Carstensz Pyramid Expedition

Overview

Rising like a shark's fin out of the mist of a jungle far below, 16,023-foot Carstensz Pyramid is the highest peak in Australasia and one of the most remote of the Seven Summits. It stands in the Jayawijaya Mountain Range, a limestone protrusion that spans the equatorial island of New Guinea from Irian Jaya (formerly Dutch New Guinea) in the west, through to Papua New Guinea in the east. The mountain was first climbed in the 1960s and has seen relatively few ascents since then.

Expedition Highlights

  • Climb the highest mountain in Australasia; one of the most remote Seven Summits
  • Adventure through equatorial jungle
  • Exotic and exhilarating rock climbing on the most remote of the 7 Summits
  • Helicopter supported expedition includes flight to base camp and numerous acclimatization days to prepare for summit day
A climbers takes pause to enjoy the view on the ascent of Carstensz Pyramid.

A climbers takes pause to enjoy the view on the ascent of Carstensz Pyramid.

Being close to the equator, the weather pattern is the same all year round with generally clear skies until midday and then a heavy downpour in the afternoon. During the walk in we must pass through and sometimes stay in very remote villages which your guides will make financial donations to for permission and safe passage. They are some of the most remote villages on earth and expedition members are expected to respect the local customs and realize itineraries may change to accommodate the locals. The toughest two days of the trek are through the jungle in thick deep mud and are very physical.

Prerequisites

  • Intermediate rock climbing ability
  • Ability to rappel
  • Ability to jumar or to follow 5.8

Carstensz Pyramid Expedition

Route

Carstensz - Map

The trek to the basecamp at 4,200m starts after a plane ride to the island of Papua followed by another small plane ride to a remote village called Sugapa. It usually takes six days trekking to reach basecamp.

We will climb the mountain via its north face following a route that offers excellent climbing on coarse limestone while varying from easy scrambling to a few steeper pitches up to 5.8 which can be either climbed free or jumared. Additionally, while the razorback summit ridge is technically straightforward, it is very exposed in places. Expedition guides will fix ropes to provide good security on the ascent and to speed our decent before the typical afternoon precipitation reaches us. If time and weather permit, we will also climb Naga Pulu, the second highest summit of Australasia. This is a day-climb which includes a little snow and ice, a short section of easy rock climbing, and a finish on easy snow slopes to the summit.

The approach to the mountain involves flying from Denpasar (Bali) to the town of Nabire in Western Papua. We fly by helicopter directly to our Base Camp at 13,000 feet (4,200 metres). We rest and acclimatise over 3 days/nights before attempting the climb to the summit of this illusive peak. The Base Camp is at a very high elevation to fly to but our options are limited for access. Helicopter access will enable us to avoid many days of difficult jungle trekking and arrive fresh and ready for the climb.

After the climb we walk back to Sugapa in four days, allowing us our full ‘jungle experience’ and fly out to Nabire, followed by another flight back to Denpasar (Bali) for a well-earned rest after the climb.

Being close to the equator, the weather pattern is the same all year round with generally clear skies until midday and then a heavy downpour in the afternoon. During the walk out we must pass through and sometimes stay in very remote villages which your guides will make financial donations to for permission and safe passage. They are some of the most remote villages on earth and expedition members are expected to respect the local customs and realise itineraries may change to accommodate the locals. Cannibalism has not been practised for several years. The toughest two days of the trek are through the jungle in thick deep mud and are very physical.

Please be aware that many companies offer shorter expeditions and will promise to ‘smuggle’ you through the Freeport Mine, or get a permit to travel through the mine. These methods are illegal at best, or dangerous, and sometimes a combination of both. We encourage you to consider carefully your selected operator as many people have been detained by the mine for 10 or 12 days only then to have to walk out for another four days.

 

History

Carstensz Toppen, or Carstensz Pyramid, is a Dutch name, deriving from the 1623 voyage of exploration undertaken by the Dutch Empire as they strove to rule the lucrative trade routes of the East Indes. The navigator, Jan Carstensz, recorded his surprised sightings of ice-covered mountains soaring high above the Arafura Sea.

