Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu
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Sayang Sabah - The voice of Sabahans

Strange encounters at Mount Kinabalu


Clementina with a companion (inset) and her photo of the mountain during the climb
Clementina (left) with a companion (inset) and her photo of the mountain during the climb (2004)

Mount Kinabalu standing at 4,095 metres high, is the highest mountain in Sabah and is protected under Kinabalu Park. It is a World Heritage site. It is known as a sacred mountain to some while others have dubbed it as the haunted mountain.

There have been tales of strange encounters at Mount Kinabalu by climbers. The tales may sound tall at times but those who experience them have nothing to gain by making it up.

When I was still working for a tabloid several years ago, I interviewed a group of people who were going to climb the mountain as a prelude to their attempt at climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

A few days later, one of the participants called me and asked whether there was a village up there. So I told him, no there wasn’t, as it was not only impossible to live there but it was not allowed as well, as it was within a National Park.

He then told me that he saw many people there with children just like it would be in a village. I of course took this information with a pinch of salt.

In 2004, an avid climber  and sports enthusiast, Clementina Albert from Inanam  experienced a strange occurrence while climbing to the summit. She was not new to that area, having climbed the mountain six times before.

“We started our climb from Laban Rata at 2.30am. It was a clear night and the moon was brightly shining. There were several groups at that time, and the initial climb was very good.”

“When we came to the part where the ropes were, we had to take turn to climb due to the terrain. That was the time when I saw a person standing just at the slopes, where there were no ropes. He was just standing there watching the climbers. I found that odd but did not concentrate on him as I was getting cold and wanted to focus on the rope.”

“When I started to climb the area where the rocks were, I started to feel giddy with lack of oxygen. I stopped every five steps, gasping for breath. Several people passed me by.”

She shared that they would say, “keep it up, girl” “you can do it” ‘Go girl’ and then they would pass by. But the man she saw earlier at the rocks did not say anything but just walked by.

“I found it rather odd, as he was tall and he took long strides like three times the normal steps of a man. I took him to be a tall Caucasian although I couldn’t really see his face.”

The man passed by Clementina without a word and she took his rhythm by going ‘one two three stop” and taking a deep breath every time she said stop.

“It worked. I began to breathe a little and was able to continue my climb. I then saw the man sitting cross-legged just near the KM8 signboard, as if he was watching the people climbing.”

“I could not see his face clearly but I heard him breathing as he was maybe just five feet away from me. I thought he must be a guide, so I said ‘Thank You!” and carried on with my climb.”

“I felt a breeze on my right side and suddenly I felt something heavy lift off me, and I could breathe easily and I saw everything better. I began to walk faster and even passed by two tourists who seemed amazed that I was able to overtake them.”

“When I reached the area near the wishing well (pond) I saw him again and then it suddenly struck me that he could not be real, because I left him behind and I did not see him pass me.”

“He then looked straight at me and turned away to his left and disappeared. I was stunned. Of course I ran to my mountain guide and asked him about what I saw. All he said was ‘ you are lucky you met them…not everyone is.’ “

She was unsure what he meant by that as he did not choose to elaborate.

Dora (sitting) with the background of the mountain and Dora (front left) with friends (2002)
Dora (sitting) with the background of the mountain and Dora (front left) with friends (2002)

Dora Lee also from Inanam  experienced several interesting but unexplained occurrence at Mount Kinabalu. The occurrences happened between 2002 and 2003.  She had just left school and was working as a waitress at Laban Rata.

She shared that she loved watching the sunrise from the Mountain top and would follow the Mountain guides to the top during her off days.

“I liked the atmosphere there and as I have nothing to do during my off days I would climb up to the top and watch the sunrise. It was always a beautiful experience and I never got tired of it.”

“One morning I woke up to go up with my friends as usual. It was very misty.  I saw this group of people walking in the mists. They were very tall and seemed to be clothed in white as they seemed to merge with the mist. They were climbing up the mountain steadily.”

“Thinking that they were on our usual route, I started to follow them. Then I stopped short as a friend of mine pulled me back.”

“She asked me ‘where do you think you are going’ and I answered ‘climbing with them’ and I pointed but to my surprise there was nobody there and the route in front of me did not exist. It was all rough terrain.”

Needless to say, Dora was careful to follow her friends up the mountain after that.

“I also heard trees falling or crashing at night when I was working at Laban Rata. In the morning when I checked to see, there were no fallen trees.”

These were the experiences of two people, who never spoke of their strange encounters until recently. There may be many untold stories by climbers and those who frequent the mountains in their life. For Clementina, she has climbed the mountain more than ten times since.

She shared that she always hoped to meet the man again. Dora left her job in 2003 but she hoped to climb again someday. For both of them their experiences were unique and special to both, yet a little frightening as well.

With these stories and others, the term ‘Haunted Mountain’ could well be true. -Sayangsabah






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