The Rainbow Summits Project


Carstensz Pyramid

carstensz“After midday, we entered the “Heart of Darkness” The jungle, every bit as geography books described it with long, thin tree trunks reaching up for the sun and, in the gloom below, a tangle of ferns, creepers, and spiky palms. It became apparent that jungle traveling is quite difficult, especially where there was so much rain, making it muddy and swampy in places and difficult to walk through the tangle of creepers.”
—Doug Scott, quoted in Seven Summits: The Quest To Reach The Highest Point on Every Continent, by Steve Bell

Background Information:

Looming above the jungles of Iryan Jaya is Carstensz Pyramid (locally known as Puncak Jaya), the highest peak in Australasia at 4,884m (16,024ft) above sea level. It appears like a giant limestone slab and features hundreds of meters of technical vertical ascent. Though it is glacier-capped, scientists estimate that the mountain’s ice will have completely disappeared by 2015. Of all the Seven Summits, Carstensz is by far the most of an “adventure,” as it has the least technical and logistical support of all of the peaks.

Climbing Information:

By far the most technical of the Seven Summits, Carstensz Pyramid is also one of the most inaccessible. It requires a 5-7 day, 100km (62mi) hike from the nearest town, Timikia, through dense, wet jungle. The traditional route goes up the north face then follows the summit ridge. Only 30-50 climbers attempt Carstensz each year, making it the least climbed of all the Seven Summits.

Fun Facts:

  • When hiking to the mountain, climbers encounter native tribes whose traditional clothing is comprised of a penis gourd and whose first interactions with Westerners were in the 1970s. Many of these tribes were recently (or still are) cannibalistic.
  • There is a large copper and gold mine located at the base of the mountain, but climbers are not allowed to utilize its road to access the mountain.
  • Carstensz Pyramid is the most disputed of the Seven Summits, with the vast majority of Seven Summits climbers (70%) choosing to do the much easier Mt. Kosciusko in Australia instead of Carstensz.

Cason’s Climb:

Cason reached the summit of Carstensz Pyramid with Adventure Indonesia at 7:28am on August 22nd, 2012.

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Day 4: Camp II to Camp III

Date: August 28, 2012 Category: Carstensz

Phew today was hellish. Nine hours of muddy jungle hiking to get to Camp III. The highlight of the morning was a large river crossing on a single tree branch suspended over gushing white water. At one point I thought … Continue reading

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Day 3: Suangama to Camp II

Date: August 28, 2012 Category: Carstensz

Another day of hard jungle trekking down. Today was much more difficult than yesterday. We started at around 9am after a filling breakfast of rice and eggs. We hiked until 3pm with minimal breaks. It was very, very muddy. We … Continue reading

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Day 1: Bali to Timika to Sugapa

Date: August 28, 2012 Category: Carstensz

My mother and I stayed up all night in order to catch our domestic flight from Bali to Timika which left at 2am. The flight was 3 hours long and I slept the whole way. It was surprisingly comfortable as … Continue reading

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Day 2: Sugapa to Suangama

Date: August 28, 2012 Category: Carstensz

We awoke to another large meal of rice and eggs before resorting our gear in advance of the porter weigh in. After finding it sufficiently light (or heavy, depending on one’s perspective–under 17kg), we waited for the final negotiations to … Continue reading

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Carstensz Pyramid: The Uncensored Introduction…

Date: August 9, 2012 Category: Carstensz

Two of the Seven Summits scare me. The first is Denali. Denali frightens me because of the weather—it’s totally out of one’s control and can be incredibly unpredictable. Every year, people die in accidents unrelated to any mistake they have … Continue reading

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One Down, One to Go! (A Kosciusko Summit…)

Date: August 9, 2012 Category: Carstensz

So yesterday I summited Mt. Kosciusko (locally known as Kozzie). After waiting in the small ski resort village of Thredbo for two days, the weather finally cleared up and I snowshoed the 14km hike up to the summit of Kozzie … Continue reading

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An Intro: Mt. Kosciusko vs. Carstensz Pyramid

Date: August 9, 2012 Category: Carstensz

As some of you might know, there are two different Seven Summit lists: the original Bass List and the Messner List. These two lists differ only in one way: their Oceania summit. Dick Bass, when he first climbed the Seven … Continue reading

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Carstensz Pyramid

Date: June 8, 2012 Category: Carstensz

Carstensz Pyramid Puncak Jaya (pronounced [ˈpuntʃaʔ ˈdʒaja]) or Carstensz Pyramid (4,884 m) is the highest summit of Mount Carstensz (/ˈkɑrstəns/) in the Sudirman Range of the western central highlands of Papua province, Indonesia (within Puncak Jaya Regency). Other summits are … Continue reading

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