Mountain Torq's Via Ferrata "Cliff-Hanging at 3,776m"

On: Monday, February 21, 2011

This is my 2nd trip to Mt Kinabalu, the 1st dating back in 2008. We decided to do something different but the thought of cliff-hanging via ferrata seems quite disturbing at first. I've seen photos of people attempting it and it was pretty scary at a glance and there was the weather too. Gutsy winds and freezing temperatures would surely add to the excitement if not exhilaration of this attempt.
So we reached Laban Rata at noon and made our way to the Pendant Hut for the Via Ferrata registration and familiarization session. We were introduced to our friendly trainer Joe who had also gave us the compulsory briefing and demo session. There were 2 routes to choose from, the shorter "Walk the Torq" and the longer and much challenging "Low's Peak Circuit". My cousin Jeremy just grabbed the form and signed it without hesitation while the 3 of us read through the fine prints. Walk the Torq or Low's Peak Circuit, we decided on the latter eventually. Traversing the mountain via Walk the Torq normally takes 2-3hrs while Low's Peak Circuit would usually take 5-6hrs, depending on fitness levels. Both routes eventually meet towards the ending section. We knew what we were up for but at the same time it just gives us extra impetus to reach Low's peak which was our next challenge on hand. Praying hard that the weather would be kind to us as bad weather would definitely force the Via Ferrata off. Refunds are provided for bad weather but not withdrawals. We were told that once we were hooked up to the harness, there was no turning back.
We reached Low's peak at about 5:30am just in time for the sunrise 30mins later. The cold weather and gustling wind didn't allow us to stay for too long as we made our journey down to the meeting point of Via Ferrata some 30mins away. Waiting for us was our trainer Joe who gave us final instructions on the harnessing methods and safety measures. There were only 3 groups on that day including us. One group has just started their descend while the other one miss the cut-off time at 7:30am.
We were quite intimidated at first hanging by the edge with only ropes and harnesses. We were hanging 3,000m above sea level and everything below looks like an abyss. Of course it is very safe and we were hooked to the harness at all times but the thought of falling keeps us at our feet all times. We were 100% focussed on our task of swapping the harness to the next line as we made our way down. It was totally an awesome experience. My top highlights of the route are the suspension bridge at 3,600 asl, the mini jungle, the 2 & 3 tight-rope walks and the vertical cross-over.
The best part of the Via Ferrata is anyone and everyone can do it without any technical mountaineering experience. You can test your limits without jeopardizing your personal safety. You just need determination, guts and a lot of adrenaline. What I loved about it is the photos and memories I brought back from this experience which I can share with the whole world. Enjoy the photos. Via Ferrata!

Our gear being prepared for us

Final preparations...

All geared up and ready for the plunge

Our trainer Joe so casual and relaxed

Look at the awesome blue sky

Our view of the sea of clouds 
Never look down
100k man, Mr Jeremy Tan enjoying himself
Group photo at 3,887m
I love this photo. It's going to be my facebook profile pic for some time.
We spent ~2hrs scaling down these rocks
50m into the climb and still looking good
A photo of the footholes which we understand could hold up to a tonne in weight
It's just like climbing down from a ladder. This is the favourite part for Kazuo.
Another treacherous part of the descend
The mist is forming fast and we are still very early into the journey
The suspension bridge is swaying all the time

Traversing the 3-line tightrope
Finally reached the Laban Rata resthouse, totally exhausted but feeling awesome! Still a long way down to Timpohon gate

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7 comments on "Mountain Torq's Via Ferrata "Cliff-Hanging at 3,776m""

Kazuo Lim said...

This is really a great experience xplore on the highest Via Ferrata in the world with friends located at 3,776m of Mt. Kinabalu (Malaysia), probably will try it out the 2nd highest and the 3rd highest in Italy & Australia one fine day. :)

Julie said...

Wow, quite the photos! Thanks for providing them for those who might not dare venture there themselves!

Chriskoh said...

Interesting & beautiful photos but how doable is this? Very tough or just need to be very brave?

J said...

awesome pictures. I just came back from KK and was disappointed that I was not able to make the summit and via ferrata due to bad weather. You note that they do provide a refund due to bad weather, but this was contrary to what they told me. Did you book through a travel agency?

Shaun Yap said...

Hey J, thanks for your comments. Sad to hear that your trip got cancelled due to bad weather but there's always another time in future.

I'm surprise that they did not provide a refund as that was what they stated when we signed up. Oh by the way, we signed up directly with them at the spot.

tsksing said...

Wow !!. I climbed mt kk a few times but did not know about the feratta challenge. Won't dare to try it even if I knew.

Thanks for posting those wonderful pics and kudos to u guys with guts !!!.


Anonymous said...

Wow, that looks really fun :) Bet you all had a good time. Thank you for putting up all this information. I came across your blog on my search for places to hike in Malaysia and I think I'll visit more often now :)