Carstensz Pyramid – 16,023′

Carstensz Pyramid is on the island of New Guinea, the world’s third largest island, in the province of West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), a remote corner of Indonesia. This is the highest peak in the Australasian continent and often the most difficult to gain access to of the seven summits. The climb itself involves fifth class rock climbing on a beautiful limestone summit ridge to gain the 16,023 foot/4,884 meter summit. Carstensz Pyramid is the highest peak in the Surinam mountain range that transects the island and sits next to the glaciated Ngapulu Jaya. The views looking over the jungle and beyond to the blue Pacific Ocean from the summit of this mysterious mountain are a rare and very special experience.

This island is one of the most exotic and fascinating places left to travel in the world. The local people belong to many individual tribes, including the Dani tribe, where the men still wear the traditional penis gourd and little else. We often have the opportunity to visit a Dani village as we make our way to the mountain.

The Route

We climb the original route up the North Face of Carstensz Pyramid, joining the summit ridge and proceeding to the summit. The climb is on wonderful, sharp limestone. Most of the climb is scrambling, but there are sections up to 5.6 in difficulty. We will fix ropes on much of the route to gain the summit ridge, which will aide us on the descent. The summit ridge is a beautiful, but exposed, knife-edge ridge with really interesting climbing. You’ll need to have some rock climbing experience prior to coming to Carstensz and please plan on brushing up on those skills before the trip. The island is very rainy and you should expect to be traveling and climbing in the rain at times. If we have extra days at base camp we can climb the remnant glaciers on nearby Ngapulu Jaya, a spectacular juxtaposition on this equatorial island.

Access to Carstensz Pyramid can be very difficult and logistics are always challenging and complex. We have run more than a dozen successful trips over the last several years, but each has provided unique access/logistical challenges. You should expect delays and last minute complications when choosing to travel to Papua, Indonesia and attempting to access this remote mountain. It is important to retain a “rigid state of flexibility” and remember that you are traveling in a true third world area where delays and the unexpected should be expected.  This is the biggest challenge of a Carstensz Pyramid expedition.

Helicopter vs. Trekking?

Based on our years of experience dealing with logsitics in Papua we prefer to offer helicopter accessed trips to Carstensz Pyramid as our primary option.   Helicopter access can be challenging, but there are fewer variables out of our control than with the overland access routes. The many difficulties with trekking access including the tremendous challenge of staying healthy on a long jungle trek, very difficult terrain including hazardous river crossings, multiple levels of local politics in an unstable part of the world, porter strikes, and others. Any Carstensz expedition is a journey into the unpredictable, but we have the experience to mitigate many of the factors that can otherwise stop teams in their tracks…or even before they meet in Indonesia.

Starting in 2014, we are offering a fly/trek hybrid trip where we fly into an area high in the Surinam Range that is one solid day trek from base camp.  This allows us to acclimatize, as well as experiencing the beauty of the high alpine terrain and environment and crossing the famous New Zealand pass on the way to the scenic Lakes base camp.

If you are interested in visiting some native villages and seeing some of the amazing “Stone Age” culture that remains on this island we recommend a visit to the town of Wamena in the Papuan highlands. We would be happy to help you make arrangements for this sort of a cultural tour after the climb.

Roxanne Faike, who climbed with us on one of our first trips in 2005, described the trip as “Way more exciting than Indiana Jones!”

We’d have to agree…

DAY 1: Arrive in Bali, Indonesia.  We’ll meet in the tropical paradise of Bali, Indonesia.

DAY 2: Team Meeting Day.   It is a long way to Indonesia, and we’ll spend this day checking gear and having our pre-trip team meetings.  Tonight we’ll have our “Welcome Dinner” and prepare for the early morning flights to Papua.

DAY 3: Arrive in Papua.   The flights from Bali to Papua often involve several stops, and fly through the night to arrive in Jayapura in the afternoon.

Day 4:  Travel to Nabire.   We’ll fly to Nabire, and depending on the logistics possibly on to Enarotali where we’ll meet our helicopter.

