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Carstensz Expeditions and News Index

Is Carstensz open legally with a new way?

Is Carstensz open legally with a new way? Update 02/3/2005

11/18 No Sir, Carstensz Pyramid still closed

There has been another major bomb blast in Jakarta Indonesia

Carstensz Pyramid Expedition 2004 (note a Jakarta based climber)

If going to Carstensz  one should know a few expeditions are being run apparently without legal permits. These expeditions appear to be running into trouble. We suggest anyone even considering going to Carstensz to read the article in the Washington Post, "I Went to Indonesia, And Ran Into a Mountain of Trouble" By Francis Slakey posted Sunday, December 7, 2003; Page B05. This articles ran in all the major news wires around the world. The articles is hard to find on the Washington post online, however can be found in archives.

There are some links to the article. You might need to page down to see the article.


Kabar-Irian] Irian News - 12/5-8/03 (Part 1 of 2)
... to Indonesia, And Ran Into a Mountain of Trouble By Francis Slakey In August ... Only
Carstensz Pyramid -- the highest peak in Australasia -- remained, and it was ...
iiasnt.leidenuniv.nl:8080/DR/2003/12/DR_2003_12_09/4 - 49k

Daily Report 2003/12/09
... to Indonesia, And Ran Into a Mountain of Trouble By Francis Slakey In August ... Only
Carstensz Pyramid -- the highest peak in Australasia -- remained, and it was ...
iiasnt.leidenuniv.nl:8080/DR/2003/ 12/DR_2003_12_09/OneFile - 101k

washingtonpost.com: Outlook (this link does not always work)
... to Indonesia, And Ran Into a Mountain of Trouble By Francis Slakey, Page B05 ... Only
Carstensz Pyramid -- the highest peak in Australasia -- remained, and it was ...

Carstensz Picture show

 Summit day on Carstensz Byron Smith  

If we attempt to define exotic, then we may begin with Irian Jaya. For in the lush jungles of the Beliem Valley we meet the Dani tribesman, our guides and friends, who were first introduced to westerners in 1960's. This is perhaps the most interesting climb Alpine Ascents offers weaving a deeply influencing cultural experience with a challenging rock climb.  
Located 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.

Unlike 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!


Irian 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.

Politically, 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.

In 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.
Irian 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 island.

ABOUT 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.

The 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 wet weather.

The 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.

In the highland areas, daytime temperatures should range between 75 and 85F, with most evenings about 45F. 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 60F with sunshine occasionally in the mornings, then rainfall in the afternoons and evenings. Winds are variable and can be strong.

With all climbing of this type, the climbing is high risk with death possible.

The Millennium 2000 Seven Summit Expedition: Time for Carstensz



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