Climbing in Borneo

Climbing in Borneo
Second pitch of Make it Snappy, 7b+, Berhala Island

Sandakan Wall Climbing Centre

Sandakan Wall Climbing Centre
New, For You.... Sandakan Wall Climbing Centre - Sports Complex

Berhala Island, Bolted climbing in Sabah

Berhala Island, Bolted climbing in Sabah
Contact us for a route guide, free

Saturday, May 23, 2009


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.....

Monday, May 4, 2009

Success!! Naz and I racked-up for the first accent of one the bigger routes, 'Die Another Day', yesterday, having been thwarted by the rain for three consecutive days (I didn't leave England for that!!). It was a baptism of fire for Naz, who's only experience of climbing so far has been top-roping a few of the easier single pitch stuff on the beach, although he's no stranger to big trees; the route is just under 100m, adventurous (read loose and sometimes run-out) and graded about fr6a, 6b(with one really horrible move) and 6c. Although Naz breezed the first pitch, albeit with a few Nazisms (he talks very animatedly to himself and gives cries of 'aye ya!' in times of stress and concentration), he did have to be coaxed a little on the second pitch, which involved a few pendulums and a little cursing, and flat refused to try the third pitch. I was a little anxious about this one, since I knew it to be loose and dirty in places and couldn't be sure how hard the top traverse was going to be. The line takes a giant arch visible from the beach, which begins as a finger-tip/juggy layback crack and grows discouraginly into an offwidth-like, flared chimney, although luckily it also has holds, so there is little squirming and just a little, elegant bridging and chimneying. The pitch ends with a traverse along the edge of the overhang on sandy jugs to a final, heart-in-mouth (choose your holds carefully!) pull over the roof. Thankfully, all the holds stayed in place and I was able to top-out without drama. A truly excellent pitch and a stunning line - just watch out for spiders.

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