So, after ten weeks on the island, some 350 + bolts, a few storms and, as it turns out, a hell of a lot of money, what have we achieved?
For the Sabah Climbing scene this has to be the biggest thing ever to happen, there are now 30 + bolted climbs on an accessible crag and true to climbing ethics, you dont have to pay anyone to go there.
Apart from 5 low grade beginners climbs at Kg Kironggu there is no other established climbing area in the state.
Sure you can climb on Mount Kinabalu but that is far from easy and even further from cheap, not terribly accessible to Sabahans or people looking to engage in rock climbing as a pastime or sport.
So Berhala Island is launched by climbers for climbers, where do we go from here?
We see this as a first move to introduce rock climbing to the people of Sabah and this not where it ends, not by a long chalk.
Sabah Climbing Centre
Our next undertaking is to establish Sabah's first indoor climbing centre and its already under way. The building that is set to house the centre is almost finished now, funded by the State ministry of Youth and Sports we have been contracted to install and run an indoor rock climbing facility. The site is at the Likas Sports centre area, beside the city stadium and we aim to establish a world-class centre complete with cafe and shop. Theres going to be climbing trips to Berhala and other crags once they get developed, we will also establish a climbing club and host competitions, basically do everything we can to promote climbing here.
It is true that traditionally, attempts by federal and state departments to encourage climbing have been a little wide of the mark, paying a bucketload of cash to have a super-hard competition wall built, then (of course) nobody can climb on it (UMS). We all know that is not the way forward and it seems that the state ministry of Youth and Sports has worked this out. They came to us and asked us to come up with a plan as well as a design for a wall that would be accessible to anyone who wanted to try climbing. By having us build it with a mind to actually running it as well they know that we will be more likely to come up with a formula that would work.
We start installation this week (friday 28th May), and for three months we will be sculpting and installing the first climbing facility that is truly for the people of Sabah.
We will be inviting school groups and youth groups, we will be offering membership incentives, we will hold open days. There will be extreme video showings as well as all the latest climbing videos. We will be looking to recruit keen climbers for training and even starting a state climbing team to compete regionally.
It is time for Sabah to join the climbing revolution.....