RANAU, Sabah: Climbers and mountain guides on Mount Kinabalu were surprised by a brief snowfall of two to three minutes around the peak of the mountain on Monday (Feb 28) morning.
A mountain guide for the Via Ferrata route, Hajiri Sulumin, 47, said the snowy experience occurred at 7.18am when he was waiting for climbers in the Sayat-Sayat area on the mountain.
"At that time, I was at the Sayat-Sayat checkpoint and snow fell right to the top. It was snowy, like a light drift (of partially melting snowflakes) unlike heavy ice pellets," he said when contacted by reporters.
He added that in his 11 years as a mountain guide on the Via Ferrata route, he had witnessed a similar phenomenon in 2018.
Meanwhile, director-general of the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said in a video statement that the snow phenomenon was not altogether non-existent in high altitudes.
At 4,095m, Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea.
“Conditions of sub-zero weather or when the wind hangs, can contribute to the formation of snow, a phenomenon that we rarely see but it can happen," he said.
Meanwhile, Kinabalu Park assistant director Justinus Guntabid said that the last snowfalls on Mount Kinabalu were recorded in 1975 and 1993.
"The average temperature in Panalaban at 2am to 10am today was about 6.9 to 12.3 degrees Celsius. It seems that today is colder than usual and those who see snow today can count themselves lucky," he said.