Day 5:  Fly to Nasidome Camp.  We’ll have an early morning flight to the Nasidome camp at 12,300 ft.  Here we’ll set up camp and spend a day acclimating and hiking around the high plateau.

Day 6:  Acclimate at Nasidome Camp (12,300ft/3750meters).

Day 7: Trek to Carstensz Base Camp.  This is a fairly big day as we will hike through the muddy alpine bogs, and over the famous New Zealand Pass on our approach to the Yellow Valley base camp just below the South face of Carstensz Pyramid.

Day 8: Summit Day!   We will get a classic pre-dawn, alpine start and hope to be up and down before the afternoon rains. We’ll only go for the summit this day if everyone is feeling good and the weather looks promising, as we have additional days built into our schedule.

Day 9-11: Extra days for weather delays or acclimating.

Day 12: Helicopter flights back to Nabire/Enarotoli

Day 13:  Fly back to Bali

Day 14:  Flights Home. Unless you have planned to stay on in Indonesia, we’ll part ways and head home!

**This Itinerary is subject to change due to weather, logistical or other circumstances.

The following is a general list of required gear for climbing Carstensz Pyramid with Mountain Trip. Climbers joining us on an expedition will receive an updated, comprehensive equipment list that may supersede this list.

Many of the items on the list need to fit you well in order for you to fully enjoy your experience on the mountain. Please plan ahead with equipment purchased for your trip so you can be certain that your gear fits you well. Hiking above Base Camp is not the place to discover that your pack is too small for your torso, or that your boots give you blisters. Recommended items reflect the opinions of our guides. We have used and have faith in all of our recommendations, but they may not necessarily fit or work for you.

Call or email us with any gear questions. We want you to be as prepared as possible for your expedition.

Please follow this list closely and do not hesitate to call us for clarifications or to solicit an opinion about anything you are considering. There is almost no climbing and/or outdoor gear available in Bali or Papua, so please bring everything on our equipment list. Lastly, only bring quality gear that is in very good condition on your expedition.

Footwear

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Climbing BootsCarstensz requires waterproof boots. The rock is very sharp, which helps when it is wet, but our recommendation is for dedicated climbing boots, with sticky rubber soles. They do not need to be insulated, but must be in good, waterproof condition.
GaitersAny height gaiters will work for most trips, but tall versions like Black Diamond’s “Frontpoint Gore-tex” are better for snow and for protecting your pants while ice climbing.

Torso Layers

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Wind ShirtMany high alpine peaks are cold and dry. If you are not getting rained on or experiencing wet snow, perhaps you do not need a waterproof jacket? We are huge fans of very lightweight windshirts for peaks like Denali and Aconcagua. Weighing just a few ounces, these can be carried in your pocket or in the lid of your pack for rapid deployment. They can replace your hard shell on many mountains, saving you a half a pound or more.
T ShirtSynthetic or lightweight Merino wool shirts can be a nice "extra" piece for the lower glacier n Denali. Synthetics dry faster than cotton! Long-sleeve "sun hoodies" are popular amongst our guides.
Soft Shell JacketMany big, cold mountains do not require a fully waterproof jacket. Soft shell jackets are much more breathable and comfortable than Gore-tex, and we are fans whenever they are appropriate. Soft shell is a general term for highly breathable layers that still cut most, if not all of the wind. Some trips require a hard shell down low, but can be climbed using soft shells higher up on the mountain.
Hard Shell JacketThis jacket should be large enough to go over your fleece clothing layer. You do not need the burliest Gore-Tex jacket you can find, and we prefer the lightest weight versions. Many people are climbing peaks such as Denali, Aconcagua and Everest using very lightweight, windproof, water resistant shells, rather than fully waterproof jackets. Other trips, such as Carstensz Pyramid and Ecuador, are notoriously wet and absolutely need waterproof layers. Long expeditions like Everest also need this layer. Contact us to see if your particular trip needs this layer for your trip.
“Puffy,” Synthetic JacketSize this layer to fit over your light fleece and wind shell. We are fans of the puffy, Primaloft jackets because they are lighter and warmer than thick fleece and compress down much smaller. A hood is a recommended feature in this layer, but is not necessary.
Light Fleece TopYou'll want a light fleece top in a weight similar to Capilene 4 from Patagonia, or Powerstretch from Polartec. A rather deep zip t-neck really helps with ventilating and we are fans of a hooded version for this layer.
Base Layer Top(1 or 2 sets) Synthetic layers work well, such as Capilene 2 or 3 from Patagonia. There are some really nice Merino wool options on the market as well. One set it sufficient for most expeditions and for overnight trips, however; the choice as to whether to bring a second set is a personal one, based on your level of comfort with wearing the same clothes for days or weeks at a time.

