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Climbing Mount Kinabalu Via Ferrata

The World's Highest and Asia's First

What is a via ferrata?
A via ferrata (or 'iron road' in Italian, plural via ferrate) is a mountain path consisting of a series of rungs, rails and cables embracing the rock face. It allows access to scenic sections of the mountains that are typically available only to rock climbers and mountaineers. The excitement, scenic beauty and personal conquest you'll experience on a via ferrata is guaranteed to give you an invigorating nostalgic experience for years to come.

There are more than 300 via ferrata routes around the world predominantly in Italy, Germany, France, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland and Spain, and a few places in the United States and Canada. The world's highest via ferrta, Mountain Torq - which also happens to be Asia's first - can now be found on Mt Kinabalu in the east Malaysian state of Sabah.

The first via ferrata were built in the Dolomite mountain region of northern Italy during the First World War, to aid the movement of military troops. In 1917, the Italians (as part of the alliance formed by Britain, France and Russia) were fighting a ferocious war with the Austrians in the Dolomites.

Amidst harsh winter conditions and an escalating casualty toll, both sides tried to gain control of the peaks to site observation posts and field guns. To help troops move about at high altitude, permanent lines were fixd to rock faces and ladders were installed so that soldiers could ascent steep faces. These were the first via ferrate.

In 1936, the first via ferrata created for tourists was built by the Italian Alpine Club (a club that traditionally promotes mountaineering). Today the Dolomites probably still have the greatest number of via ferrate. The wartime networks of via ferrate have been restored and many new routes added. Steel cables have replaced the ropes and iron ladders and metal rungs have taken the place of flimsy wooden constructions used by the Italian troops.

An activity for everyone
Today, the via ferrata is devised to give people with little or no climbing experience access to rock faces normally reached by mountaineers and rock climbers. At Mountain Torq, the world's highest and Asia's first via ferrata, routes are designed with beginner to intermediate climbers in mind. The beginner's route will let the climber take their first experience along the granite walls of Mt Kinabalu, while the intermediate routes will take the climber on 3-4 hour journeys to experience th mountain's breathtaking heights and sights. The diversity of via ferrata routes means there is something for everyone - whether he or she is 10 or 70, a keen mountaineer or a casual holidaymaker. Mountain Torq has a via ferrata route to match everyone's ability and endurance.

Mountain Torq provides accommodation at its two mountain huts, Pendant Hut and Sayat Sayat Hut exclusively for participants of the activities.

Located at 3,270m above sea level, Pendant Hut is a cozy, eco-friendly hut with 38 dormitory-style bunk beds and a small kitchen catering exclusively to the guests. From the hut, you will have easy access to Mountain Torq's activities and even watch via ferrata climbers on the Panar Laban rock face! It is also where the mountain top sales office and pre-activity briefings are based. Beds at Pendant Hut will be prioritized for via ferrata participants.

Sayat Sayat Hut, located at 3,668m, is a traditional mountain hut with basic facilities and a self-service kitchen. It has 10 dormitory-style bunk beds and caters mainly to participants of Mountain Torq's other activities.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the via ferrata, activity trainers at Mountain Torq will recommend a suitable route based on your fitness level. As with all outdoor sports, there are safety issues to watch out for. The exposure, altitude and challenges associated with a mountain environment will always be there so do take note of the following:
  • The basic safety rule of via ferrata is to use the self-protection system. This means to ensure that at least one of your carabiners is always clipped onto the main cable, which serves as a lifeline.
  • Wear comfortable sports / hiking shoes and check your equipment before leaving (helmet, harness, lanyard etc, provided by Mountain Torq).
  • Always make sure you bring warm clothing, some snacks and water.
  • Start out early so that you will have more time to enjoy the scenery along the way.
A via ferrata route to match every ability
Mountain Torq, the world's highest and Asia's first via ferrata located at 3,800m, offers a range of routes designed to match everyone's ability and endurance. Take your pick from a variety of via ferrata packages.

Walk the Torq Take you first steps on the world's highest via ferrata and learn how to Walk the Torq.
 *  6m monkey bridge
** 430m rock traverse & ascend
Who is it for? An initiation for those who want to build their confidence in via ferrata climbing.
Grading Easy - Everyone between 10 to 70
Duration 2 - 3 hrs
The Low's Peak Circuit
Hike up to Low's Peak, Mt Kinabalu's highest point at 4,095m. On descent, take a via ferrata detour to see stunning views and explore hidden corners of the mountain plateau.
 * Length of Low's Peak Circuit is 763m
Who is it for? Physically demanding, for those who are sure-footed, not fearful of heights, want to scale Southeast Asia's highest point and the World's highest via ferrata.
Grading Intermediate - Everyone between 15 to 65
Duration 4 - 6 hrs (Walk the Torq included)

Mt Torq's Via Ferrata video

Frequently Asked Questions
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