in the western central highlands, Carstensz
Pyramid is the highest mountain on the Oceanic
continent. We arrive by charter flight where
local Dani porters welcome us into their
villages and lead us through their exquisite
countryside. After crossing this wild terrain we
encounter Carstensz in very much the same way as
the first Dutch explorers. As Irian Jaya has had
relatively little western influence, the 'stone
age' Dani lifestyle and rituals have been able
to continue in a somewhat authentic manner. One
representation of traditional culture is
manifested in their dress as women are clothed
in grass skirts and men in holims or penis
gourds. Tourism has not arrived in many of these
areas and thus we are extremely sensitive and
careful regarding our impact on the region.
the other seven summits Carstensz is a rock
climb of moderate difficulty. (5.8m for short
steps but most of the climbing is scrambling).
While all short technical sections will have
fixed lines, climbers should possess basic rock
climbing skills. Our past expeditions proved to
be fantastic all-around experiences and each
climb culminated with 100% summit success!
OF IRIAN JAYA
Jaya occupies the western half of New Guinea.
This island is located immediately south of the
equator, and is the world's second largest
island, following Greenland. Irian Jaya's
climate is primarily a function of topography.
The low lying north and south sides of the
island possess great tropical jungles, while the
mountain ranges exhibit very temperate weather
conditions. The mountains run east to west and
rise to 16,023ft (4,884m) at Carstensz Pyramid.
Irian Jaya is the easternmost province of
Indonesia. The area was initially claimed
by the Dutch in the mid-1800's as part of
their Spice Island empire, but by 1940
they had still not explored further inland
than the coastal plains. The Dutch wanted
to prepare Irian Jaya for self-government
by 1970, but from the late 1950's the
Indonesians were exerting pressure to
annex the area and, with help from the UN,
this was accomplished in 1963. This
process was not universally accepted by
native Papuans and discontent still
prevails in certain areas.
1961, the Harvard Peabody Museum sponsored a
major expedition to the Grand A Valley to
document the Dani's "stone age" culture (Peter
Matthiessen's Under the Mountain Wall). Wamena,
the site of the valley's airstrip, has grown
into a small town, but in general, the only big
changes since then are that tribal fighting and
cannibalism have ended.
Beyond the Grand Valley of the Baliem River,
there are many other groups living in smaller
valleys. These people were not contacted, by the
west, until the 1960's and 1970's, when
missionaries began penetrating these remote
regions. In the highlands to the east of the
Baliem River, the Yali, Mek, and Kim-Yal people
comprise some of the other large tribal groups.
They live in spectacular mountain country and
exhibit their own unique cultural lifestyles and
dress, wearing various selections of rattan
waist hoops and penis gourds.
Jaya provides a panoply of Old World
tropical species. This is due to the land
bridge linking both Australia and New Guinea
during the last ice age. We will encounter
an exceptional diversity of flora with
nearly 90% of its species endemic to the
CARSTENSZ PYRAMID: At 16,023ft (4,884 m),
Carstensz Pyramid, or Puncak Jaya ("Victory
Peak") as the Indonesians call it, is
located in the western central highlands and is
the highest peak in Oceana, Australiasia
continent. The mountain was named after Jan
Carstensz, a Dutch explorer who was the first
European to sight the peak. In 1962, Heinrich
Harrer became the first foreigner to reach the
peak. His book, I Come from the Stone Age,
provides excellent reading about climbing
Carstensz and other peaks in the area as well as
his experiences while living with the Dani.
route on Carstensz Pyramid follows a series of
gullies up the north face for 500m of solid rock
before breaking out on the ridge. Riddled with
notches, the summit ridge undulates for half a
kilometer from this point to the top. One of the
gaps is 20m deep, and you will rappel this
overhanging pitch and leave a rope fixed to
jumar on our return. On the descent you will
rappel short distances and down-climb most of
the way. The rock is extremely good, rarely
loose, and always provides good friction even in
rock climbing difficulty on Carstensz is up to
5.8 for short steps, but most of the climbing is
scrambling. It is important that you have basic
rock climbing skills and are comfortable with
rappelling and jumaring. Short technical
sections will need fixed lines allowing you to
either free climb or jumar. These fixed lines
have been a crucial part you success rate.
the highland areas, daytime temperatures should
range between 75° and 85°F, with most evenings
about 45°F. Expect warm afternoon showers which
may turn cool if encountered on a mountain pass.
Closer to Carstensz, snow or inclement weather
may occur. Temperatures can range from 28° to
60°F with sunshine occasionally in the
mornings, then rainfall in the afternoons and
evenings. Winds are variable and can be strong.
all climbing of this type, the climbing is high
risk with death possible.