Leg Layers

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Hard Shell, Waterproof PantsIf there is a probability or good possibility of getting wet, you will need to have waterproof breathable pants. Also known as Hard Shell Pants, these should be as light weight as possible, and should have fully separating side zippers, so you can put them on and remove them over your boots. Gore Tex is commonly used, but there are a number of other materials that work fine. On some peaks, you might carry hard shell pants for the lower mountain, but switch to soft shell pants for the colder and drier upper mountain.
UnderwearConsider synthetic or Merino wool for your underwear. Most longer trips, such as Aconcagua or Denali, typically require 3-4 pair, but choose your quantity based on your personal level of comfort. Ladies might consider bringing additional pairs.
Down or Puffy Expedition PantsOn summit day or on a cold morning, having a warm layer to pull on over all your other leg layers is important. This layer should be down or synthetic (ie. Primaloft) filled and must have fully separating side zippers. Practice putting them on and taking them off while wearing your boots before you leave for your expedition.
Soft Shell PantsWe are fans of soft shell pants for use in the mountains. Also known as stretch-woven pants, these are breathable and comfortable enough to wear day in and day out on most expeditions. They cut most of the wind and are water resistant, meaning you can often use them in place of waterproof (not very breathable) hard shell pants on many climbs. On peaks like Denali and Aconcagua, you can wear them in lieu of your hard shell pants for much of the expedition.
Light Fleece BottomsAs the air thins and the wind picks up, you'll want a bit more insulation on your legs. Light fleece bottoms, such as the Capilene 4 bottoms from Patagonia are breathable and have a broad comfort range, so you can wear them all day long, even if the sun pokes out from the clouds. If you tend to run cold, consider thicker fleece, such as Powerstretch from Polartec, which most outdoor clothing manufacturers also use.
Base Layer BottomsLightweight synthetic or Merino wool bottoms are a good choice for this layer. Synthetic seems to wick a bit better and is the choice of most of our guides, but Merino tends to be more fragrance-free, and many people appreciate that quality. One pair is sufficient for overnight climbs and most expeditions, even longer climbs such as Denali and Aconcagua. Everest climbers should bring two pair.

Head and Hands

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Nose GuardBeko makes nice nose protectors that keep the wind and sun from wreaking havoc on your skin.
Glacier GlassesGlacier glasses are most commonly used on big mountains, but some wrap around, sport-style glasses also work well. Whichever you bring, they must have side protection and filter 100% UVA and UVB rays. Increasingly, sun glasses are divided into categories of light transmission, and for snowy or glaciated climbs, you will want glasses rated to Category 3 or higher.
Sun HatBaseball type or wide brimmed sun hats are required for protection against the intense sunshine found on many peaks. You can combine a baseball hat with a bandana for good sun protection or go for a wide brimmed version to protect your face, ears and neck.
Warm HatBring one warm hat or two hats of different weights. Wool or fleece are fine, but your hat must provide ear protection from the cold. Windstopper fabric over your ears can greatly reduce your ability to hear things like rockfall or your rope mate calling to you.
Buff Neck GaiterBuff is a brand of light weight neck gaiters that have grown to become a staple of every guide's kit. These are amazingly versatile, and can be worn as a hat, a neck gaiter or pulled over your face for protection from the wind or sun. They come in many thicknesses nowadays, but we prefer the original weight for its versatility.
Medium Weight GlovesMid-weight gloves have become increasingly popular in recent years, gaining traction on the traditional heavyweight gloves as the go-to hand protection on many trips. Appropriate gloves will have light synthetic fill and are often waterproof.
Heavyweight GlovesWarm, insulated gloves are the day-to-day workhorses on cold peaks or for cold days of ice climbing. We prefer gloves with removable liners for ease of drying. It’s hard to stress how much you’ll be wearing these, so do not skimp on this item. Gloves should fit snugly, but not be too tight, and try them out before you purchase them, as some brand name gloves have pretty terrible dexterity.

