712. Gunung Mulu National Park, Borneo

Gunung Mulu Pinnacles

As we are still mostly quarantining and hiding out from a global pandemic and international travel is prohibitive, it’s time to go to fabulous places in our minds & via the internet. This one is a National Park in the Malaysia portion of Borneo. To get there to see these aesthetically majestic limestone pinnacles you have to want it. Sounds like it’s 3 boat rides, hiring a local guide, 50K trek over 4 days. And that’s not even mentioning the leeches and mosquitos you’ll have to encounter along the way.

The Trek

Here’s a description of the Pinnacles Trek on the last day from Borneo Adventure.

Summit day was an early start. We grabbed breakfast at 5 am and commenced our hike at 6 am, well before sunrise. Shortly after the start, the going got hard, with an immediate and very steep incline of 45-55 degrees. It’s a gruelling uphill slog with rocks and ropes, but after about an hour we reached the first marker on the hike – the Mini Pinnacles.

The Mini Pinnacles
This area served as a nice sneak peek into the spectacular views that laid ahead. The Mini Pinnacles showcased some of the same karst rock pinnacle formations as we were expecting to see at the top, but much smaller.

After a short stop at the Mini Pinnacles, we continued along the trail for some 30-45 minutes before reaching the halfway point. From there it was another 1.5 hrs to get to the beginning of the ladder section, the toughest part of the climb.

The Ladders
From here our pace slowed down as we climbed the 17 ladders and sections of ropes with inclines at 55-75 degree angles. It was tough. Many parts felt like rock climbing without the gear.

Every 100m took us about 10-15 minutes, but we moved slowly, respecting our bodies and our abilities. We were glad that we were on a private tour with Borneo Adventure and were able to go at our own pace. It took us about an hour to beat the ladders and finally reach the Pinnacles viewpoint.

The views at the top were impressive. You can look out from between the trees at the stunning spikes piercing the sky and we didn’t hesitate to take some photos to mark our successful climb to the top.

And that’s not all there is to do and see in the park. There’s the chance to engage with the local sand flies which sounds like super fun. But if the deadly snakes and the spiders as big as your face isn’t enough, there’s some of the world’s largest cave systems in Deer, Clearwater, and Wind Caves. Oh and there’s swims in the cool water river there as well.

Deer Cave, Gunung Mulu, Borneo

And after all that work to get to the Pinnacles, along the way at Camp 5, there’s Pacuare River, perfect for a bracing refreshing swim.

River Swim, Gunung Mulu

Gunung Mulu National Park in Borneo. A good thing.

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