Tag: Carstensz

Carstensz Gear Guide to Boots

I explored clothing for traveling, trekking, and climbing on Carstensz Pyramid in my LAST ARTICLE so now we’ll look at the Carstensz Gear Guide to Boots. As stated in the previous article, you’ll most likely spend

  • a day or two in Bali
  • a day or two in Timika or some similar sized town
  • several days on the trek
  • a day climbing to the summit of Puncak Jaya and rappelling down

Each of these has some diverse need for footwear.

Carstensz Gear Guide – Bali Footwear

In Bali you can wear sandals most of the time and never need anything heavier. The climate is warm and the beaches are inviting. I really recommend that you leave your sandals in Bali if you plan on returning. You’ll really appreciate having a clean pair after all the mud and muck of the rest of the trip.

Carstensz Gear Guide Recommended sandals in the tide at Bali beach resort
Recommended sandals in the tide at Bali beach resort

Carstensz Gear Guide – Timika Footwear

Keep in mind that many trips will not be returning to Timika or whatever jumping-off point you’ll be starting from. With that in mind anything you take to Timika will be used on the rest of the trip. The porters carry your bags once you arrive at the trail head so it’s not really too complicated to add in an extra pair of something. Most of my group wore those high density foam sandals and their hiking boots while in Timika. Whatever you do though it would be a good idea to use the same socks here as on the rest of the trip. I’ll recommend them shortly.

I climbed Orizaba in my Salomon trail running shoes
I climbed Orizaba in my Salomon trail running shoes

I had chosen to wear my Salomon 3D Ultra shoes as my primary footwear in Timika. They were just a bit warm in the day but the Goretex waterproof outer was great during the frequent rain. If you have the extra room and weight in your gear, a pair of trail running shoes is a great alternative shoe to take with.

Carstensz Gear Guide – Trekking Footwear

There aren’t too many alternatives to the trek to Base Camp on Carstensz. Almost every Carstensz gear guide published by the guide companies and previous climbers will suggest Wellingtons like these Baffin Men’s Express PT Rain Boot. I wholeheartedly agree. You will most likely be walking up to 10 miles a day for 6 or so days. They should be reasonably comfortable but don’t spend a lot of money. I ended up giving my boots away to the porters afterward. They smelled so bad from being soaked the entire trek that I couldn’t bear to put them in the duffle to return home with.

Carstensz Gear Guide Suggestion: Wellies - you'll live in them for days in rugged slippery terrain
Carstensz Gear Guide Suggestion: Wellies – you’ll live in them for days in rugged slippery terrain

If you choose to put insoles in, they should be closed cell foam. Any open cell foam will absorb water and lead to blisters or trench foot or worse. They will not dry out. Closed cell foam will not absorb water. Socks need to be at least semi-synthetic and a pile or loop construction. Ragg wool will not dry. In fact, most wool and cotton will not dry no matter what you do. The synthetic socks, like Thorlo will dry out fairly well in your sleeping bag. Try them in the boots on the treadmill at the steepest inclination (like 15%) that your treadmill will do at about 1.0 MPH. You probably will never walk faster than that on the trek. Make sure it works before you go.

You will be walking in knee-deep mud, stepping on slippery roots, crossing wet lashed log bridges. You do not want to fall. Believe me. I did and tore up some rib cartilage that took me several months to heal from. The simple cheap square lug soles seemed to be the best for this terrain.

In camp at night you’ll want to immediately set to work drying your socks. Take an alternate pair and hang one to dry from your daypack while you hike and wear the other pair for the trek. You could also stuff them down your shirt and let your body heat dry them like on a mountaineering trip. You should switch to an alternate pair of shoes in camp then while you try to dry out your Wellies. Most of those on my group wore their trendy foam sandals but I wore my trail running shoes. I don’t think I would have been happy in the holey foam shoes, since most camps had slimy wet mud and a few had standing water. It’s up to you though. Keep your socks dry whatever you do.

Carstensz Gear Guide – Summit Footwear

Most of the guide companies recommend in the Carstensz gear guide they publish that you bring an alpine style climbing boot like the Scarpa Charmoz. I had waffled several times while training. Part of me just wanted to take my Salomon trail running shoes, since they’d worked for just about everything I’d done previously. I could even climb 5.8 in them and practiced that for a few weeks to see how they worked out. Whatever shoes or boots you take for the summit, I do recommend that you seal them up with an extra pair of socks in a silicone or otherwise waterproof kayak style bag and don’t touch them until you get dressed for the summit. A dry pair of socks and boots will really cheer you up.

