Climbing Carstensz Pyramid

With more than double the height of Kosciusko, and the highest peak in all Oceania, Carstensz Pyramid because the true summit of the continent. While the vast majority of climbers agree with this choice, there are still a few who like to argue. Some dislike the idea of the Pacific islands being part of a continent and hold on to Mt. Kosciusko as the true summit. A ridiculous few even accept the island of New Guinea to be part of Oceania, but they believe that since the western half is politically occupied by Indonesia, Carstensz is therefore in Asia. Those select few conclude that Mt. Wilhelm in the eastern side of the island is the true summit of Oceania.

In my opinion, Carstensz Pyramid is the obvious choice as the summit of Oceania for the following reasons. Geographically the island of New Guinea is located on the Indo-Australian plate, which makes its location in the continent unquestionable. Taking it a step further, the land is culturally native not to Asians but to Papuans who are descendants of aborigines from Australia. The final argument about the western half of New Guinea being part of Indonesia can be solved easily with a few examples.

Indonesia has only occupied western Papua, as they call it, since the 1960s. Indonesia’s presence here is relatively new, especially when you consider that Carstensz Pyramid has existed for millions of years. Using this ridiculous logic though, Carstensz Pyramid would have been the highest mountain in Europe prior to 1960 since the Dutch controlled western Papua, and the Netherlands is a European country. Even if you did agree political boundaries, the locals do not consider themselves Indonesians and instead Papuans. Only days before my trip, several tribes banded together and once again declared independence from Indonesia. This resulted in martial law and nearly caused my entire trip to be canceled. Each to his own of course, but I personally feel anyway you look at the matter they all point to Carstensz being the true summit of Oceania, and with that in mind, I set off one October to attempt what would be my fifth of my Seven summits.


Click here to see my trek through the Villages
Carstensz Pyramid Carstensz Pyramid
For those that do the real climb, you’ll begin in one of the villages dozens of miles from the mountain itself. My  adventure began in the village of Sugapa, where we were went through nearly a dozen road blocks and were forced to pick up local porters to join our expedition. This interesting cultural experience was the last stop before entering the untamed lands of Carstensz Pyramid.

The Rainforests

Click here to see my trek through the Rainforests
Carstensz Pyramid Carstensz Pyramid
The rainforests of West Papua are some of the wettest places on earth. It was rare to have a day without heavy rain which created deep mud and misery in the already difficult terrain.

The Highlands

Click here to see my trek through the Highlands
Carstensz Pyramid Carstensz Pyramid
The highlands bring just as much mud and rain but with colder temperatures. The terrain is a bit flatter with less vegetation to obstruct your views of the interesting landscape. At this point in the trek you’ll trek higher than the top of Mt. Rainier.

The Summit

Click here to see my summit of Carstensz Pyramid
Carstensz Pyramid Carstensz Pyramid
The final push to the summit! Beginning very early into the morning, the near vertical climb up Carstensz Pyramid to the summit begins. The climb includes jamaring up walls, lots of scrambling, and even a Tyrolean traverse!

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