- Elevation: 4,884 m (16,024 ft)
- Prominence: 4,884 m
- Ribu category: Sangat Tinggi
- Province: Papua
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: Carstensz Toppen, Jaya Kesuma, Nemangkawi, Gunung Sukarno
This Ribu is the highest point of the huge Sudirman Range, the highest mountain in Indonesia, the highest peak on an island in the world and one of the famous Seven Summits world peaks. It was named after the Dutch explorer, Jan Carstensz who, in 1623, observed glaciers on the higher slopes of the mountain. Satellite imagery suggests that these glaciers have been retreating rapidly over the last few decades. The nearby Ngga Pulu icefield actually used to be higher than Carstensz Pyramid.
A government permit is required for access and the nearest airport is in Timika. The main problem with access is that there are a very limited number of tour operators for this mountain and so prices can be incredibly high – several thousand dollars minimum! Let’s hope things improve before too long. A helicopter can be chartered from Nabire to the Puncak Jaya basecamp but this is a very expensive option. Alternatively, the two main access points with airstrips are Sugapa (to the north) and Ilaga (to the east), but negotiations with village leaders in both places can be very, very difficult, particularly for foreigners and there have been failed attempts to do so. Ricky Munday is leading a team there in October 2011 so we look forward to hearing about his trip and wish them all the best!
From Sugapa, it takes 5 or 6 days of arduous hiking from the traditional Moni village of Pogapa to reach the base camp in Meren Valley. Then the trail leads on to the stunning Yellow Valley. It is claimed that more people have climbed Everest than Puncak Jaya! Rock climbing skills are necessary in order to traverse several deep notches near the summit of the mountain.
- Getting there: A number of different but equally arduous routes in. See above.
- Permits: Government permit required for access
- Water sources: Unknown – assume none
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm):
Origins and Meaning
‘Victorious peak’ in Indonesian. The highlands surrounding the peak were inhabited before European contact, and the peak was known as Nemangkawi in Amungkal. Puncak Jaya was named “Carstensz Pyramid” after Dutch explorer Jan Carstensz who first sighted the glaciers on the peak of the mountain on a rare clear day in 1623. When Indonesia took control of the province in the 1960s, the peak was renamed ‘Puntjak Soekarno’ (Simplified Indonesian: Puncak Sukarno) or Sukarno Peak, after the first President of Indonesia, later this was changed to Puncak Jaya. (Wikipedia, 2011)
Links and References
Wikipedia. 2011. Puncak Jaya. Accessed from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puncak_Jaya
10 thoughts on “Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid)”
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Fascinating account by Bob Kerr about his 2008 ascent of Puncak Jaya…
I heard of a trip to Puncak Jaya made by a friend of a friend in a group of (presumably) several Europeans. It didn’t exactly go to plan. On approach to the mountain they were held hostage by locals who threatened to murder them unless their financial demands were met.
The group was trekking with an established company who have taken climbers up Puncak Jaya many, many times before. Anyway, they ended up having to pay $10,000 per person to avoid being murdered. I have no idea how it was all arranged and feel lucky that I wasn’t part of it as not all of us are that rich.
After being freed by the disgusting locals who had captured them they decided, in mad bagging style, that they because they had got this far they ought to continue to climb the mountain itself! And so they did. It could have turned out a lot worse though. No wonder more people have climbed Everest than Puncak Jaya.
Article on a trip to Carstensz Pyramid which went a little wrong…
JUST hours after Emerald coal miner Luke Richmond stood on top of the world, the adventurer’s euphoria was tempered by terror as he suddenly faced decapitation by machete or surrender to militant security forces in the jungle wilds of West Papua.
With virtually no chance of survival if he resisted, Luke and his fellow mountaineers played the odds and found themselves detained in a cramped shipping container on a ragged rock face for six days while cannibalistic tribal elders debated whether to kill one of them in a primitive form of justice.
“I’ve sort of been in a few situations like that before and it’s all about not losing your mind,” Luke said.
“You’ve just got to do stuff in your mind, because if you just sit there, that’s when you’ll lose it.”
What began as another step toward becoming the first Australian to climb the world’s seven highest mountains became a harrowing experience after a freak rock fall crushed one of the local kids that had set out with Luke’s group up the 4882m Carstensz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea.
For six days, the 10 climbers and about 50 local villagers hacked their way through some of the thickest jungle in the world just to reach the base of the mountain.
After 14 hours of what Luke called a “perfect climb”, the group stood on Australasia’s highest peak and thought the hardest part was over.
“It was a perfect climb. Six days through the jungle and one day on the mountain – it was incredible,” Luke said.
“But on that night, that’s when the problem started.”
When a rock, about the size of a body board, landed on the young porter, the village chief thought he had been killed instantly and sought justice according to local tribal law.
“The head villager ran down to our camp with his machete and began yelling for blood,” he said.
“He was waiting for someone to show himself so he could level the score.
“In that part of the world, the local people have a fairly simple way of thinking: ‘the climbers brought us here and we are hurt, so now they must be hurt’.
“An eye for an eye.”
The group’s mountain guide confronted the chief, finally convincing him to hold off killing one of the mountaineers, at least until after a discussion the next day.
They were told to return to the scene where they were greeted by mixed emotions – some of the villagers shook the westerners’ hands, some smiled, while others glared with intense resentment at the ‘murderers’ when they asked to see the porter.
“We took one look at his rising chest and told them he was still alive,” Luke said.
