New Challenge: Climb Mount Kinabalu in One Day

mt kinabalu
mt kinabalu

Every time I plan to climb Mount Kinabalu (13,435 feet) in Malaysian Borneo – something always comes up. But not this time. I’ve just booked my flight for Friday and I’m going to spend a week in Kota Kinabalu. Pretty excited about this because I love Malaysia – especially Malaysian Borneo.

It was a very hard decision to not have my second experience of the Songkran Festival in Thailand as it is the best festival I have ever been to, and the most fun I’ve ever had with my clothes on. But I’m a bit of a romantic at heart and since Songkran was so perfect the first time around – I don’t want to taint it.

So a new memory is needed to be captured and since I’m leaving the Asian continent very soon, now is the time to make Mount Kinabalu my bitch. Most people climb this mountain in two days and camp out – because the scenery is so beautiful. I’ve worked very hard on my inner self in this past year. I’ve learned to embrace my determination and to stop and smell the roses and enjoy the journey – it’s been more healthy for me than I can even begin to describe.

However, this occasion isn’t about stopping to smell the roses. It’s a physical challenge for myself. I’ve gotten my fitness level to a pretty decent level in the last five months – only for intense dental surgery and a tropical parasite taking up residency in my bum to ruin it all and my health.

I feel like I bounced back pretty well in the last six weeks and got some healthy kilos back on my body. Now it’s time to test the ticker and get my teeth into a fitness challenge. See you at the top!

Challenge Update: I completed this challenge and wrote about the experience here: Climbing Mount Kinabalu: How To Summit Borneo’s Tallest Peak

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Anthony Middleton

Former loser who took a risk. Visited over 100 countries. Trying my best to not get skinny-fat during Covid.


  1. Ian Ord - Where Sidewalks End on April 8, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Glad to hear that you feel you’ve bounced back, mate! This will truly be a difficult challenge, especially as you approach altitude and every step feels like you’re taking 10, but I have confidence in your determination. Heck, you did Mt Fuji in one go, all the way from the bottom. This should be a walk in the park for you… a very steep park. Wishing you the best of luck, and another incredible memory be it from the top, or from base camp, it’s the journey that is most important 🙂

    • Anthony Middleton on April 10, 2014 at 6:13 am

      Cheers, mate. I like to think that Fuji did teach me a lot and I’m expecting it to be a bit of a mad slog.

  2. James Clark on April 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Good luck and I can’t wait to read all about it!

  3. Emily on April 10, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Hey!!! I tried Kinabalu in a day yesterday and missed out by 21 minutes! (reached Laban Rata at 10:21) I haven’t done any exercise in the last 3 months because we’ve been travelling so got everything crossed for you!! It is very hard work but my favourite day so far regardless of not making it! Can’t wait to hear how it goes for you 🙂 Good luck!

  4. Emily on April 10, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Sorry meant to say, if you’d like any tips (from a failure!) just ask away, I’m definitely happy to help someone conquer it!! 🙂

    • Anthony Middleton on April 10, 2014 at 7:26 am

      Hi Emily,

      Oh man – I’m so sorry you missed out. So close! Yes, yes – fire away please! Tips very welcome thanks 🙂

      • Emily on April 10, 2014 at 11:35 am

        Okay!! So… I read every single blog and review since the beginning of time about doing this in one day, but there’s only one thing you really need to know: if you’re not at Laban Rata by 10, you’re not doing the summit. Sometimes the rangers can be lenient but it’s just safer for your own goals to aim for before 10.

        The gate officially opens at 07:30 but I was at the park office at 06:30 and after all the registering was done we were able to get through the gate at 07:20 (I never thought such precise timings would matter to me!) so get to the park for about 6 if you don’t have a guide already.

        It’s hard. My guide told me his fastest time to Laban Rata is 2.5 hours, so they know it’s almost impossible for you. It is all brutally up hill (you’d think that was obvious, but there’s uphill and then there’s… Kinabalu!) in the form of either high steps or big rocks.

        Keep a close eye on the time and bear in mind that although each half km is marked, they are definitely not all equal. And the last 2 are a fair bit steeper! I reached 4km at 09:06 and thought I could actually manage it but had to stop too much!

        Hopefully you’ll look back on this and laugh because you managed it easily (grr;) but it can’t hurt to be mentally prepared! On a positive note, I wasn’t too far off and I haven’t done any exercise in an embarrassingly long time and the last mountain I climbed was Snowdon, in September! You’re in with a good chance 🙂

        Take lots of water, I wouldn’t trust what they offer on the way up, and plenty of snacks to keep you going. I had a Crunchie bar which was going to be celebratory but ended up being scoffed in misery in the cafe!

        Also, remember the way down can be just as tough… If I sit down now I can’t get up!

        Good luck, looking forward to hearing how it goes!!! 🙂

    • Anthony Middleton on April 18, 2014 at 9:39 am

      Hey Emily,

      I only got to read this after I managed the climb as wifi was bad around that area – but thanks for sharing with me. I really feel for you as you were so close. Maybe next time huh? 🙂

  5. Michael on April 11, 2014 at 4:27 am

    Super-impressive feat. I think I’d need a week to climb it :p

    Looking forward to reading about it!

  6. Emily on April 18, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Well done!! Looking forward to reading about it 🙂

  7. […] New Challenge: Climb Mount Kinabalu in One Day […]

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Hi, I'm Anthony!

In November of 2010, I took on a mammoth challenge against the clock in a quest to upgrade my miserable life. I went out of my comfort zone and turned it all around. Ten years later, I’m completely location independent…

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