Carstensz Pyramid with International Mountain Guides
Dear Prospective Team Members,
With our two successful 2013 Carstensz expeditions, we have now conducted six 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 2014 Carstensz program to combine the best of both flying and trekking. Under the leadership of IMG senior guide Dan Zokaites, a veteran of multiple Carstensz trips, 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 on the Plateau, we will make a one day approach over New Zealand Pass with porter support to the site of Carstensz BC in the Lakes Valley. After the climb, we spend the night at BC, then return to Plateau Camp where members will be able to fly out by helicopter.
Some members (who have distinguished themselves on the climb as being strong and resilient) can continue the four day trek out to Sugapa, a very rugged trip only suited to very strong climbers. With our local porters supporting us, we will traverse thick forest, a high limestone karst plateau, and rocky passes, with many stream crossings in between. This is a trip for very fit and strong climbers who are capable of strenuous hiking day after day, in very challenging terrain.
I personally climbed Carstensz and really enjoyed the ascent very much. It was a long hard day 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!
For 2014 we feel that our "Hybrid Climb" combines the best of the classic trek and the helicopter option. Please let us know how we can be of further assistance!