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The Pinnacles

The Pinnacles

The famous Pinnacles at Mulu consist of a series of 45 metre high, razor-sharp limestone spikes that tower above the surrounding vegetation, mid-way up the slopes of Gunung Api. The trek to view them is one of the most popular in the park. But be warned, the Pinnacle Summit Trek is a tough and challenging one. The trail itself is very steep (near vertical in parts) and requires a certain level of fitness.

The Pinnacles Summit Trek is usually done as 3 day/2 night trek although it is possible to do it as a 2 day/1 night trek. The first stage is a 1-2 hour boat trip along the Melinau River to Kuala Berar. If the water level is low, the boat has to be pushed over rocky sections so the trip takes longer. Base Camp 5 is a relatively easy 7.8 km walk from Kuala Berar, following flat jungle terrain and taking 2-3 hours. Camp 5 is situated near the Melinau Gorge which separates Gunung Benarat from Gunung API There is hostel-style accommodation at the camp, and cooking facilities. The Melinau river in front of Camp 5 is crystal clear and ideal for a swim after the trek from Long Berar.

The Pinnacles

The real hiking begins the following morning. The trail is 2.4 km in length but rises some 1,200 metres from Camp 5 to the viewpoint, passing through lowland dipterocarp forest before climbing steeply through moss forest. Here the trees are a lot smaller and everything is covered in slippery green moss. Limestone debris also litters the trail so trekkers must proceed with care. The last section of the trail is near vertical, with rope sections and 15 aluminium ladders strategically positioned to help with the climb. The vegetation is sparse although orchids, rhododendrons and pitcher plants thrive in the area, and can be seen at the side of the trail.

After some tough climbing you finally come out onto a rocky outcrop where the stunning view provides a good reward for all the effort. The viewpoint area is made up of a number of pinnacles, rocks and vegetation and has excellent views of the silver-grey forest of stone that rises up from the surrounding vegetation. After taking some photos and a short rest and a last glimpse of the pinnacles, it is time to begin the descent back to camp 5 and the second overnight stay.

It is very difficult to put an exact time on how long it takes to trek to the Pinnacles viewpoint. Fit and experienced trekkers should be able to reach the top in 2-3 hours. The not so fit but determined generally take around 4-5 hours. Most people spend an hour or so at the top before coming down. For many the descent is actually more difficult and therefore takes longer, so the return trip can take anything from 5 to 10 hours depending on fitness level.

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