Hello Everyone, We are enjoying our second night here in Timika and are experiencing why any expedition to Carstensz Pyramid can be challenging.
The violence associated with the mine strike has escalated since we have been here and there is a lot going on that has affected our trip. Today we received news that the local airport is now under control of the striking miners, however; they are still allowing people in and out. Three more people were killed two days ago in one of the more violent encounters between striking miners and police.
In another consequence of the strike, there is currently little to no fuel available for planes. We are staying our secure hotel most of the time, which is away from town and quite well protected. We are officially in “Plan B” mode and have planned a route to give us a good shot at reaching the mountain, that will not require us to try to pass through Timika. Our plan will require an amazing string of logistics and for many things to line up perfectly in order to see us to the mountain.
We plan to fly to a small village at the edge of the jungle called Sugapa. From there we will spend a night acclimatizing, then shuttle into Base Camp via four flights in an Agusta Helicopter. The only way to make that happen involves bringing in a chartered Cessna Caravan with 5- 50 gal fuel drums on board to meet us at yet another remote strip. We plan to fly in a Pilatus Porter airplane tomorrow to Sugapa, so we will be out of touch for awhile except via our satellite phones. We plan to call in reports each day of the journey up Carstensz. Enjoy and stay tuned!
Scott Woolums reporting from Timika, Indonesia