The Right Guide
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Hiring a good, local malim gunung of Akinabalu is the best investment you will make for this climb. Don’t just book any person you see advertising on Facebook or Instagram, and if you do contact one of those, look for reviews online or personally. This is just common sense, there is no science in this. When you have your guide, talk to him. Tell him your concerns about the climb, what your time goals are, what your pack weighs. Inform your guide of any physical limitations or old injuries that you many have, and so on. I didn’t do this on my earlier trip, and was mostly detached from the guides, and walked on my own. This time, though, I told my guide about my last attempt, and he hired an extra guide, someone who’s more experienced and good at coaching slow pokes like me, just to make sure that I get the right guidance to go up. The veteran guide coached me on speed, told me when to slow down and speed up, when to rest or get a sip of drink, and even took me by the arm to pace me on the way to the summit!
Tip: Get a word-of-mouth recommendation from someone who has the same fitness level as you do. Happy climbing!
One other thing…
I began using a pair of poles after a particularly nasty descent from Gunung Nuang which put my knees in a bad way. The poles helped by allowing for good weight distribution when I’m hauling myself up steps, giving me balance on my downhills, and helps me keep a consistent pace.
This is Seema’s personal experience of climbing Mount Kinabalu. She is not a hiking expert nor would she discourage anyone from practicing different training methods. Do what suits and benefits you. Hike your own hike!