Carstensz Pyramid with International Mountain Guides
Dear Prospective Team Members,
With another successful climb in 2014, we have now conducted seven successful Carstensz trips, via four different routes (from the mine, via helicopter, via Ilaga trek and via the Sugapa trek approach).
Now that we finally have a reasonable helicopter option again using a Bell 212, we have changed our 2015 Carstensz program to combine the best of both flying and trekking. Under the leadership of IMG senior guide Jonathan Schrock, a successful Carstensz summiter, we will fly the team to Nasidome on the Plateau north of the Sudirman Range. Unlike Carstensz Base Camp (which at 13,700 feet is too high to reasonably fly people into without the risk of altitude problems) this Plateau Camp is at more reasonable altitude (about 12,200 feet). After acclimatizing two nights on the Plateau, we will make a one day approach over New Zealand Pass to our Base Camp below Mt Carstensz in the Yellow Valley. This is a rugged hike, requiring the "mud boots" that this trip made famous! With our local porters supporting us, we will traverse plateau vegetation, a high limestone karst plateau, and rocky passes, with several stream crossings in between. This is fun hike over challenging terrain. It is just enough trekking to get the "feel" of the Plateau and its fabulous views and plant life, without the danger of the jungle part of the trek with its treacherous river crossings, and the very real threats of porter problems associated with going through the local villages.
After the climb, we spend the night at BC, then fly out by helicopter back to Enarotoli. We used this Hybrid itinerary on our 2014 expedition, and it worked very well will all seven climbers, two IMG guides and our one Indonesian guide all reaching the summit. For 2015 we feel that our Hybrid itinerary combines the best of the classic trek and the helicopter option. Please let us know how we can be of further assistance!
I personally climbed Carstensz, and really enjoyed the ascent very much. It was a long hard day of alpine climbing with a pre-dawn start. You need to be confident moving on moderate (3rd, 4th and easy 5th class) rock terrain, on fixed ropes, rappelling, clipping in and out of anchors, etc. Up on the summit ridge we traversed several precipitous notches (that we could jump across with a belay). These days the biggest notch is now fixed with a cable Tyrolean Traverse so that is easier than having to rappel into the notch and climb back up the other side. It is not unusual to get rained on, and during our descent from the top we rappelled into several small waterfalls and got totally soaked. What an adventure!