Rope Solo 5.7 in Salomon Trail Running Shoes - Training for Carstensz Pyramid
Rope Solo 5.7 in Salomon Trail Running Shoes – Training for Carstensz Pyramid

I finally settled on the classic Scarpa Charmoz. Most everyone else on the trip had various light hikers, like the HiTec boots. Between the two I think that the Scarpa did better for climbing. Despite being Goretex they filled with water on the rappels down in the torrents of rain running down the limestone grooves. Because they were Goretex the water also stayed inside the boots. My toes got quite cold and very wrinkly wet. It was the next morning before they looked even close to normal.

Descending in Freezing Rain with very wet feet
Descending in Freezing Rain with very wet feet

I’m not sure what would have worked better, if anything. I probably could have been just as comfortable in the Salomons. It would have been easier to get them on and off to drain them. Being much lighter they would have dried out faster too. Something to consider would be one of the approach style shoes like the LaSportiva B5 which I think is available in a new version with high top Goretex. If by some miracle I ever go back to Carstensz Pyramid I might do that.

Wrapping Up

You’ll be reversing the order of the trip then, trekking back to an airport, flying to civilization, hanging out on the beach and going home. Trust me when I say that almost everything you take on the trek should be considered expendable. I ended up throwing almost everything away when I got to civilization. Some of it I was able to donate to the porters. Keep that in mind when you’re making your gear decisions.

If you have any questions, post them here or on my Facebook page and I’ll be happy to answer the simple ones as best I can.

Carstensz Gear List Focus on Clothing

If you’ve dreamed of climbing the highest peak on the continent of Oceania, you’ve undoubtedly had a look at a Carstensz Gear List. If you go to the different guide companies they will put up their list for you to read and prepare. My own biggest gripe about the average Carstensz Gear List is that they seem pretty copy/paste and don’t consider the serious and extreme conditions that you will endure on this trek and climb.

Descending in Freezing Rain - your Carstensz gear list should have rainwear
Descending in Freezing Rain – your Carstensz gear list should have rainwear

Carstensz Gear List: Bali Tourism

Many of the guides and outfitters that service this area will include a day or two before and/or after your trek and climb in Bali or another beach resort area.

Bali Clothing:

  • 1 – Swimsuit – fast drying works best
  • 1 – Thin airy travel pants
  • 2 – Thin airy travel shirt
  • 2 – Thin airy undies

That should be all you need in the way of clothing for your beach resort phase of your expedition.

Does your Carstensz Gear List consider your beach days in Bali?
Does your Carstensz Gear List consider your beach days in Bali?

Carstensz Gear List: Papua Clothing

You might be in the West Island area, maybe Timika, for a few days waiting on weather for your flight. It might be a bit cooler at times, and insects and rain could also affect your comfort level. You will be leaving a bag in Bali most likely, and some outfitters do not return to Timika to get a bag left there. That means that everything you have in Timika will be going on the trek with you. Do not bring your Bali clothing on the trek. You will want some relatively clean and decent smelling clothes to put on when you return to Bali. So when you leave Bali, wear the following.

Timika Clothing:

  • 1 – very thin, very light weather resistant trekking pants
  • 1 – thin and light base layer shirt
  • 1 – thin and light undies
  • 1 – thin light water-resistant windbreaker
  • 1 – tech (running) baseball cap

Remember, these are your trekking clothes. You should be fine in Timika with those items on.

The Local Airport in Timika
The Local Airport in Timika

Carstensz Gear List: Trekking Clothing

The trek might be the worst part of the trip. It can be long, miserable, wet, muddy, and get colder each day you’re out. Then on the return trek it will get warmer each day. While most outfitters will give an estimated time for the trek do not get locked into that. Allow a few extra days for roadblocks, weather and emergencies. The less you have with you the better, overall. If you’re already experienced in expeditions, such as having climbed Kili, you know. Otherwise, get used to having to wear the same set of clothing for a couple of weeks. You already have some of these trekking items in your Timika list so add in the following.

Trekking List

  • 1 – pair of quick drying shorts
  • 1 – set of alternative or backup undies
  • 1 – tech fabric t-shirt
  • 1 – thin waterproof/breathable parka with zipper vents
  • 1 – thin waterproof/breathable pants with zipper vents
  • 1 – thin tech (helmet liner) beanie
  • 1 – fleece jacket with hood
  • 2 – pair fleece gloves with rubber pads, one pair weather resistant
Decked out in trekking clothes from my Carstensz gear list
Decked out in trekking clothes from my Carstensz gear list

Carstensz Gear List: Climbing Clothing

For climbing day on Carstensz you’ll be on jagged limestone cliffs using fixed ropes. I recommend that you keep this second set of clothes zipped up tight in a waterproof cargo bag and do not touch it until you get dressed to head for the summit in the middle of the night. You can use your windbreaker and waterproof/breathable jacket and pants if you have been able to keep them dry. If you have any doubts, add in the extra set to this list.