“We immediately mustered everyone together and built a stretcher out of old timber and then used one of their tarps to wrap the stretcher with the boy inside into something that could be carried steadily.”
The closest available medical help was at a nearby mine where 10,000 Papua New Guinean miners were on strike and violent riots had broken out.
Although fearful, the group had no option as the boy needed help, and if he died, one of the westerners would be killed.
“By dinner that night it was clear that we could not take the chance and head back into the jungle with this team of porters, it was simply too risky,” Luke said.
With no helicopter evacuation possible, the group surrendered to mine security who detained the group, confining them to a small shipping container perched on the edge of the mine.
For six days they ate only one meal of cold rice and chicken as they tried relentlessly to contact trek organisers Adventure Indonesia for evacuation.
On the morning of the sixth day, a Russian helicopter finally arrived at the mine and the hungry, tired and stressed mountaineers were flown to the nearby Timika, only to be evacuated again as rioters and striking mine workers took over the town.
Eventually the group made it back to Bali, safety and freedom.
“I was stoked,” Luke said.
“Until that point when we landed in Bali, nothing was set in concrete and could change at any time.”
Now back in Sydney, Luke summed up the trek simply as “hectic”, and has no intention of near-decapitation and possible cannibalism stopping him from conquering the seven summits.
In a few weeks he leaves for Thailand to begin training for his next mission – Vincent Massif in Antarctica.
Luke has already tackled Denali in Alaska, Aconcagua in South America and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
He will return to Russia next July for his second attempt at Elbrus.
“Four from five isn’t bad, not bad at all,” Luke said.
This just in from Ricky Munday…
I hope all is well.
I’m just writing to ask for your support and to let you know that my forthcoming Carstensz Pyramid Glacier expedition has been shortlisted to win the Berghaus Adventure Challenge. http://www.berghaus.com/en/adventure-challenge/shortlists – if I win, I get £1,000 towards the expedition, plus £1,000 worth of Berghaus kit, which would be a huge boost. It would be great if you could take a few moments to visit the Berghaus website and vote. Just click “Vote for this entry” on my expedition, easily register your email address, password and name, and you’re done!
I would also really appreciate if you were able to spread the word on Facebook/twitter etc or forward this email to your friends and family. Voting closes on 20th September so there are only a few days for people to vote.
The objectives of the expedition are to:
– safely climb Carstsensz Pyramid via the normal route up the north face. At 4,884m, CP is the highest mountain in Australasia, Indonesia and New Guinea and the highest island peak in the world.
– compile a photographic record of Papua’s few remaining and fast-receding glaciers for analysis by climate change researchers in the UK, US and Australia
For info, I’m promoting the expedition using the following media:
Facebook: expedition Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/aus3peaks)
Twitter: expedition Twitter page (http://www.twitter.com/aus3peaks) and my own Twitter page (www.twitter.com/rickymunday)
Website: the expedition website has been updated (http://www.aus3peaks.com)
Blog: the expedition blog has been revamped and updated at: http://www.aus3peaks.blogspot.com
Vimeo: I have been hard at work editing the video footage shot on an earlier expedition to Papua last year, but due to work demands in Bangladesh, have had limited time. In the interim, I have uploaded an introduction that summarises my previous Africa 3 Peaks expedition here: http://www.vimeo.com/26230409,
I will again raise funds for Raleigh International’s Youth Partnership Programme, which gives underprivileged young people the opportunity to experience a life-changing expedition overseas. People can donate £5 to Raleigh by texting AAWZ67 £5 to 70070. Or, visit http://www.justgiving.com/aus3peaks to donate online
Many thanks for all your support. I really do appreciate it.
wow the pictures taken from robert cassady are amazing.its a shame its cheaper to climb everest than take on this one.what with all the red tape etc..
Unfortunate news from Ricky Munday’s team……
RICKY MUNDAY FORCED TO ABANDON ATTEMPT TO SUMMIT CARSTENSZ PYRAMID – NOW FOCUSED ON PUNCAK MANDALA
Blogs reveal terrifying experiences climbing and descending Puncak Trikora and an alarming confrontation with armed locals on the return trek
Papua Province, December 9 2010 – Ricky Munday reported this morning that he has been forced to abandon his attempt to summit Carstensz Pyramid after his international agent cancelled his joining an existing expedition with just three days notice. Munday will now make his way back to the Star Mountains to attempt Puncak Mandala (4,640m). This is a huge disappointment for the 33 year old climber who has been holed up in Jayapura waiting for news on joining the Carstensz Pyramid expedition.
The full story of Munday’s hair raising ordeal climbing and descending Puncak Trikora is revealed in his blog posted on December 7 on the Australasia 3 Peaks Blogspot page (www.aus3peaks.blogspot.com). Climbing solo on slippery limestone rock faces, grasping foliage to prevent falling hundreds of feet into chasms, mountain sickness and dehydration, getting lost in the rainforest and hunger have made the expedition extremely gruelling. A threat from armed locals unsympathetic towards Munday’s driver was an additional scare on the way back from Trikora.
Ricky’s expedition report is now available on his website…
Im only 16, but i enjoy climbing mountains and volcanoes in Java. I was just wondering how difficult the rock climbing is and how much it costs now.. is there snow on the top still?
I hope I can climb it some day, but i have never climbed a mountain that you have to axe your way up or one with snow and this has both of those.. cheers and good luck to the team that will climb it in December!
Indonesian and American scientists are conducting a climate study on Puncak Jaya, article from The Jakarta Post here….