WITH little if any food remaining in their packs, the five men lost on the slopes of Mount Kinabalu would be in a weak state, probably unable to travel very far in the difficult terrain, according to a local mountain expert. Kota Kinabalu resident Robert New, 46, was one of the first people to descend into the 1,800-metre deep Low's Gully. ''They haven't eaten much, and this climb needs people to be in the peak of physical condition. If they are tired or malnourished they could very easily fall, and it would be hard to pull themselves through to where they could be found by rescuers,'' MrNew said. He had met all 10 members of the fateful army expedition just before they set out for the mountain in mid-February, and warned them about some of the hazards. ''At the bottom there is a continuous succession of waterfalls cutting down through a narrow and well-defined gorge. ''If you decide to go down the first one then you're committed to going down them all: there's no chance of climbing back up the way you came. ''With the heavy rain and flash floods, climbers are much more vulnerable to being swept away.'' He said the top of the gully was bare rock, which, after a few hundred metres became a thick forest, with hard rattan cane that can cut viciously into unprotected legs and arms. Mr New said there would be few chances for the men to find their own food. ''There will be no fish in the river that high up - the water is moving too quickly - although there might be a few monkeys, snakes or rodents around, if they can trap them.''