October 20, 2013
Dan Zokaites called to report that the team reached the summit of Mandala, the second highest peak in Indonesia. Their GPS had it at 15,575’ which puts it 47’ higher than Trikora. They started before dawn and had a nice sunrise on the climb up. It took 6.5 hours to reach the summit, and by then the weather was starting to cloud in. Not long after that it was raining hard, and also hailing, right on schedule! Dan said the limestone rock was incredible, with holes and caves everywhere. It was not as technical as Trikora, but nonetheless was quite interesting climbing, with lots of exposed limestone ridges which required them to jump from rock to rock, reminiscent of the terrain above Nasidoma on the way to Carstensz. They have the helicopter scheduled to come back at 7am tomorrow morning for the flight out to Wamena, so the plan is to get up early from the high camp and descend to the LZ in time for the pickup. With any luck, they will be able to fly on to Jayapura tomorrow afternoon.