Carstensz Pyramid – 16,023 ft/4884 m

Mountain Trip has guided 16 trips to Carstensz Pyramid since 2005

Carstensz Pyramid is on the island of Papua and is one of the 7 Summits. Carstensz lies 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 ft/4,884 m 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.

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The Carstensz Pyramid 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 of moderate climbing up to 5.6 in difficulty. We will utilize fixed ropes on much of the route to gain the summit ridge, which will aid us on the descent, getting off the route involves numerous rappels. The summit ridge is a beautiful, but exposed, knife-edge ridge with really interesting climbing. You’ll need to have some rock climbing and rappelling experience prior to coming to Carstensz, so 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 numerous successful trips in recent years, but each expedition has provided unique access/logistical challenges. Delays and last minute complications should be expected 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. Getting to the mountain is often the biggest challenge of any Carstensz Pyramid expedition.

We currently offer scheduled dates for helicopter access expeditions, but can arrange trekking trips for climbers who are looking for this challenging adventure. Trekking access to Carstensz is a challenging and hazardous journey through jungle and into the highlands of Papua. We can arrange this trip for custom groups, but it is not recommended due to the hazards and uncertainty of the route. We prefer to access Carstensz base camp by helicopter, eliminating many of those issues. Read Helicopter vs. Trekking in the tab below for more details.

Helicopter vs. Trekking?

Based on our years of experience dealing with logistics 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. Trekking doesn’t really do justice to the approach to Carstensz through the jungles and steep terrain of the Island of Papua. 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. We feel that the helicopter access, while more expensive than trekking overland, is a smart investment to help mange the risk and protect our climbers’ investments in time and money.

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 amazing cultural tour after the climb.

Roxanne Faike, who climbed with us on one of our first trips in 2005, described the Carstensz Pyramid climb 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 to start our Carstensz Pyramid climb.

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 generally leave very early in the morning and we’ll arrive in Timika early in the day. We will spend the rest of the day preparing for our morning helicopter flight to base camp.

Day 4:  Fly by Helicopter to Carstensz  Pyramid Base Camp.   We hope to fly to base camp first thing in the morning depending on weather.

Day 5:  Acclimatize at Base Camp.  We will spend the day acclimatizing to the high altitude and preparing for our summit push.  

Day 6:  Carstensz Pyramid Summit Day!   Today we’ll get an early start to try to beat the afternoon rain. It is typically a 6-8 hour push to the summit and we hope to enjoy sunrise on the summit ridge. 

Day 7-9:  Contingency Day.   An extra day for weather or any other delays.

Day 10: Fly back to Timika.  Again, we hope to fly early in the morning, and will continue on to Bali if we can make the flight.

Day 11:  Flight to Bali. We’ll return to the beautiful island of Bali where you can stick around and surf, or head home.

Day 12:  Flights home or begin your surf vacation!

Helicopter flights are subject to weather delays, sometimes lasting several days.  We allow contingency days to accommodate delays, but it is strongly advised that you allow for a delay of up to one week should lengthy delays occur.

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

Inclusions and Exclusions

Included in the Carstensz Pyramid Expedition Fee:

• Unlimited pre-trip access to our office resources

• US trained, Mountain Trip guide(s)

• Airport transfers in Bali and Papua

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

• Welcome dinner in Bali

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

• Scheduled flights for the team between Bali and Papua

• Scheduled helicopter flights in Papua

• Permits for climb and travel in Papua

• 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 Carstensz Pyramid Trip Fee:

• Flights to and from Bali

• Indonesian Visa

• 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

• Additional helicopter expenses due to weather (Return to base) or early departure. This is if the helicopter is part way to basecamp and cannot make it in and we incur additional flight time. We will do our best to use the helicopter when we are confident the flight can proceed all the way to/from basecamp.

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 expeditions include a non-refundable $1500 administration fee (we highly recommend that you consider Trip Cancellation Insurance to protect the administration fee, if not the entire cost of your climb).

• 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 Meeting Day will be refunded in full, less the administration fee.

• If you cancel 120-90 days before your 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.

• No refunds will be given for unused hotel bookings due to schedule changes, late arrivals, etc.

• Mountain Trip reserves the right to cancel an expedition prior to the departure date for any reason. In the event that the expedition is cancelled based solely on an internal administrative decision by Mountain Trip (Internal Cancellation), all monies, except for nonrefundable administrative fees, collected by Mountain Trip from team members for the canceled expedition shall be refunded within 30 days. That is the extent of our financial liability for such cancellations. This Internal Cancellation provision shall not apply when external factors that force Mountain Trip to cancel an expedition against its will, including, but not limited to, international political upheaval, terrorism, drought/famine, epidemics/pandemics, and/or cancellations imposed by foreign or domestic governments or permitting agencies (External Cancellation). All External Cancellations shall not be subject to a refund unless such cancellation occurs prior to the deadlines set forth in the Refund and Cancellation policies, above.

