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.
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.