Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Japanese to name, document Mt Kinabalu’s unknown climbing route


Way back in 1975, a Japanese mountaineer used several unknown routes to scale Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s highest summit. While most mountaineers might have been proud of such an achievement, it was not so with Tsutsumi Nobuowho. He felt that in scaling Southeast Asia’s highest summit, he might have forgotten something more important — to name and document the routes he took 33 years ago, when he reached the World Heritage Site’s highest peak — Low’s Peak. That might be one of the reasons why the man is back on a mission. Tsutsumi, now 57, wants to revisit his old rock-climbing playground, Mount Kinabalu to complete that mission to further promote the world heritage in the eyes of the mountaineering fraternity. Tsutsumi is also here to try the Mountain Torq Via Ferrata, a mountain path (via ferrata is Italian for ‘iron road’) opened on Dec 15, last year and was certified by the Malaysia Book of Records as the world’s highest and Asia’s first to be built on Mount Kinbalu. “I am very happy to be here again. Mount Kinabalu has a lot of potential to attract rock climbers all over the world. However, its potentials were not fully documented,” he told reporters here yesterday. “Some attractive potentials of the world heritage site were not fully developed and not popular among rock climbers. I think the unpopulr (unknown) routes will attract more climbers,” he added. According to Tsutsuix mission was to identify the unknown routes he made in 1975,name them and subsequently compile the routes as a document which might prove useful to promote Mount Kinabalu climbers in the world. Tsutsumi, who has also climbed various other popular summits the world, including Everest, said in 1984, he had an unexplored gully on Kinabalu, known as ‘Commando Cauldron’. The 400-metre deep gully located right of Low’s between the Tunku Abdul Rahman peak and another unnamed peak down the Donkey’s Ears on Mount Kinabalu. Tsutsumi, who is now president of Rope Rescue Association of Japan, said during the expedition he and two other Japanese climbers failed to conquer the 1. 2km Low’s Gully, and had to stop at Commando Cauldron due to weather factors.