In 1872 Captain J.A. Lawson led an exploratory expedition inland, reporting an ascent to 7500 metres on a Mount Hercules! This sparked rumours that Carstensz was higher than the recently surveyed Mt Everest.

Ensuing Dutch and English expeditions failed to climb this legendary peak, but confirmed extensive glaciation in mountains so close to the equator.

The New Zealand expedition led by Philip Temple in 1961 finally got to the base of Carstensz Pyramid after an epic trek through the jungle but was forced to retreat after a failed airdrop of supplies. The following year Temple was asked to guide Heinrich Harrer over New Zealand Pass, the key to reaching Carstensz. Harrer and Temple then pioneered the steep rock climbing route to the summit. The pair went on to make ascents of many other peaks in the region.

Carstensz Pyramid Expedition

Safety and Success

The AAI / Adventure Consultants Alliance

The American Alpine Institute strives to provide the highest quality service and leadership to our climbers around the world. On certain expeditions, we reach out to our partners to combine resources and offer an experience unmatched by any other guide service. This is a joint expedition with Adventure Consultants who maintains the same standards for excellence as AAI.

Carstensz - Climbing

Together, AAI and AC are renowned for the quality service and strategy applied to high altitude expedition climbing. Our reputations are attributed to meticulous planning and experienced logistics coordination. We have a philosophy of investing in every expedition to offer our climbers the best possible chance of success.

We employ strong and specialized Expedition leaders and support staff, whom are some of the most pre-eminent in the industry. We pride ourselves on operating with small teams and the best back-up and support available. This includes nutritious and ample quantities of food, comfortable base camp facilities, reliable communications systems and the necessary medical back up.

Many of our expedition members come to us because they have seen us in action on a previous trip and decide to opt for our level of service and proven experience. Others return because they know we do our very best to make expeditions safe and successful.

Please be aware that many companies offer shorter expeditions and will promise to ‘smuggle’ you through the Freeport Mine, or get a permit to travel through the mine. These methods are illegal at best, or dangerous, and sometimes a combination of both. We encourage you to consider carefully your selected operator as many people have been detained by the mine for 10 or 12 days only then to have to walk out for another four days.

Carstensz Pyramid Expedition

Cost and Details

Carstensz - Ridge
  • $27,500 - helicopter supported fly in / walk out
  • Full helicopter supported fly in/out (contact our office for more info)

 

Max Climber to Guide Ratio - 10:3

Capacity - 10 climbers

Duration - 15 days, fly in / walk out

Departure - fly in/out of Bali, Indonesia

 

2016/2017 Dates

  • Oct 31 - Nov 2016
  • Jan 16 - 30, 2017
  • Mar 5 - 19, 2017
  • Aug 6 - 20, 2017
  • Oct 29 - Nov 12, 2017

 

Expedition Inclusions and Exclusions

Inclusions:

  • All domestic flights from Denpasar (Bali) to Papua and return
  • Fixed wing flight from Nabire to Sugapa
  • Helicopter flight from Enaratoli to Base Camp
  • Accommodation (twin share) ex Bali before and after the trek/climb
  • All meals after departing Bali and before arriving back in Bali
  • Tents and group climbing equipment
  • All climbing and trekking permits
  • All supplies necessary to make a strong and safe bid for the summit
  • All expedition staff including qualified western Mountain Guide(s) and local support staff
  • Up to two nights' accommodation and meals in Papua prior to the climb and one night following the climb (in case of delay)
  • Transport of 20kg of personal equipment from Enaratoli to Base Camp via helicopter
  • Porterage for up to 15kg of personal equipment from Base Camp to Sugapa

 

Exclusions: International air travel to and from Denpasar, Indonesia; Indonesian tourist visa charges and airport taxes; personal clothing and equipment; Personal travel insurance, trip cancellation insurance, and rescue insurance; rescue costs or costs of early departure from the expedition; gratuities to guides, porters, and expedition staff; excess baggage costs; hotel accommodation and meals in Bali; accommodation in Papua, beyond the 3 nights; costs for delays that are beyond the control of the expedition.

Carstensz Pyramid Expedition

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