The following applies only if all expedition fees are paid by the date they are due:

If Mountain Trip cancels your expedition due to External Cancellation factors resulting from coronavirus more than 90 days prior to the Team Meeting date, Mountain Trip will credit 100% of your paid expedition fees toward a future program with Mountain Trip or refund all monies paid except for the non-refundable administrative fee.

If Mountain Trip cancels your expedition due to External Cancellation factors resulting from coronavirus 90 days or less prior to the Team Meeting date, Mountain Trip will credit 75% of your paid expedition fees toward a future program with Mountain Trip or refund 50% of your expedition fee.

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

When registering for a Carstensz Pyramid 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 as much as one week of extra time built into your itinerary for delays.

Transportation to and from your destination

We will designate a specific Team Meeting Day for your Carstensz Pyramid 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.

Responsibilities of Carstensz Pyramid 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.

No Guaranteed Outcomes

While it is one of our goals to help every climber on every Mountain Trip expedition reach the summit, Mountain Trip cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit.  Any number of factors, including weather, the conditions encountered on the route, your personal level of fitness or ability, the abilities of your team mate(s) or any number of other circumstances might result in you and/or your team turning around before reaching the summit.  Failure to reach the summit due to any reason associated with mountaineering, such as weather, team dynamics, route conditions, your health or the health of a member of the team, avalanche hazard, rockfall hazard, etc, due to political or logistical problems, or due to your lack of fitness or preparation are not the responsibility of Mountain Trip and will not result in a refund or a rescheduling of your expedition.

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 Carstensz Pyramid. 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.

Print Equipment


GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Climbing Boots – CarstenszCarstensz requires good waterproof climbing 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.
Camp ShoesA pair of light trail running shoes, "Crocs", or even just some flip flops are nice to wear around camp when you take your boots off.
Socks – CarstenszA couple of pairs of good wool trekking/climbing socks. Try a couple of different weights of socks as they will affect the fit of the boot.

Torso Layers

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Base Layer Top(1 or 2 sets) of Wool or Capilene light weight base layers. Long sleeve or short sleeve base layers work well.
Light Fleece HoodyLight/mid weight fleece (or wool) top with a hood. You will wear this over your light weight base layer.
Puffy Light Insulated JacketSize this layer to fit over your light fleece hoody and wind shell, and it is often layered underneath your expedition parka. Synthetic is easier to deal with and not worry about getting compared to a down filled layer. A hood on this layer in mandatory! *** Guides Tip! Use TWO lightweight puffy layers in the early season or if you are worried about being cold. A Micro or Nano Puff jacket with a Ultra Light Down Jacket or Vest allows versatile layering options.
Hard Shell JacketThis jacket should be large enough to go over your light puffy jacket layer. You do not need the burliest/heaviest Gore-Tex jacket you can find, and we prefer the lightest weight versions.
Soft Shell Wind JacketMany high alpine peaks are cold and dry. We are huge fans of very lightweight softshell wind jackets for high, dry, cold peaks. Weighing just a few ounces, these can be carried in your pocket or in the lid of your pack for rapid deployment. This layer is used in addition to your more waterproof hard shell jacket.
T ShirtSynthetic or lightweight Merino wool shirts can be a nice "extra" piece in the mountains and even on glaciers. Consider this optional. Synthetics dry faster than cotton!
Vest (optional)A lightweight down or synthetic filled vest can be a nice addition and add some warmth with little weight. **This is an optional layer**

Leg Layers

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Base Layer Bottoms(1 or 2 sets) of Wool or Capilene light weight base layers.
Light Fleece BottomsAs the air thins and the wind picks up, you'll want a bit more insulation on your legs. This should be a slightly warmer layer that can go over your base layer bottoms when it gets cold.
Soft Shell PantsSoft Shell pants are the workhorse in the mountains and you'll be wearing these day in and day out on most expeditions. On peaks like Denali and Aconcagua, you can wear them in lieu of your hard shell pants for much of the expedition.
Hard Shell, Waterproof PantsWhen it's raining a soft shell pant just isn't enough and you'll need a waterproof "hard shell" pant, meaning Gore-Tex or equivalent. These should be as light weight as possible. Fully separating side zippers will help you get them on without taking off your boots. 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.

Head and Hands

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
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.
Medium Weight GlovesA mid-weight glove will generally be a softshell type glove with some light synthetic insulation.
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.
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.
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 BUFF for good sun protection or go for a wide brimmed version to protect your face, ears and neck.
Glacier GlassesGood, dark (Category 4) glacier glasses are a must for high altitude climbs. They must have side protection and filter 100% UVA and UVB rays.
Nose GuardBeko makes nice nose protectors that keep the wind and sun from wreaking havoc on your skin.

