Carstensz Pyramid Expedition
COVID-19 UPDATE: AAI is open and operating with new policies and procedures for COVID-19. Click the following links to learn more about AAI's COVID-19 Operating Plans and cancellation policy. Note that participants who are unvaccinated may be asked to provide their own transportation while the COVID pandemic continues.
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.
- 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.
- Intermediate rock climbing ability
- Ability to rappel
- Ability to jumar or to follow 5.8
Carstensz Pyramid Expedition
The approach to the mountain involves flying from Denpasar (Bali) to the town of Timika in Western Papua. We fly by helicopter directly to our Base Camp at 4,200m/13,779ft. 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.
We will climb the mountain via the North Face, in a long day from the base of the peak to the summit and back. The guides will attach fixed rope to the most difficult sections of the route to enable quick access to the summit ridge and a rapid descent afterwards.
Some of the terrain can be climbed without ropes and is little more than scrambling, but other sections will require the ropes fixed over technical rock slabs. In addition, some parts of the razorback summit ridge, while technically straightforward, are very exposed and there is even a three wire bridge to negotiate.
The mountain is coarse limestone, which provides excellent friction for climbing boots but can be particularly rough on un-gloved hands. The route is suitable for climbers of modest experience as long as they have some recent fixed rope experience, or are prepared to undertake some training prior to departure.
Following the climb, we helicopter back out directly from Base Camp back to Timika and onwards to Bali, culminating in a short 11-day fly in / fly out adventure.
Please be aware that many companies offer 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 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.
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.