- A journey to one of the most unspoilt, original regions on earth.
- We'll meet people whose way of living is completely different, like in ancient times.
- We'll climb the highest mountain of Oceania and discover the amazing landscape of Indonesia.
- An expedition which combines a unique mountain experience with exceptional experiences of nature.
- The hike to and from the mountain is just as much part of the experience. Whether it is done via Illaga or Sugapa, it is always an interesting challenge for the participants.
- Part of the travel package price is used for on-site improvements, such as road maintenance, support of local schools and waste disposal (waste, which to a great part is left behind by porters).
The highest summits of Australia and the Pacific Islands, which together form the continent Oceania, lie in New Guinea. New Guinea may look like an insignificant speck on the map, but it is in fact the second largest island on earth. It's highest, snow-capped peak is the Carstensz Pyramid, which was discovered by the Dutch explorer Jan Carstensz in the 17th century.
The Carstensz Pyramid (in Indonesian “Puncak Jaya”, which means peak of glory), with its height of 4,884 m, is the highest mountain of Oceania. This makes it not only the highest mountain between the Himalayas and the Andes, but also one of the famous “Seven Summits”, the highest mountains on each of the seven continents.
The first ascent was accomplished on February 13 in 1962 via the north face by Heinrich Harrer, Philip Temple, Russel Kippax and Albert Huizenga, who were assisted by 100 carriers.
Although Puncak Jaya is one of the lowest of the seven summits, from a technical viewpoint, it is among the most difficult ones to ascent. The climbing difficulty, up to grade V, is much higher than the climbing difficulty at Everest or Denali (Mt. McKinley). On the other hand, we don't encounter the same high altitudes and extreme temperatures which make Denali and Everest still a greater challenge.
What's exceptional about this journey is the 5-day trekking through the lush jungle and wet marshland. There are many steep, slippery slopes to climb, often in persistent rain. Around the summit, clouds start gathering early in the afternoon. Clear days with view onto the faraway Arafura lake are rare. The famous Colijn Expedition had to retreat due to thick fog, snowstorms and thunder.
At the Grasberg mine, which was discovered in 1936 by Dozy during the Colijn expedition, the yearly rainfall is 4,000-5,000 mm. The mine is both the largest gold mine in the world and the copper mine with the lowest mining costs. It is also at the same time the source of wealth and the source of extensive damage to the environment of West-Papua and Indonesia.
Choosing to summit the Carstensz Pyramide means that you will enter another world and another time – a truly exotic expedition!
Day 1: Flight to Indonesia
Day 2: Arrival in Denpasar/Bali
Transfer to a hotel near the airport. Bali is well worth a visit, not least because of its charming atmosphere, sunny weather and sandy beaches. We'll enjoy the place and explore some of its many sights. Overnight stay at a hotel.
Day 3: Shortly after midnight flight to Timika/Papua with Garuda Indonesia
A 3-hour flight will bring us to Timika, a small but nevertheless important city. It is the supply point of the Grasberg Mine. This makes it the workplace of many people, which is why Garuda Indonesia offer direct flights to Timika. Here, we'll make last preparations for the expedition. Overnight stay at a hotel.
Trekking route to the mountain
Which route we'll take to the mountain depends on the political situation, so this decision will be made shortly before the departure. Until 2010, Kobler & Partner used to organise the journey in via Illaga; in 2011, however, this route was closed due to political reasons. Overnight stay in tents.
Hike via Illaga:
Day 4: Illaga Valley (2450m)–Pinapa (2380m)
In the morning, we'll be transferred to the airport. A 40-minute charter flight aboard a Twin Otter will bring us to Amangaro (2450m) in the Illaga Valley. We'll visit the police station and meet the head policeman of the valley, before leaving for the village Pinapa (2380m) after lunch. After 1.5 hours, we'll set up camp for the first time.
Day 5: Pinapa (2380m)–Vale (3300m)
Before we enter the jungle, our porters will be recruited. This is always an interesting experience.
We'll start very early, for a long, strenuous day lies ahead of us. Our camp for the night will be above the jungle in a vale sparsely covered with trees (3300m). Hiking time: 6-7 hrs.
Day 6: Vale (3300m)–River Valley (3400m)
Today, we'll trek through open countryside with constant ascents and descents, at an altitude of 3400m-3700m. On this stretch, we'll have to cross several rivers and streams. Tonight, we'll set up camp in a beautiful river valley with fern trees (3400m). Hiking time: 5-6 hrs.
Day 7: River Valley (3400m)–High Plateau
After a quick ascend of 150 metres in altitude, today’s route will lead us over a huge plateau, to an old, gorgeous forest area, which we should reach in the afternoon. From our camp site, we'll be able to enjoy the view onto the Pyramid region. Hiking time: 5-6 hrs.
