The morning sun casted a white glow over the treetops as we began our journey through the gorgeous Mesilau plateau, located on the East Ridge of Mount Kinabalu. Tangled tree roots traced our path as we climbed past towering trees and little waterfalls before reaching the Kipuyut Bridge, a suspension bridge across the West Mesilau river.
The trail was long and arduous, but the view made up for everything. We watched the forest unfold into an entirely new world as bright green patches of moss blanketed the rocks and fallen branches along our path. Trees grew stunted past 6,000 feet as the terrain transformed into a shorter landscape of oak and chestnut trees. Breathtaking yet opted by few, the Mesilau trail is less trodden by climbers for one reason; the additional 2 kilometers along this upward and downward route makes the climb fairly demanding for the unseasoned climber. There is no adventure without a little struggle though, and I knew we had to work for our view.
After 5.7 kilometeres of continuous trekking and a little scrambling, we arrived at the Layang-Layang shelter where the two trails converged into one steep climb up towards Laban Rata. Our climb up the unpaved path and uneven rocks seemed endless at one point, and we began to lose our breath. We nudged each other on and took comfort in each other’s company as the mist rolled in before dark. It turned out to be a blessing that we had lost track of time – watching the clouds roll in behind us at sunset was truly the pinnacle of our climb.
View Laban Rata at sunset and scenes from the summit.