Mountain Planet

Carstensz Pyramid

Carstensz Pyramid (or Puncak Jaya) is a mountain in the Sudirman Range, the western part of the central highlands of Papua province, Indonesia. Rising to almost 5000 meters on the tropical island of New Guinea, it is the highest mountain on an island on the planet, and perhaps the strongest candidate for highest point of the Australia & Oceania continent.
Basic Info
Altitude
Location: Indonesia, Papua province
Known for: The highest point of Oceania, part of 7 summits challenge
Activity type: trekking, climbing
4 884 m
0 m
Summit: Carstensz Pyramid (4884 m)
Prominence: 4884 m
Duration:
9 days
Best Time
Activity level:
Jan
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Technical difficulty:
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Journey cost:
$6 750 - $8 750
The climbing season on Carstensz Pyramid is all year round, though the time from April to November is considered to be the best for ascending the mountain.
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Climbing
Trekking
Details about activity level and required physical condition you will find on specific activity offer page.
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Climbing
Trekking
Details about technical elements and techniques required you will find on specific activity offer page.
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Discover Carstensz Pyramid

Part of the 7 summits challenge

Carstensz Pyramid or as the locals call it, Puncak Jaya, is one of the most intriguing mountains of all the 7 summits. Situated in the west of the central highland Jayawijaya in West Papua, it attracts only the most curious alpinists. Since geographically Puncak Jaya is part of Oceania, many people consider it as the highest peak of Australia and Oceania. However, the disputes still take place whether Australia is a separate from Oceania continent. This is why some people include Mount Kosciuszko as a part of Australian 7 summits (2 228 m/ 7310 ft). They are not entirely wrong. If we look into facts, Mount Kosciusko is the highest point of Australian mainland, however Carstensz Pyramid is the highest mountain in Australian continent.

Part of the 7 summits challenge

Carstensz Pyramid or as the locals call it, Puncak Jaya, is one of the most intriguing mountains of all the 7 summits. Situated in the west of the central highland Jayawijaya in West Papua, it attracts only the most curious alpinists. Since geographically Puncak Jaya is part of Oceania, many people consider it as the highest peak of Australia and Oceania. However, the disputes still take place whether Australia is a separate from Oceania continent. This is why some people include Mount Kosciuszko as a part of Australian 7 summits (2 228 m/ 7310 ft). They are not entirely wrong. If we look into facts, Mount Kosciusko is the highest point of Australian mainland, however Carstensz Pyramid is the highest mountain in Australian continent.


Fascinating historical facts

The mountain has several names - the most well-known ones are Puncak Jaya (ind.) and Carstensz Pyramid (Europe). The mountain was discovered in 1623 by a Dutch explorer Jan Carstenszoon who first sighted the glaciers on the peak of the mountain at a rare for the region clear day. After he returned to Europe and told everyone about his discovery, most of the people didn't believe him which resulted in series of jokes on this matter. As for the Indonesian name, it was given by Indonesian communists. It literally means "the summit of victory". First documented climb was committed by another Dutch explorer Heinrich Harrer in 1937, who described his eventful journey in a book "I come from the stone age".
Fascinating historical facts

The mountain has several names - the most well-known ones are Puncak Jaya (ind.) and Carstensz Pyramid (Europe). The mountain was discovered in 1623 by a Dutch explorer Jan Carstenszoon who first sighted the glaciers on the peak of the mountain at a rare for the region clear day. After he returned to Europe and told everyone about his discovery, most of the people didn't believe him which resulted in series of jokes on this matter. As for the Indonesian name, it was given by Indonesian communists. It literally means "the summit of victory". First documented climb was committed by another Dutch explorer Heinrich Harrer in 1937, who described his eventful journey in a book "I come from the stone age".

