The Mulu Pinnacles Trek in Mulu National Park is one of the best known treks in Malaysia Borneo, though I couldn’t easily find information online about it.
Mulu Pinnacles Climb from Camp 5
This is information for the Mulu Pinnacles Trek climb only, for more information about our entire trip see article on Camp 5 and Mulu National Park which will give you more details about the facilities and what to bring.
From camp 5 in the Mulu National Park, the Pinnacles is a steep trek involving a bit of climbing. In 2.4 kms you ascend 1.4 kms, to a magnificent view of limestone spikes, some 50 meters high.
Main points (for mulu pinnacles trek climb only)
- Have average general fitness, people with injures may find it difficult
- Guides regularly stop for drink breaks and wait for others to catch up
- Go at your own pace, there is one guide at the front and one behind
- Takes around 3 hours up and 3 hours down for fit people, total 6-7 hours
- No need for mosquito repellent (you’ll sweat it off almost instantly)
- The path is under tree cover all the way – no sunscreen needed
- Need 3 litres water each
- High energy snacks (can be bought at Camp 5 or Mulu National Park, but expensive)
- Shoes with good grip – can buy at Mulu National Park head quarters (can be done in trainers, but you’ll likely slip/trip a lot)
- Gloves are worth taking, fingerless biking gloves worked well, cheap gloves can be bought at Mulu National Park Headquarters
- Pay for a guide and book in advance for camp 5 accommodation to avoid disappointment
- Take a first aid kit with blister plasters, antihistamines and antinflamatories
- Minimum of 3 people in a party to hire a guide for the trek, when booking you can join other groups
There is a lot of negative comments on the internet about the Mulu Pinnacles Trek. I am 28 years old, and I have done a lot of treks in New Zealand, but none with such humidity in the rain forest, I have a knee and ankle injury that plays up a bit. I don’t consider myself fit as I don’t exercise with cardio regularly, we’re back packing travellers so we do walk a lot and do some short exercise routines sporadically.
I was so afraid of this trek from peoples comments on the internet that I almost cancelled the trip. Arriving at camp 5, a young guy said it was worse than the marathon he had ran. On our trek, a young lady with us sprained her ankle in the first 30 minutes (she had a re-occurring injury) but completed the whole trek, it just took a little longer (2 hours).
Before our climb it had rained the night before, so it was cooler than normal, but very slippery. Our trek was not much more difficult than other hill treks I have done, it is steep and there is climbing involved, but if you take it slowly you’ll very likely succeed.
Our guide gave us a talk the night before about the climb and what to expect and what conditions would cancel it at any point. He emphasised always “go at our own pace“.
We left at 6.15 am, by then it was already light. Our group had 11 plus 2 guides.
Stage one is a short walk down the path to the start of the hill. From here there is a rocky terrain that is mainly walking, some scrambling, for around 45 mins to get to the ‘mini Pinnacles’. This stage is more humid but the early start helps avoid the heat of the day.
If you take over 1 hour to reach here, the guides will ask you to go back to camp for your own safety. We only had one group member that went back at this point, she was in her 60s with knee problems. Not long after, a young woman had to go back, she had almost no fitness and had not trekked before. Her boyfriend went back with her.
Stage two is from the mini pinnacles until the ladders, the terrain stays the same but it is cooler. It took us around another hour and a half to complete this, including regular stops. The ladders meant the start of the climbing section. I didn’t find it hard, but a lot of fun! Just under an hour and we were at the top, before 10.30am.
We even did a dance – check out our Mulu Pinnacles Trek Dance to celebrate.
Keep an eye out for the cute mountain shrews, they like to nip in to steal your lunch!
Stage three is our descent which was less laborious but more difficult. Most people slipped several times, so be very careful on you descent and hold onto ropes or anything around you for support. I squatted down to step rather than jump down and my knees weren’t even sore at all.
We got back to Camp 5 by 1.45pm, having had an hour at the top and multiple stops.
I enjoyed every step and there were some wonderful creatures to see along the way: red leaf monkey, giant snails and ants, mountain shrews and other insects we didn’t even know.
I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again, although others did find it harder than I did, they all agreed it wasn’t a marathon. Please don’t be put off, it’s worth a try, it was such a wonderful trek, check out our photographs below, leave a reply below if you would like any further information or want to share your Mulu Pinnacles Trek experience.