Day 8: High Plateau–Nasidome (3734m)
Our hike leads over the beautiful high marshland, which seems almost mystical with its many lakes and rivers. In case of high waters, things can get tricky here. Just before reaching our camp site, we'll wade through the “Larson Drainage”, a large meadow area covered just slightly in water. We'll set up camp above the Latolampege caves, just at the foot of the Larson barrier. Hiking time: 5-6 hrs.
Day 9: Nasidome (3734m)–New Zealand pass (4500m)–Base camp (4273m)
Today, we'll cross the New Zealand pass at 4500m. We'll have to find the shortest way to base camp through the impressive mountain landscape. If the weather and route conditions are good, we should reach the “Yellow Valley” in the afternoon and set up our base camp at 4050m. This will be the starting point for all our tours. Hiking time: 6-7 hrs.
Hike via Sugapa:
Day 4: Flight Timika (80m)–Sugapa (2244m)–Suanggama (2018m)
We'll fly across the seemingly impenetrable Papuan rainforest, which gives us the change to inspect it from above and take in its vastness – we'll explore it on foot soon enough! Upon landing on the bumpy runway, we are sure to be greeted by many curious spectators. We'll continue as soon as possible, on the back seat of a motorcycle. During the first stretch up to the bridge, which 2011 was still in construction, we might well be stopped by local landowners demanding payment for crossing their land. After some discussing and besoothing, however, we should be able to continue on our way. The end of our adventurous drive is our camp in Suanggama. Flight time: 1h; driving time: 1 h.
Day 5: Suanggama (2018m)–Salt Factory camp (2380m)
From Suanggama, the last village, we'll descend down to the river. More or less following the course of the river, we are at times high above it, at times very close to it. We'll pass a house (Salt Factory) at a small bridge, from where on we'll continue for another 2 hours to our camp site in the middle of the jungle. Chances for rain are very high, after all, we are in the deepest rainforest. Thus, good preparation and planning at Suanggama are very important. Ascent: 970 m/ descent: 660 m; distance: 15.50 km; hiking time: 6-8 hrs.
Day 6: Salt Factory camp (2380m)–Indisaga camp (3230m)
This will be the most strenuous of all our trekking days! Our path still leads through the rainforest, sometimes over, sometimes under the large rootes, around mud parches, then again straight through the next one – a proper jungle! Swinging through it on vines might be less exhausting... After the Salt Factory camp, our path first ascends steeply, the goes up, down and steeply up again, until we reach a small camp (Blind's camp). Though it may seem as if the Indisaga camp were closeby as well, that's sadly not true! We'll be climbing through the steep rainforest for another 2-3 hours. At 3200m, just shortly before our camp, the rainforest suddenly ends. A large clearing follows, which is where we'll set up our camp. Ascent: 1115 m/ descent: 275 m; distance: 17.00 km; hiking time: 8-10 hrs.
Day 7: Indisaga camp (3230m)–Ebay camp (3584 m)
The first hour of our trek will lead through light, open forest to the next plane and finally up to the ridge, which separates the first valley from “our” valley, where part of our route will lead through. Following the ridge for 2-3 hours, we'll reach our penultimate camp after a short descent. Ascent: 760m/ descent: 420m; distance: 11.01km; hiking time: 6-7 hrs.
Day 8: Ebay camp (3584m)–Nasidome (3734m)
We'll descend into the beautiful valley. The wild landscape here will take us back millions of years, to a time when ancient beasts roamed the vast forests... Reaching the riverbank, we'll cross the river on a natural stone bridge. On top of the next ridge, we'll meet up with the other route option (via Illaga). We'll wade through swampland and shortly reach the last camp before base camp and the New Zealand pass. Ascent: 780m/ descent: 630m; distance: 13.00km; hiking time: 6-7 hrs.
Day 9: Nasidome (3734m)–New Zealand pass–Base Camp (4273m)
The most difficult part of this section is the New Zealand pass (you could use the plural form here, since it is actually several passes following each other). There's a 50 metre long climbing passage which may be quite difficult on a rainy day. Once we'll have mastered it, we'll descend to the base camp at the foot of the Carstensz Pyramid. Ascent: 920m/ descent: 350m; distance: 8.64km; hiking time: 6-7 hrs.