Seeing famous tropical glaciers before they vanish

Carstensz Pyramid is notable for being one of the few tropical or equatorial mountains in the world with glaciers. Though, since 1936 Puncak Jaya has lost over 80% of its ice and 2/3 of that since 1972/73 because of the Global warming and significant climate changes. There are several glaciers on the slopes of Puncak Jaya, including the West Northwall Firn, Carstensz Glacier, and the East Northwall Firn. Unfortunately the Meren Glacier in Puncak Jaya's Meren Valley vanished in recent years due to global warming. In 2010, an expedition led by paleo climatologist Lonnie Thompson found that the glaciers are disappearing at a rate of 7 metres thickness per year. Sadly, in 2018 they were predicted to vanish in the 2020s.

Seeing famous tropical glaciers before they vanish

Carstensz Pyramid is notable for being one of the few tropical or equatorial mountains in the world with glaciers. Though, since 1936 Puncak Jaya has lost over 80% of its ice and 2/3 of that since 1972/73 because of the Global warming and significant climate changes. There are several glaciers on the slopes of Puncak Jaya, including the West Northwall Firn, Carstensz Glacier, and the East Northwall Firn. Unfortunately the Meren Glacier in Puncak Jaya's Meren Valley vanished in recent years due to global warming. In 2010, an expedition led by paleo climatologist Lonnie Thompson found that the glaciers are disappearing at a rate of 7 metres thickness per year. Sadly, in 2018 they were predicted to vanish in the 2020s.


Challenging and pushing boundaries

Technically Puncak Jaya ascent it is one of the most difficult climbs of all the 7 summits. Even though you will cover most of Carstensz's height by helicopter (fly to Yellow Valley Base Camp/ 4300 m), you will still need to climb a very complicated part of the route and it will not be easy. To finish this climb you will need to be mentally and physically prepared. This trip will come as a good test of your skills, but will turn out to be an unforgettable experience, which you will remember and tell stories about for a very long time.
Challenging and pushing boundaries

Technically Puncak Jaya ascent it is one of the most difficult climbs of all the 7 summits. Even though you will cover most of Carstensz's height by helicopter (fly to Yellow Valley Base Camp/ 4300 m), you will still need to climb a very complicated part of the route and it will not be easy. To finish this climb you will need to be mentally and physically prepared. This trip will come as a good test of your skills, but will turn out to be an unforgettable experience, which you will remember and tell stories about for a very long time.

Perfect for friends

Making new memories is a perfect way for reconnecting with your closest friends or bonding with new acquaintances. This journey to the highest mountain in Oceania is definitely an amazing playground for testing your skills with the like-minded people and having things to walk down memory lane indulging in nostalgia for years later.

Perfect for friends

Making new memories is a perfect way for reconnecting with your closest friends or bonding with new acquaintances. This journey to the highest mountain in Oceania is definitely an amazing playground for testing your skills with the like-minded people and having things to walk down memory lane indulging in nostalgia for years later.

Routes to сlimb Carstensz

The Normal Route (Harrer's Route)
The ascent and the descent take roughly 12 – 15 hours. The difficulty is 3 – 4 UIIA. The most difficult section is just below the summit. The wall, which so far sloped under a moderate 10 – 15 degrees, now changes into approximately 80 meters (260 ft) long vertical degree of difficulty 5 – 5+ UIIA. The rock is good, and rarely loose. This wall does not usually pose any problem. This is followed by a progress to the summit on a jagged edge. The climber is faced here with other problems contributing to its difficulty, an approximately ten meters high, smooth overhang wall (difficulty 6 – 7+ UIIA). It can be bypassed, or one can fix a rope to its wall. Less experienced climbers can surmount the wall using jumars, and other difficult sections towards the summit can be also quite well secured. You need long ropes for the way down. A large part of the Carstensz Pyramid must be roped down.

East Ridge
This route offers lies in difficulty in between the Normal Route and the American Direct. You can expect a long ascent. It is mostly scrambling. However, there are some narrower parts, which are more difficult. You have to also beware of loose rocks.

The American Direct
This route leads straight up to the summit. It is a very exposed route. It offers great climbing experience, but it is the most difficult one. The bad news is that the difficulty increases as you get closer to the summit – the worst part is the steep Carstensz headwall.

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