will get their certificates to commemorate their Conquest of Low’s Peak. Climbers will then part way with their Mountain guides. Those climbers who take the climbing package from Sutera Sanctuary Lodges will head down to the Balsam Cafe for a much needed energy replenish buffet lunch.
While some climbers will choose to stay in Kinabalu Park Headquarters for more exploration, others will choose to stay at the many resorts and cabins at Kundasang. The most popular choice for a lot of climbers is to head east to Poring Hot Spring. If going back to civilization is a much needed break, then one can catch a 2 hour bus ride to Kota Kinabalu.