Summit Day Clothing

  • 1 – pair rugged thin softshell climbing pants
  • 1 – pair undies reserved for summit day
  • 1 – base layer set (pants/shirt)
  • 1 – fleece/hybrid/softshell jacket
  • 1 – medium weight synthetic puffy
  • 2 – pair treated leather gloves
  • 1 – synthetic buff (neck tube)

Climbing Carstensz might be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Do not go cheap and do not risk having the wrong clothing.

On the summit of Carstensz Pyramid, Puncak Jaya on 30 April 2013
On the summit of Carstensz Pyramid, Puncak Jaya on 30 April 2013

Carstensz Gear List Consulting

If you are in need of further information about the Carstensz gear list, based on my own successful experiences, then please, buy the book I wrote about my climb Carstensz, Stone Age to Iron Age.

If you need some question answered that isn’t covered here or in my book, I do offer Google Helpouts consultations at a great rate, and they’re well worth the money and time. I have consulted with dozens of people about their own concerns for a Carstensz trip, and so far several have already had successful climbs. If you take a chance on Carstensz, you should definitely increase the odds in your favor.

Carstensz Pyramid Travel Warning

Carstensz Pyramid travel can be difficult. There are a few logistic hoops to jump through. Trekking in Equatorial Jungle. Various permits. Lack of helicopters. These are all issues to deal with. No one is going to rescue you and you need to be self-sufficient. You are taking a big risk. I had quite a few experiences of this nature when I climbed Carstensz in April of 2013. I wrote about them in my book Carstensz, Stone Age to Iron Age.

The mine was brought up as well. We were told that many expeditions had run into trouble with the mine, who in partnership with the local government owned all the land in the Carstensz area. With our government permits we were allowed to trek in, summit, then trek out. We would not be allowed to trespass, or cross any property of the mine not specifically spelled out in our permit. — Carstensz, Stone Age to Iron Age

My good friend at the logistics company I used for this trip posted this on the Facebook Event page for our climb of Carstensz Pyramid:

Carstensz Pyramid Travel and Climbing: Company Policy

Carstensz Pyramid Travel and Climbing - Freeport Mine Policy
Freeport Policy for Carstensz Climbers

Carstensz is indeed a logistical nightmare. There are only a mere handful of local operators able to handle the convoluted system of permits and porters and hiking trails that get you to the bottom of the cliffs of Carstensz. Then you have 2,000′ of climbing on steep limestone and gravel gullies with ratty fixed lines with poor anchors. While not technically severe in grade, the climbing has a fair amount of exposure, or perception of steepness and a deadly drop into the abyss between your heels. It’s not like Kilimanjaro, on which any reasonably fit person could walk up to the top. — Carstensz, Stone Age to Iron Age

If you want to see the full text of the (Carstensz Pyramid Travel and) Climbing Policy CLICK HERE

Carstensz Pyramid Gear List

To climb Carstensz Pyramid right now the only option is trekking. Six days up to base camp from Sugapa Village to the Carstensz Pyramid summit at nearly 4900 meters. Then four days to return to the village. There could be a few days of weather to contend with at base camp. You’ll need enough gear to last the two weeks. You’ll also need to be as light as possible, as the porters will only carry 17 kg. That’s about 37 lb.

17 Kilograms per Porter for the Carstensz Pyramid trek
17 Kilograms per Porter for the Carstensz Pyramid trek

Carstensz Pyramid Gear List

Climbing Gear
Alpine climbing harness, adjustable leg loops, fit over all clothing.
Double lanyard (Via Ferrata).
4 Locking carabiners.
Figure 8 Belay-Rappel Device.
1 mechanical ascender with handle.
Climbing helmet, fit with hat on
Trekking boots.
1 Pr rappel gloves.
Adjustable trekking poles.

Upper Body
Long sleeve base layer, light colored, sun and mosquito protection.
T-shirt for lower elevations (optional).
Soft Shell or fleece jacket.
Down/synthetic puffy jacket light-to-medium weight.
Hard shell jacket with hood Waterproof and breathable.
1 Pair liner gloves.
1 Pair medium weight gloves.
Warm hat Wool or synthetic.
Balaclava.
Sun hat or baseball cap.
Glacier glasses 100% UV protection with side shields and a hard-sided storage case.
Extra pair of sunglasses.

Sleeping Gear
Sleeping bag Rated to at least 10-20º F. Line the stuff sack w/plastic bag.
Sleeping pad Full length closed cell foam.
Thermarest (bring repair kit).

Backpack
Day pack 1800-3000 cubic inch for approach hike and summit day (a full pack is not required as we use porters).
1 Large duffel bag.
1 Small duffel bag for leaving clean clothes etc at Timika.
Locks for duffel bags.
Backpack Cover – waterproof.
Stuff sacks & plastic bags– waterproof.

