Carstenz Pyramid

Location: Latitude 4.08°South, Longitude 137.18°East
Altitude: 4,884 metres (16,024 ft)
First Ascent: Harrer, Temple, Kippax and Huizenga in 1962

The Carstensz Pyramid (also called Puncak Jaya, or Mount Carstensz) is in the Sudirman Range in the western central highlands of Papua province, Indonesia. Rising to 4,884 metres (16,024 ft) above sea level, it is the highest mountain in Indonesia, on the island of New Guinea, and in Oceania. Its peak is the highest point between the Himalayas and the Andes, and the highest island peak in the world. The mountain was closed to tourists and climbers between 1995 and 2005, but from 2006, access has been possible. The ‘Free Papua’ separatist political movement has been struggling for independence for over 30 years, sometimes with lethal consequences for climbers in the region.

The Carstensz Pyramid is one of the more demanding climbs in the Seven Summits challenge, although it does not feature in the Bass List. It is considered to have a higher technical rating than any of that list’s summits.The standard route of ascent is up the north face and along the summit ridge, which is all hard rock surface. The surrounding area is inaccessible necessitating a 100-km hike from the nearest airport at the town of Timika to base camp. The mountain is hidden in dense jungle and the climber must be prepared to climb in snow and rain, with his gloves being torn by the sharp rock. In order to cross the largest gap on the summit ridge, the climber must ascend a horizontal line of about 20m by hanging under a rope at 4800 m and pull himself through to the other side. Its geographical remoteness, combined with government restrictions, political instability in the region and frequent tribal warring, has meant that few people have climbed it since the first ascent.

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