Only one million and half years ago, a mass of granitic rock that had been cooling and hardening under the surface for several million years began to rise and break through the overlying crusts of softer rocks. Erosion by heavy rains and, later, by ice and glaciers shaped the new mountain. Even today the striations, "glacial polish" and the sculptured and streamlined forms and the summit peaks give witness of the effects of this glaciation. Millions of tons of rock debris were washed into lowland approaches of the mountain.
The Park Headquarters itself sits on a ridge of accumulated muds, clay and rock washed off the eroding heights 34,000 years ago. With the return of a warm climate and the melting of the glaciers, Kinabalu attained its modern form and appearance. At its present height of 4,101 meters (13,455 feet) Mount Kinabalu is still rising at approximately 5mm per year. The landslides on its slopes and rocks debris beneath its peaks are evidence of its still-continuing movement Nature's powerful forces have produces a scenic location of remarkable beauty. The gradual evolutionary process has also resulted in fauna and flora, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.
The slopes of Kinabalu are the home of the hill tribes of Dusuns or Kadazans who believe the mountain to be the resting place of the spirits of their departed and therefore remains sacred to them. Their Kampung or villages are scattered throughout the area and they traditionally plant rice and other crops on the steep slopes on a shifting cultivation basis. They scamper up and down the mountain with the greatest of ease, often with heavy loads on their back. They are the registered mountain guides you are required to hire for the climb.
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