Sleeping Gear

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Carstensz Sleeping BagYour best choice would be a synthetic bag bated to 15 F. Down bags are not recommended, as if they get wet they are basically worthless and West Papua is mostly rainforest, so getting wet is par for the course.
Foam Sleeping PadBringing two sleeping pads, one closed cell foam and the other an inflatable pad, will provide additional comfort and insulation, as well as a bit of insurance in case you have a catastrophic failure of your inflatable pad.
Inflatable Sleeping PadInflatable pads have improved tremendously in recent years. Whether you choose a self inflating pad or one that requires some pumping to inflate, select a pad that is warm and comfortable.

Climbing Gear

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Climbing HelmetMake certain it fits over your warmest hat and under the hood of your shell. We have seen a couple super-lightweight foam helmets get crushed in duffel bags bag during travel, so protect your lid!
Locking CarabinersBring three locking carabiners. Screwgate or auto-locking 'biners work equally well, although the new magnetic gate versions seem like they might be less prone to freezing closed. Select light weight carabiners.
CarabinersBring eight regular (non-locking) carabiners. Please do not bring “bent-gate” carabiners, as these have certain limitations that do not make them appropriate for how we will use them. Mark your 'biners with colored tape for identification.
AscenderYou need one full-sized ascender such as the Petzl Ascension to clip into the fixed lines on the route.
Climbing HarnessYour harness should be adjustable enough to accommodate several layers of clothing. As with most items on this list, choose a light weight harness.

Other

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
SunscreenThe sun can be intense at altitude and near the equator. Bring one small tube for use while climbing and one larger tube for use while not on route.
Several Good Jokes!"A Moose walks into a bar..."
GPS Tracking DeviceSpot GPS devices have been the standard, but the DeLorme inReach has been increasingly popular, as you can send and receive text messages with it. We carry a tracking device on every trip, but you might consider bringing one as well. Again- consider how you will keep it powered over the course of your expedition.
Personal Music PlayeriPods and the like are really nice on a long trip. At altitude, hard drive based devices stop working, so make certain that you bring a flash drive (solid state) music player. Also consider how you will keep it charged, and bring whatever is necessary to keep you in time to the beat.
Small KnifeA small knife or small multi-tool is also handy to have. One per tent is sufficient. There is emphasis on the word small when it comes to multi-tools!
LighterYour guides will have plenty of lighters, but it is nice to have one lighter per tent, as cord always needs to be cut and melted.
Altimeter WatchAn altimeter watch can be fun to have on an expedition to keep track of your ascent and to watch for changes in barometric pressure.
Journal (and pencil)Expeditions can be a great time for reflection and a journal can be a nice way to wax poetic or just keep track of what you did each day. Keep it small and leave the leather bound version at home.
Book(s) or E-ReaderThere is a lot of "down time" on an expedition, even when you have good weather. A book or two can help pass the time. E-Readers have gained popularity in recent years, as they enable you to have dozens (or hundreds) of books at your disposal. E-Readers present certain challenges, but can be a great way to keep your sanity during a long storm. Consider how you will recharge your e-Reader.
CameraSmall, light weight point and shoot cameras are most popular among climbers. Be sure to bring extra memory and batteries!

Refunds and Cancellations

Mountain Trip recognizes how difficult and disappointing it can be for climbers who must cancel expeditions which they have planned for a long time. Team members must also recognize that, due to the nature of planning expeditions and dealing with governmental permits and regulations, Mountain Trip also accrues significant expenses in the months prior to expedition departure dates. We must therefore adhere to a strict refund policy for all climbers. Trip cancellation and travel insurance is generally available for all expeditions. U.S. and Canadian residents should contact us for more information regarding travel insurance. Our refund and cancellation policy is outlined below.

