Climbers must be accompanied by guides at all times. The climb starts at the Kinabalu park headquarters at 1,585 m (5,200 feet).
Accommodation is available inside the park or outside near the headquarters. From there, climbers proceed to the Timpohon gate at 1866 m (6,122 ft), either by minibus or by walking, and then walk to the Laban Rata Resthouse at 3,270 m (10,728 ft). Most people accomplish this part of the climb in 3 to 6 hours. Since there are no roads, the supplies for the Laban Rata Resthouse are carried by porters, who bring up to 30 kilograms of supplies on their backs. Hot food and beverages, hot showers and heated rooms are available at the resthouse. The last 2 km (2600 ft), from the Laban Rata Resthouse at 3,270 m to Low's Peak (summit) at 4,095.2 m, takes between 2 and 4 hours. The last part of the climb is on naked granite rock.Given the high altitude, some people may suffer from altitude sickness and should return immediately to the bottom of the mountain, as breathing and any further movement becomes increasingly difficult. More importantly, these kinds of difficulties can be a sign of suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness, which can lead to High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) or/and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). Acetazolamide (Also known as "Diamox" is often used for preventing / treating acute mountain sickness.
A typical descent from the summit is quicker but it is often equally painful as the ascent: knee joints, ankle joints and toes tend to suffer as the climbers descend more than 3000 m (9850 ft) in five hours.