Mount Carstensz Pyramid goes on record as one of the hardest summits to conquer in the world.
This mountain is known by several names, being the second most popular Puncak Jaya. This is Conquering The Indonesian Summit.
Mt Carstensz Facts
Located in West Papua in Indonesia, the Carstensz Pyramid is 4,884 meters (16023 feet) above sea level and is the highest peak in Indonesia. The mountain records a success climbing rate of 100% and, despite all the difficulties involved, this encourage mountaineers to attempt the Puncak Jaya summit at least once in their life.
The Mountain weather is generally stable around the year, although there is bad weather sometimes, mountaineers can know what to expect almost every time.
At the base of the mountain, the temperature is between 12 Celsius and 37 Celsius (53 to 98 F). By contrast, night temperatures get to as low as -10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) at the summit.
Rain and sometimes snow, can be present for several hours during the day, usually from 2 p.m. Climbers should thus, set out for the climb early in the morning so that they can manage to find shelter when the rain starts.
Climbing Mount Carstensz Pyramid
What makes the Punck Jaya climb difficult is that it is located in an extremely remote area and mountaineers have to trek for 5 days through the jungle to get to the mountain.
Some people opt to take a helicopter ride to Zebra Wall from where they begin the climb. This option will obviously cost you more besides posing the danger of altitude sickness for lack of adequate acclimatization (training is essential; see what mountain climbing training is best for you).
Mountain Permit and Difficulties
Aside from the actual difficulty that the mountain presents, there is a serious of government restrictions. On the other hand, the political instability often affects the usability of the mountain.
Mountaineers require several permits from the police, the army, and government ministries to access the island and additional permits to climb the mountain.
Adding to the complicated regulations imposed by the Indonesian Government to climb the summit, climbers who opt to use a helicopter also need an extra permit for it.
To reduce all the hassle presented, most of the climbers take the easiest way and acquire these permits through services of registered trip organizers. Otherwise, it may take a very long time to acquire the right documentation by yourself.
Climbing Season and Expenses
Fortunate for mountaineers, there is no specific climbing seasons. climbers thinking to attempt this beautiful mountain can give it a go all year round. It costs between $10,000 and $15,000 USD to climb Mount Carstensz Pyramid.
Climbers are advised to plan their trip to the mountain because dates and itineraries often change, especially due to political issues in the region.
Mountain Climbing Routes
There are several climbing routes available for adventures, including the Normal Route (Harrer’s Route), the East Ridge Route and last but not least, the American Direct Route.
Carstensz Normal Route or Harrer’s Route
The Normal Route is being the most widely used. It takes up to 15 hours to ascend and descend on the Harrer’s route, which off course requires an early morning start. It is important to note that this route also includes a bit of rock climbing, so be prepared for this.
Carstensz East Ridge Route
This route is rated as moderately difficult and steeper than the normal route. Climbers on this route have to contend with a lot of lose rocks, a long ascent and narrow sections, making them very complex.
Carstensz American Direct Route
The third route is the American Direct Route, which as its name suggests, provides a direct climb to the summit. However, it is the most difficult route especially as you near the summit, so be aware of this fact before attempting this route. Just remember, it is never late to think twice and reassess your chances, even considering the fact of climbing down and taking a less difficult one, if required.
Between trekking to the base of the mountain and climbing the mountain itself, mountaineers should plan for at least 15 days. Climbers can set camp at the Meren valley to rest and create a plan on how to climb to the summit. There is also a base camp at 4300 meters (14107 feet) to help climbers acclimatize as they head to the peak.
Mount Carstensz Pyramid may be hard to access but the expedition is worth all the trouble you might endure to conquer one of the 7 Summits of the world.