KOTA KINABALU, Aug 7, 2015:

Climbers can expect a more challenging trail once Mount Kinabalu officially opens its doors, hopefully, by the first week of next month.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, on disclosing this, said that while the trail from the mountain gateway at Timpohon Gate to the Laban Rata was almost ready, the route to the top was still “under construction”.

“Our first batch of climbers comprising Sabah Parks staff and mountain guides will be going for a day-trip to try out the trailthis Saturday.

“Since they will be using this trail often, they would be the best people to evaluate it and ensure it is safe for future climbers,” he told the media during the ministry’s Hari Raya open house today.

He noted that the real challenge was the restoration of the routes between Kilometre 6.3 and 6.8, which were badly damaged by fallen rocks, adding: “The initial trail is basically gone, and we need to come up with a new one.”

Masidi, however, said it involved technical issues as they feared that moving these rocks might trigger more to fall.

“We are rectifying it so it is safe, as it needs to be. And we want to reopen the doors to climbers on time. We will keep everyone updated on the progress,” he said.

On June 5, a 6.0-magnitude earthquake claimed the lives of 14 Mount Kinabalu climbers and four mountain guides.

This caused falling rubble to leave clawed-like scars on Mount Kinabalu, considered sacred by local Sabahans, and experts believe it would take years for the mountain to “heal”.

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