I wanted to discuss a bit more about the new Ranau trail on Mt. Kinabalu. I had tracked my trekking using an App and managed to get a GPX from Timpohon Gate (more like from the first Pondok or “Rest Point” as i had used another useless app that did not track my GPS from Timpohon to the first Pondok).
The track does not show much difference from the previous trails. It winds pretty much through the same route to Panalaban (Formerly, Laban Rata).
However, the Ranau route from Panalaban to Low’ Peak has some completely new sections up to Sakat Check Post. A bird’s eye view of the trek is shown below.
A closer look at the new section using Google Earth will show you the direct approach the new route takes compared to the more windy route of the old trail.
The white lines show the path of the old route and the blue lines show the new Ranau route. The Ranau route follows the ridge while the older trail is in the valley, protected by trees on both sides. This provided good cover from the elements but did poorly for the view. The new route follows the ridge line and is exposed to the weather elements and the cold winds and also does a direct approach to Sayat Lodge. However, the views are breath taking if you can just stop for a moment without worrying about the climb or descent and adsorb the surroundings.
The old route is completely destroyed by fallen trees and boulders and not much evidence is there of a route at that site.
The image above shows the elevation gain in the Ranau route. There is no respite from the constant elevation gain and this can pose challenges for people who are not adequately acclimatized or fit enough. Unfortunately, i do not have the elevation gain of the older trek to make any reasonable comparison, but i would guess that it may be a little less steep at some sections leading up to Sayak Check Post.
You can download the two GPX files here:
PS: Will appreciate if anyone could pass me their GPX file for Kinabalu before the earthquake.