Lower Body
1-2 Pair light-medium weight base layer.
1-2 pair lightweight short underwear.
1 Pair soft shell trousers.
1 Pair nylon shorts quick-drying type.
Lightweight pants for hiking.
Shell trousers Waterproof/breathable with full side zips.

Carstensz Pyramid Trekking Boots Scarpa Charmoz GTX
Carstensz Pyramid Trekking Boots Scarpa Charmoz GTX

Footwear
Trekking Boots.
Wellingtons (these must be knee-high and fitted with trekking boot insoles; you will spend much more time walking in Wellingtons than trekking boots).
Gaiters.
Sandals or light hiking/trail shoes for use at camp.
2 Pair of liner socks.
2 Pair wool/synthetic socks Medium weight.

purificup water purifier for Carstensz Pyramid gear
Purificup for clean water on Carstensz Pyramid

Miscellaneous Equipment
Personal first aid kit Basics: blister kit, Band-Aids, first-aid tape, ibuprofen, personal medications, etc.

Lip balm At least SPF 20, 2 sticks.
Sunscreen At least SPF 40.
Insect repellant Small bottle.
Headlamp plus one set spare batteries.
2-3 Water bottles 1 liter wide-mouth Nalgene.
Pee bottle.
Pocket knife mid-size.
Water purification Silver ion, Chlorine or Iodine tablets.
Hand sanitizer.
Toiletry kit Be sure to include toilet paper stored in a plastic bag.
Camp towel.
Bandanas (one, optional).
Neck gaiter (optional).
Snacks and/or munchies Bring your favorite “trail foods” or desserts, pack in Ziplocs. Preferably to include extra protein.
Camera Optional; large SLR types are not recommended.
Paperback books.
Walkman etc + 2 sets earphones.
Solar charger.
Small stainless thermos (optional).
Umbrella (optional but recommended).

Carstensz Pyramid Solar Power Battery Pack
Solar Power via Goal Zero for Carstensz Pyramid Climb

Carstensz Pyramid Gear List From Carstensz-Expedition
Guide 10 Solar Powered Battery Pack from Goal Zero
Purificup Water Purification System.

Carstensz Itinerary

Carstensz Pyramid is the highest point of the continent of Oceania. Oceania is the continent used to get Carstensz into the Seven Summits for the Messner list. For the Bass list you would use Kosciousko on Australia. This is a much simpler alternative in almost every way.

Carstensz highest point of Oceania, image by Ch1902 Wikipedia
Orthographic map of the Australasian part of Oceania: Australia, New Guinea, Island Melanesia, and New Zealand, but excluding the Maluccas – by Ch1902 on Wikipedia

Carstensz Itinerary

Day 1, 20 Apr : Welcome dinner in Bali
Day 2, 21 Apr : 00.30am check out. 02.15am fly to Timika.
07.00am arrival in Timika. gear check etc.
Day 3, 22 Apr : Charter flight – Timika to Sugapa-Bilogai airstrip.
Porters arrangement then travel by motorcycle to Muara River.
trek to Suanggama (last village).
Day 4, 23 Apr : Trekking from Suanggama to Camp I.
Day 5, 24 Apr : Trekking from Camp I to Camp II (Enda Tsiga).
Day 6, 25 Apr : Trekking from Camp II to Camp III (Ebay).
Day 7, 26 Apr : Trekking from Camp III to Camp IV (Nasidome).
Day 8, 27 Apr : Trekking to Carstensz Base Camp.
Day 9, 28 Apr : Carstensz Climb.
Day 10, 29 Apr : Basecamp – Nasidome.
Day 11, 30 Apr : Nasidome – Enda Tsiga passing Ebay – the shortest trek.
Day 12, 1 May : Enda Tsiga – Suanggama if possible, continue to Sugapa).
Day 13, 2 May : (early morn, Suanggama-Sugapa) then fly out to NABIRE Day.
Day 14, 3 May : fly to Bali.
Day 15-17 , 4-6 May : Preserve days for bad weather, flight delay, etc.

If there is good weather and a strong team we could fly to Bali on Day 13, May 2. Otherwise worst case, on Day 17, May 6. Speaking of weather, today I can get a forecast to April 25 via Mountain-Forecast.

Carstensz Weather – Trailhead Sugapa 2000 meters

Carstensz Trailhead Weather
Carstensz weather for the trailhead near Sugapa Airport

Carstensz Weather – Base Camp 4200 meters

Carstensz Base Camp Weather
Carstensz Base Camp – weather at 4200 meters

Carstensz Weather – Summit 4900 meters

Carstensz Summit Weather
Carstensz Summit -Weather at 4900 meters

Trekking to the base of Carstensz Pyramid is a very rugged adventure. Lots of mud, insects, rain, humidity. It’s a big challenge. I’m hoping that my training pays off and that I can endure the Carstensz Seven Summits Challenge.