Tag: Indonesia

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.

Oklahoma City Couple Detained at Carstensz Indonesia Peak

If you’re at all interested in the Seven Summits Quest, you’ve undoubtedly done some homework, and kind of figured that the keystone of the Messner List, Carstensz Pyramid, highest point of the hypothetical continent of Oceania, would be the riskiest, most dangerous of the lot.


Among the obvious and known dangers are cannibal tribesman, porters who are barely any different, the frequent violent insurrections at the mine, random terrorist attacks on Australians, irregular and often impossible transportation issues, local retribution against foreign guides and their clients, having to actually jug a couple thousand feet on ancient unmaintained fixed lines including the elusive and rare Tyrolean Traverse, and a very wet miserable muddy two weeks slogging through a primitive rain forest.

It’s amazing to me anyway that anyone anywhere in this modern information age would not know that. Seriously. Alas …

Yet with so much strife in the area, the Dillards say they knew nothing of the danger that awaited them. – News OK (Oklahoman)

Oklahoma City businessman Mike Dillard and his wife were subjected to just about all of the above in their Carstensz adventure. They had previously summitted Kili and Aconcagua, and to be fair, neither has anything near these types of dangers or risks, though if you do Kili during a weeklong drizzle like I did, the trail and camping can be pretty miserable.

Anyway, just read the article and see if anything stands out to give you some ideas about your own potential trip on Carstensz.

7 year old Indonesian on Seven Summits Quest?

I read this story recently about a 7 year old Indonesian boy who will be attempting Elbrus this July hoping to summit on July 23, National Children’s day with a follow-up Climb in November of Island Peak, a 6,000 meter mountain in the Himalayas near Everest normally used as a testing ground for the ability to climb Everest.

7-year-old Indonesian Turns Mountains into Molehills If successful, he will be the youngest climber to do Elbrus.


From a newspaper article about Arya Cahaya Mulya Sugiarto: — the treacherous peaks do not seem to faze Arya — last year the boy told the tabloid magazine Nyata that it was “nice to be able to reach the top of the mountain; I can see God’s creation.”


Some food for thought:

1) Can he possibly become the youngest Everest climber?
2) Can he possibly become the youngest Seven Summits Climber?
3) Is he really self-motivated, and really able to finish all these climbs under his own power?
4) What if something goes horribly wrong?
5) What are the long-term repercussions?

How do you feel about this?