Assuming that you are taking the standard route (read climbing route from the article titled Mount Kinabalu – Tips and Suggested Gears) and you start your climb at around 9am, you should be able to reach your day 1 destination Laban Rata Hut by 3 to 4pm. The rest-house at Laban Rata Hut has limited capacity. That probably explains why Mount Kinabalu is not as crowded as it would have been.
The lower level of the rest-house is the kitchen, dinning hall, and mainly utility rooms. The bedrooms are located upstairs. Food is served round the clock. Buffet dinner is served at 5pm. Some experienced climbers upon reaching the rest-house will choose to take a nap before dinner time. We had a light meal and chatted with other climbers. If you are able to sleep anytime anywhere, by all means, have some rest.
We went up Mount Kinabalu during end March and the temperature outside the rest-house was around 12 degrees Celsius. There isn’t much to do after a well needed dinner. You can head to the balcony, admire and take some pictures of the clouds underneath the rest-house. The mountain view is beautiful.
There are roughly 16 rooms in the rest-house and each room probably has 4 double deck beds (our configuration was like that). If possible, get the lower deck ones. The last thing you want after a long tiring day of climbing is to climb up and down your bed.
There is a shower room for the ladies and another one for the men (the men shower room was in renovation and we used the 2 unisex toilets downstairs). I saw more men than ladies so you can image the queue. There was no hot water and the rest-house does not supply any toiletries nor towels. Tong Kiat and I have brought some fresh clothing to change and that was it. Gross I know.
For those who are used to National Service, you are probably used to all these conditions. For me, it was hard to fall asleep. By 8pm, most of the climbers retired to their bedrooms and tried to have a rest before waking up at 2am in the morning for the night climb. From 8pm onwards, the dinning hall was filled with mostly the natives who work in the area. This is the time they have their meals and socialize with one another. As you can imagine, it can get really noisy. Even when people walk outside your room, you can feel the vibration.
Since you are sharing a room with 7 other climbers, you hardly have any control over light switch nor the sound they produce when they are asleep. I am not sure if eye shade and ear plugs would be a good idea. If you are wearing ear plugs, make sure you have someone to shake you out of your bed as you don’t wanna miss the night climb.
At 2am, you and your teammates shall be out of bed all ready for the coming exciting climb. You can leave some of your stuffs in the rest-house and only bring the essentials. If you have small water bottles, fill up with the drinking water at the dinning hall. Don’t forget to bring your camera with you as I nearly missed that! Have yourself a big breakfast and good luck with the climb!
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