• All expeditions require a deposit to secure a spot on the team. Your submission of a deposit constitutes your acceptance of this Fee Schedule, Refund and Cancellation Policy.

• All deposits for Carstensz Pyramid expeditions include a non-refundable $750 administration fee.

• Final payments for expeditions must be received 120 days prior to the Team Meeting Day.

• Failure to pay expedition fees by the date they are due constitutes cancellation of your spot on the team and forfeiture of your deposit.

• Any cancellation 120+ days before your Team Meeting Day will be refunded in full, less the administration fee.

• If you cancel 120-90 days before your Team Meeting Day, you are eligible for a refund of 50% of any monies paid, less the deposit.

• No refunds will be provided for cancellations occurring within the last 89 days prior to an expedition.

• All requests for refunds must be made in writing and received in our Colorado office.

• If you register for a climb within 90 days of the Team Meeting Date, expedition fees will be due in full to secure your spot on the team.

• Mountain Trip reserves the right to cancel an expedition prior to the departure date for any reason. In such an event, all monies collected by Mountain Trip from team members for that expedition shall be promptly refunded. This is the extent of our financial liability.

 

Inclusions and Exclusions

Included in the Trip Fee:

• Unlimited pre-trip access to our office resources

• US trained, Mountain Trip guide(s)

• Airport transfers in Bali and Papua

• Up to two nights accommodation in Bali(shared room), two nights before your climb and one nights after the climb

• Welcome dinner in Bali

• Up to three nights accommodation and all meals in Timika (shared room)

• Scheduled flights for the team between Bali and Papua

• Scheduled helicopter flights in Papua or trekking services

• All food for the climb

• All group equipment (tents, kitchen, ropes, med kit, satellite phone, etc)

• Custom expedition dispatch blog for your climb, complete with audio posts from the mountain

• Assistance arranging for post-climb activities such as cultural tours, museum visits, etc.

 

Not Included in the Trip Fee:

• Flights to and from Bali

• Personal clothing and equipment (please see our equipment list)

• Meals beyond the welcome dinner in Bali and the meals in Timika that are included in the itinerary

• Additional nights’ accommodation in Indonesia beyond those outlined above

 

General Agreement Concerning Services to be Provided And Responsibilities of Team Members

When registering for an expedition with Mountain Trip we want to help make sure you understand the services we are providing and the services you are responsible for.

Transportation is incidental

The main purpose of becoming a team member is to join us on an expedition in the mountains. As such any transportation we provide or that you may contract for on your own is incidental to the trip. We suggest that you make sure you have time built into your itinerary for delays.

Transportation to and from your destination

We will designate a specific Team Meeting Day for your expedition. Transportation to the meeting point on your Team Meeting Day is to be provided by you. You must arrive in time to be ready to participate in a team meeting at the appointed time on the Team Meeting Day for your expedition. Expedition climbing is very dynamic and we will provide you with a recommendation as to when you should book your flights to and from your destination. We suggest you book a ticket that allows you to change your flight with little effort or cost.

Lodging off the mountain

Mountain Trip will provide lodging per the Inclusions and Exclusions section above. Any additional lodging is your responsibility. Don’t worry about booking a room after your expedition. We generally don’t know how long we’ll be in the mountains, and we can help arrange lodging when we return to “civilization.”

Responsibilities of Team Members

You are ultimately responsible for your own well-being, including making all necessary preparations to ensure good health and physical conditioning. You are responsible for understanding the conditions that may exist on the climb and choosing a climb that is appropriate for your abilities and interests. You are responsible for having knowledge of all pre-departure information and for assembling the appropriate clothing and equipment for your climb.

While on the expedition, team members are responsible to maintain basic levels of hygiene and to conduct themselves respectfully with other team members and members of the local population. If a guide feels that a team member is putting other members’ health or safety at risk, the guide has the discretion to remove a team member from an expedition.

Use our office staff and your lead guide as pre-trip resources to ensure that all your questions are answered. Travel insurance may help recoup expenses if you need to leave an expedition due to an illness.

Airline Responsibility Passenger/Airline contracts are in effect while team members are on board any aircraft contracted for use in the expedition.

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