Heinrich Harrer, famed author of the book Seven Years in Tibet, had always been fascinated by the Jayawijaya Peak in Papua. And so, some 12 years after returning from Tibet in 1950, Heinrich Harrer together with three friends, Temple, Kippax and Huizinga, decided to conquer the Peak. In 1962, they became the first climbers to ever reach the top of the Carstensz (Jayawijaya) Peak, one of the 7 highest mountains in the world.
The Jayawijaya Peak, better known to mountaineers by its former name as the Carstensz Pyramid, is 4,844 meters above sea level, and has for centuries enticed many, especially adventurers and mountaineers to reach these eternal equatorial glaciers. In 1623, a Dutch explorer, Jan Carstensz, sighted the snow-capped mountain and named it after him. This natural phenomenon is very rare since natural ice does not normally develop along the warm equator. Sadly, significant retreats of the glaciers have been found at several locations such as at the Trikora Peak and the Meren Glacier between 1939 and 1962 and between 1994 to the year 2000. The large eternal ice cap however, remains very awesome and most striking.
The climb to the peak requires special techniques, and climbing the terrain is therefore recommended only for advanced and intermediate climbers. A climbing company has rated the difficulty at 3 out of 5 difficulty points. The ascent takes fifth class rock climbing ability on an extraordinary limestone summit ridge with Tyrolean Traverse, repelling, and general rope skills. Being one of the most difficult peaks to climb in the world, and the highest peak between the Andes and the Himalayas, conquering the Carstensz Peak will fill you with triumph and pure exhilaration.
There are a number of companies specializing in guiding climbers to the Jayawijaya. Usually, climbers congregate in Bali and fly to Timika, Papua, and then on to Nabire. Nabire is the closest town to the climbing route. Captivatingly, climbers will also have the chance to visit the Dani in the Baliem Valley on their return trek. Travelling with experienced tour operators or guides is highly recommended.
Garuda Indonesia, and Lion Air have flights into Papua from Jakarta or Denpasar, Bali. Often time, they will make a stop in Makassar before advancing to Sorong, Timika, or Biak, and terminating in Jayapura.
Garuda flies from Jakarta to Timika, and Denpasar, Bali to Timika. Going back to Jakarta or Bali, Garuda flies from Timika, Biak, and Jayapura. Lion Air flies from Nabire to Ambon and then to Denpasar, Bali.
Check your schedule in airport for individual itinerary. Taking a packaged tour, your flights are usually inclusive in the itinerary.
Note: Trigana Air, Susi Air, and Avia Star are flying from Timika to Nabire.
A hiking route opened by Adventure Indonesia has been considered to be the safest, and securest route, which starts at the villages of Ilaga, Boega, Hoya, Tsinga, and on to some other villages that protect it. Since the Freeport mining area is part of this mountain zone it makes it more grueling to reach the peak. However, this route, known as the Sugapa-Suanggama route, is off the mining site, and is good for hikers and climbers.
Taking this traditional route, hikers or climbers will spend a wonderful 22 days on foot, interacting with locals, enjoying the magnificent scenery, experiencing rough muddy trails and swamps, crossing wooden bridges, to finally achieve that self-actualization acclaim.
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