Day 10-11: Ascent of the Carstensz Pyramid (4884m)
Starting early in the morning, we set off to our destination: the Carstensz Pyramid. We'll cross a small pass to reach the entrance point to the highest mountain of Oceania. Straight from the beginning, we'll hook our jumars into the fixed rope – and off we go! We'll have to be alert from the very start, for there are many loose rocks lying around; kicking one of them off can have severe consequences. We will discuss the ascent route in more detail at the information meeting in Bern. To date, Kobler & Partner could guide dozens of people to the summit of this mountain. Given that rain and snowfall can occur towards midday, the exact programme of the day will be set on site. Summiting the Carstensz Pyramid via the West Ridge (UIAA III-IV) requires confident climbing skills and endurance.
The route of the first ascent (original route from 1962) follows the path of least resistance via the right part of the North Face. Cracks and slabs alternating with scree lead to the first ridge. Once at the sandy foot of the rock face, a steep slab (75°) has to be mastered, which leads to a slightly flatter stretch with occasional short upswings. About halfway up, a scree basin follows, which leads through scree-filled gullies to the West Ridge, whose difficulty is graded III to IV on the UIAA scale, though large parts of it are easier. At the West Ridge, you follow the obvious line at the right side to the top of the ridge. The next section of the ridge shows several splits and gaps. The first and largest gap is crossed hanging from a fixed rope – a technique which, though it needs some getting used to, is very efficient and quick. What follows is the “Yellow Tower,” which can be passed over easy terrain on the right side. The next small gap isn't too difficult to pass, provided you've got some flexibility and manage to cross it with a large spread step. After another short stretch on the wide ridge, you have to cross another gap, this time descending slightly and crossing a large chockstone to then, stepping wide, reach the other side. The upcoming gendarme is first climbed via a slab on the right side but then passed on the left side. Now, the summit is almost in reach; the terrain is getting easier and flatter, though there is a bit more scree. If you're lucky enough to reach the summit before the daily rain showers, an amazing view down, reaching from the glacier remains to the 4000 metres lower rain forests, awaits you, while straight across, the glaciated summit of the Ngga Pulu is visible. The descent follows soon: Speed is key here, for the rain washes scree in and out of the gutters, and the small water falls combined with almost sub-zero temperature can quickly lead to hypothermia. Following the known route, the descent to base camp happens in a combination of climbing down and abseiling.
Day 12–15: Hike back from base camp–Illaga or Supaga
We will take the same way as on the walk in. Knowing it already, we should be quicker on the journey back so that we can save one day.
Day 16: Flight Illaga or Sugapa–Timika–Denpasar
Today, we'll fly via Timika back to Bali. We'll be brought to our hotel, where we can relax, drinking a toast to our hard but wonderful travel. Overnight stay at a hotel.
Day 17: Planning a spare day is most important so that we have the capacity to compensate for unforeseeable events.
Day 18: Flight back
We'll enjoy a few last hours in Bali in the morning before leaving for the airport in the late afternoon.
Day 19: Arrival
Bali is famous for its beaches. Should you like to extend your holiday after the expedition to the Carstensz Pyramid, please note so in your booking. We are happy to organise a few leisure days for you on the isle of Bali.
Needless to say, this is a quite unique travel. We are proud to be one of the few agencies worldwide who offer the summiting of the Seven Summits! The programme at hand is to be taken as the “ideal case.” Of course, we will strive to follow it and execute the travel as ideally as possible.
Note: Many aspects make this expedition difficult to organise. It cannot be compared to the other expeditions that Kobler & Partner offer.
- International flights, incl. airport taxes
- Domestic flight Denpasar–Timika–Denpasar
- Glight baggage (for allowance see K&P handbook)
- All transfers, trips by bus and jeep
- Organisation of the entire expedition
- Tips on behalf of Kobler & Partner (for individual tips see K&P handbook)
- Summit fees
- Full-board during the entire expedition (for individual snacks see K&P handbook)
- Hotel accommodation in twin rooms (see travel programme)
- 1 tent per 2 participants on the walk-in and at base camp
- Mountain ropes
- Satellite phone, call charges excluded
- Porters to base camp and back
- Pharmacy with a pulse oximeter
- Kitchen: cook and kitchen assistants
- Certified mountain guide
- Insurance (see "insurance")
- Visa for Indonesia (see "travel documents")
- Personal medication (see K&P handbook)
- Additional costs arising due to changes in the programme
Arrival/departure luggage (clothes for travelling to Bali, mobile phone, etc.) can be left in the hotel in Bali.
Individual trekking luggage will be carried by the participants themselves; this includes the private equipment for the walk-in to the base camp (backpack, change of clothes, warm jacket and water bottle).
Each participant may give a maximum of 16 kg to the native porter crew, the rest will have to be carried by the participants themselves.
The information meeting in Bern is essential, as much additional information will be given orally on that day.