Ascent of Trusmadi on 2018-08-05

Climber: Peter Stone

Others in Party:Jill Stone
David Stone
Ceri Stone
Patrick Stone
Phil Kirk
Dennis Ikon
Shed Shero
Date:Sunday, August 5, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
    Elevation:8671 ft / 2642 m

Ascent Trip Report

Gunung Trusmadi (or Trus Madi as it is also written) is an amazing jungle mountain, the second highest peak in Borneo, and on a clear day said to have the best view in Malaysia. This trek was the highlight of our trip to Sabah and I can't recommend it highly enough for the entire cultural, geographical, floral, faunal, and climbing experience it provides.

We climbed with Dennis Ikon of TYK. I am told that each village in Borneo has local economic rights over the adjacent land and so in a concerted attempt to stop this area being logged or the lower slopes being converted to palm oil plantations (despite it being a Cloud Forest Preserve), Dennis and his team have developed an ecotourism centre and guiding service for bird-watchers, naturalists, hikers and other visitors to provide local employment and make preservation of the forest economically advantageous. Dennis is such a likeable and knowledgable guide who enhanced the experience enormously highlighting hidden creatures and plants we otherwise would have missed, identifying the sounds of insects, birds and gibbons and full of local stories. Shed, the young co-guide, was great fun too with a great sense of humour and boundless energy.

Trusmadi is well-known for its population of pitcher plants, hence being nicknamed ‘Nepenthes Garden’. The most notable species of pitcher plant is the Nepenthes x trusmadiensis, a natural hybrid between Nepenthes lowii and Nepenthes macrophylla, which is endemic to Trusmadi only.

Starting in Kota Kinabalu we drove 2 hours to Keningau (our lunch stop) and then a further 100 km via Sook to reach the trailhead at Kampung Sinua. Otherwise known as Camp 1, a group of huts and sleeping dormitories at 600 metres asl constructed from local materials and featuring a new fish pond.

The next day we embarqued on the Wayaan Mannan (Mannan/Sinua Trail). 08:00 - 14:00, 7.4 km, 6 hours of steady walking and climbing with a couple of river-crossings, through primary and secondary rainforest. Initially very easy but increasingly steep and a foretaste of the terrain to come in the later stages. Overnight at Camp 2, a collection of sleeping huts, mess tent and a kitchen shelter at 1,800 m.

Summit day: 06:00 - 12:00. 4.2 km. The summit (unfortunately in cloud)... 12:30. Then descent on the Wayaan Mastan (Mastan Trail), shorter but steeper, to Apin Apin arriving at 16:30. 4x4 track then road, 2.5 hours back to Keningau for dinner and thence to KK for the night.

A very tough trek with an average speed of less than 1 kph in places, which sounds pathetic until one considers the steepness of the mountain, the mud, roots and branches underfoot, the encroaching thick vegetation on all sides, the intermittent need to use all four limbs and machetes to make any progress at all, the regular removal of leeches from all parts of one’s body, and the temptation to take photos at frequent intervals.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Aid Climb
    Gear Used:
Guide, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Raining, Hot, Calm, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Wayaan Mannan (Mannan/Sinua Trail)
    Start Trailhead:Kampung Sinua, Sook  
Descent Statistics
    Route:Wayaan Mastan (Mastan Trail)
    End Trailhead:Apin Apin, Keningau  

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