Sleeping Gear

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Inflatable Sleeping PadInflatable pads have improved tremendously in recent years, they are the foundation of a warm and comfortable night!
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.
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.
Compression Stuff SackGranite Gear, Outdoor Research and others are all making nice, lightweight compression sacks. These are essential for sleeping bags and recommended for your summit clothes, such as your parka, mitts and warmest pants, so you might consider bringing two.

Climbing Gear

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
AscenderYou need one full-sized ascender such as the Petzl Ascension to clip into the fixed lines on the route, and to use for crevasse rescue applications.
Alpine 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.
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.
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.
Climbing HelmetMake certain it fits over your warmest hat and under the hood of your shell. The super-lightweight foam helmets are great, but can get crushed in your duffel bags during travel, so protect your lid!
Trekking Poles(Lightweight)Trekking poles can be helpful for long days on the trail and help take some strain off of aching joints going downhill! These are typically lighter weight than a ski pole, and have a smaller basket as you don't use them in deep snow.
Double Length Runner (48″)Double Length (48") runner. Nylon runners are pretty versatile and utilitarian. For glacier trips they can be used as a chest harness. For technical climbs (Carstensz Pyramid, rock climbing trips in Colorado) please bring 2.
Belay/Rappel DeviceA plaquette style belay/rappel device.
Figure 8 Style Belay/Rappel DeviceFor rappelling on fixed ropes, which can be thick and potentially iced, a Figure 8 style belay device works best.


GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Stuff SacksWe are fans of the very light stiff sacks made from Sil Nylon fabric. Bring enough for your clothes and personal items. Light, zippered stuff bags are really nice for toiletries.
Two (2) One-Liter Water BottlesYou will need two, 1-liter plastic water bottles. Please bring wide-mouth bottles, such as those from Nalgene, as these are much easier to fill than bottles with small openings.
Large Plastic BowlBowls are much easier to use and are much more versatile than are plates. Bring a 2-4 cup camping bowl or a plastic "Rubbermaid" style container for your mountain dining.
Insulated Cup or MugA 12 - 16 ounce (350-500 Ml) mug with an attached lid will help keep you hydrated. The Kleen Kanteen Insulated Bottle with the "Cafe Cap" is pretty nifty, as it is a mug and a thermos all in one!
Lexan SpoonA soup spoon made from Lexan will survive most trips and is more useful and versatile than a fork or even a "spork." Mark your spoon with your initials to keep spoon rustlers at bay.
Lip Balm (2 tubes)Protect your lips! Bring two tubes of high quality lip balm with SPF.
Personal Medical KitMountain Trip's guides will have fairly comprehensive medical kits developed by our Medical Director, but we encourage each climber to bring a small, personal kit. Items to consider bringing include: blister treatment and prevention, pain relievers, and antacids. Presctiption medications should be based on consultation with your personal physician. Suggested drugs for altitude expeditions include: Diamox (acetazolomide) 125 mg, Decadron (dexamthazone) 4 mg, Nifedipine XR 30 mg, and a couple of antibiotics for respiratory and gastrointestinal issues.
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. An expedition can be a good time to catch up on reading!
CameraMost climbers these days use their phone as a camera, but if you plan to bring a dedicated camera, consider a small, light weight point and shoot camera. If you are a photography buff and really want to bring a DSLR, plan for that extra weight with your training!
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.
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.
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!
Satellite Tracking/Texting DeviceSatellite linked devices such as the Garmin inReach have been increasingly popular, as you can send and receive text messages with it. Again- consider how you will keep it powered over the course of your expedition. These new devices will allow you to send and receive text messages nearly anywhere in the world! It is a fun way to keep in touch with the family and let them follow along on your journey. They are not required, and Mountain Trip guides carry several forms of communication devices including satellite based communications that we can use in case of an emergency situation.
Several Good Jokes!"A Moose walks into a bar..."
SunscreenThe sun can be intense at altitude. Bring one small tube for use while climbing and one larger tube for use while not on route.
HeadlampBring an extra set of batteries, as well. Lithium batteries work the best in cold weather!! For some trips (Carstensz, Everest, Cho Oyu) where we will be frequently climbing at night a second headlamp is a good idea, and always bring extra batteries!
Solar Panel/Battery *optionalIf you are planning to charge your iPhone, inReach, or other electronics on the expedition you will need a good, small solar panel. We recommend using the panel to charge a battery and then charging your devices from the battery. This is definitely some extra weight, so keep it light and maybe share a panel and battery with your tentmate!
Camp TowelA small microfiber, quick dry, hand towel to use in camp.
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