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8 rock climbing destinations for novices

March 12, 2013, 5:22 p.m.
Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia

Photo: Krajomfire/Shutterstock

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Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia

This peak in Sabah, Malaysia, is one of the tallest in Southeast Asia. It doesn't take any previous experience to make the two-day journey to the summit. The first day consists of a strenuous uphill hike along the trails of Kinabalu National Park. Climbers can overnight at furnished cabins before hitting the summit (ideally in time to see the sunrise). The adventure of getting to a summit is part of the attraction of Kinabalu, but this is also an amazing place to visit because of its diverse tropical flora and fauna. Trekkers heading up the mountain can experience tropical forests at lower elevations, and then see a gradual change to a different set of plants and animals as they reach higher elevations. Even though most people consider this an “easy” climb, it does take a decent level of fitness and also some time for proper acclimatization to the thinner air.