DISCLAIMER: This post was written in 2012. Information may be out of date!
Location: Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia.
Start point: 3.712077N, 101.728494E 1329m a.s.l.
Summit: 3.710520N, 101.697086E 1461m a.s.l.
Difficulty: Moderate. Mostly easy trail, but contains a fair number of tree trunks to clamber over/under.
Date climbed: Fri 8 Sep 2012
For a while, I’ve been interested in climbing Pine Tree Hill as it’s known to be a relatively easy hike, but most importantly it’s a cool hike as all climbing occurs above 1200m. Especially after climbing mountains like Gunung Nuang and Gunung Datuk which can be quite hot, I was interested to have some cooler hikes, hence Gunung Bunga Buah, and now Pine Tree Hill. The only reason why I had not made the trip to Pine Tree Hill previously was the amount of time it takes to drive up to Fraser’s Hill from PJ.
A group of us decided to make the trip last Friday, and we left PJ at 7am. After making a few wrong turns, loosing half an hour in the morning rush hour, we made it up to the top of Fraser’s Hill at 9.30am. We quickly registered with the Police Station (whenever there are authorities you can register with, even better for free, it’s always recommended!), and made our way to the start of the Pine Tree Trail, and entered at 9.55am, half an hour later than we had planned for.
We had set our turnaround time at 1.30pm, so we would have to move fairly fast to make it to the top. The weather was beautiful throughout the whole climb – it was mostly cloudy with patches of sunshine, although at times we did worry whether it was going to rain!
Just a few minutes after entering the trail, we got our first ‘open’ view of the surrounding hills and valleys.
The trail is very well defined for the whole way, and we passed by (if I remember correctly) 3 rest huts – one right at the start, another about 1km in, and a broken hut (doesn’t provide any shelter) a little bit later on.
In addition, we passed by an interesting tree root formation which one can crawl under. (Sorry for the poor photo quality)
About 2/3rds of the way, we got our first [not so great] view of Pine Tree Hill itself.
Around the 3.6km sign, we passed by a sign saying “Water Point”. Presumably if one follows the trail, it’ll lead to a water source. (Otherwise, that would be a pretty mean joke!) On the right, there’s an upwards trail leading to a campsite.
Just before the summit of Pine Tree Hill, we reached the famous ‘rope section’, where we had to pull ourselves up steep rocks and soil (About 60-70 degrees). I recommend against the use of ropes while going up (hold it only for support, not for pulling), and instead rely more on grabbing the rocks – the ropes are more useful when descending. Remember that only one person should be using the ropes at any time!
At the top of the rope section, the left path leads to the “summit” of Pine Tree Hill. I’m not sure where the middle path goes. The right path leads to another beautiful viewing point on the other side of the hill.
We reached the summit at 12.50pm and ate lunch there. From the summit, one can actually go further on to the “twin peak”, which is a second summit close by, which should take about 1hr+ round trip. Unfortunately, we had to get out of the trail by 4.30pm (to get back to PJ by 7pm), thus we didn’t carry on.
Overall, Pine Tree Trail is a fairly beautiful trail to walk on – cool & refreshing. There are a decent amount of interesting plants along the way, although we didn’t manage to spot any of the pitcher plants we were on the lookout for. We did pass by a huge wasp nest on the way, although it didn’t look active (we weren’t about to test that theory!). Phone reception is fairly poor along the way, although at the summit of Pine Tree Hill you’ll get a decent signal. The one thing I’d recommend you watch out for is what you put your hands on when clambering over tree trunks – I put my hand right into a pile of dung which was covered with ants! It wasn’t pretty…
GPS Details (from start to summit)
Duration: 2 hours 57 minutes
Average Speed: 2km/h
Max elevation: 1461m
Min elevation: 1233m
Vertical Up: 648m
Vertical Down: 516m
Hike is all within 200m height, but there are a lot of small ups and downs. Total ascent/descent both ways will be almost 1200m. Some steep sections with rope. Other parts have stairs, which makes it easier.
Average hike time is 3hrs to summit, 3hrs back. Going to Twin Peaks will take an extra 1.5hrs. Be sure to mark the trail well if you decide to go to Twin Peaks – I’ve read of people getting lost on the way back.
- You can bring an extra labeled bottle of water and leave it halfway and collect it on the way back if you don’t want to carry it around.
- Poor phone coverage
- No river crossings
- Temperature should be cool the whole way. Since we’re hiking you shouldn’t need a jacket, but you may want to bring an extra singlet/longsleeve shirt in case you get cold.
- Pine Tree Hill isn’t famous for leeches, but there will likely be a few around
- ~2 liters drink, isotonic recommended.
- High energy snacks & lunch
- hiking shoes (or shoes with grip), extra socks for comfort, if you need
- Small towel (for sweat/etc.)
- Hiking stick
- Insect Repellent
- Small plastic bag to keep electronics dry in rain
- Extra clothes (both shirt & pants), can leave in car
- Plastic bags for dirty shoes/clothes, can leave in car
- Slippers/Sandals to change into afterwards if shoes are muddy
- Emergency gear: flashlight, whistle, knife, lighter, 1st aid kit, etc.
- Optional: gloves, tarp/flysheet, cord/string, mat, water filter/tablets, etc.