Mount Kinabalu towers 4095 meters (13,435 feet) above sea level. It is the highest mountain between the mighty snow-capped Himalayas and Wilhelmina (4509 meters / 14,793 feet) in Irian Jaya. It is also one of the most accessible and spectacular mountains in the world. Because of the earth movement, in is still growing with the rate of 5 mm (1/4 inches) a year.
Mount Kinabalu is essentially a massive pluton formed from granodiorite which is intrusive into sedimentary and ultrabasic rocks, and forms the central part, or core, of the Kinabalu massif. The granodiorite is intrusive into strongly folded strata, probably of Eocene to Miocene age, and associated ultrabasic and basic igneous rocks. It was pushed up from the earth’s crust as molten rock millions of years ago. In geological terms, it is a very young mountain as the granodiorite cooled and hardened only about 10 million years ago. The present landform is considered to be a mid-Pliocene peneplain, arched and deeply dissected, through which the Kinabalu granodiorite body has risen in isostatic adjustment. It is still pushing up at the rate of 5 mm per annum. During the Pleistocene Epoch of about 100,000 years ago, the massive mountain was covered by huge sheets of ice and glaciers which flowed down its slopes, scouring its surface in the process and creating the 1,800-metre (5,900 ft) deep Low's Gully (named after Hugh Low) on its north side. Its granite composition and the glacial formative processes are readily apparent when viewing its craggy rocky peaks.
THE HISTORY OF MOUNT KINABALU CLIMBING
Today's relatively comfortable two day climb to the peak is a far cry from the travails of the early explorers. In 1851, Sir Hugh Low, then the Colonial Secretary for the British crown colony of Labuan, credited as the first person to climb the mountain, took nine days to reach the summit plateau, traveling in a group of 42 people. Low and John Whitehead, a zoologist who discovered two of Kinabalu's...
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