Dispatches - Carstensz Pyramid March 2011

March 22, 2011

In March 2011 Adventure Consultant operated an expedition aiming to climb the highest peak in Australasia, Carstensz Pyramid 44,884m/16,023ft.

Adventure Consultants Carstensz Pyramid March 2011 Dispatches

Expedition Leader: Micheal Madden - New Zealand

Team members:
Stephen Wilson - Canada
Bruno Baschung - France/Italy
Richard Parks - United Kingdom
Mike Kraft - Germany

Follow our team's progress on the expedition through their regular dispatches to this web page. Thanks for joining us!

3 March 2011
Dispatches will start soon!

6 March 2011 - Carstensz is underway
Hi Everyone. This is the first dispatch for the Adventure Consultants Carstensz Pyramid expedition March 2011. Our whole team is now in Bali with Richard the last to arrive from the UK today. Yesterday was Nyepi day, a very unique holiday in Bali marking the Balinese New Year. Nyepi day is a day of total silence throughout the island of Bali. No activity is done, no traffic or pedestrians are allowed on the street, no shops or restaurants are open. Not even aircraft may fly over Bali. Myself, Bruno, Steven, and Mike were confined to the hotel grounds for the day. It was a tough day spent mostly in or beside the large swimming pool at the Bali Rani Hotel in Kuta.

By contrast today the streets of Bali were busy again, and so was our team with final preparations and gear checks. After a busy day it was our first opportunity to get the whole team together over dinner and to discuss the expedition plan for the next 2 weeks. We have an early start tomorrow and will be leaving the hotel for the airport just after midnight to make our 2am flight to Timika in Papua. From Timika we will fly to Sugapa to organise the porters and start our 6 day trek through the jungle and alpine plateau to the Carstensz base camp.

7 March 2011 - Arrival in Timika 
Early start here for the Carstensz team. We only had around two hours sleep before our 12am pick up for the 2 am flight to Timika. It was a pleasant 3 hour flight through the night and we enjoyed good views of Papua as the sun was rising. We were unable to continue to Illaga today so checked into the Rimba Papua hotel. After a large breakfast Richard, Steven, and Bruno caught up on some sleep beside the pool.

We met with our local guide and Cook Jonathan and Broeri who will accompany us with Rusa to basecamp and on with the climb. Excess weight was shed as we can only take 15kgs of gear each to Base Camp. We wil have to say goodbye to our luxury items for the jungle leg of our journey.

Weather permitting we will be flying to Illaga early tomorrow morning.

Mike Madden for the AC team.

8 March 2011 - Time in Timika
Hi Everyone. This morning we awoke to rain in Timika. Joshua arrived with the news that our flight to Illaga had been cancelled for the day as the weather was not good enough to fly. Our flight has been put back until early tomorrow morning.

Today Richard managed to eat all of the doughnuts at breakfast time - he will need all the energy he can get as he is off to the North Pole as soon as this trip finishes. Followed by Everest and then immediately afterwards Denali as part of his quest to climb all seven summits and Ski the Last Degree to the North and South Pole within a 7 month time frame. Go Richard!

It was a quiet day for us at the hotel and after another day of inactivity the team is now looking forward to the trek to base camp. We all hope for a clear sky in the morning.

Mike Madden for the AC team

9 March 2011 - Arrival in Ilaga
This is the Adventure Consultants office with news from Mike and his team.

Mike has let us know that the team made the 30 minute flight from Timika to Ilaga which is located at 2,400m. They were welcomed by many friendly locals who followed our team on the 1 hour walk to a hut at the edge of the village, where they will spent the night.

The Papuans still live traditionally, with many men still wearing penis gourds. Our team was invited into a hut where all of the men sleep together and the women sleep in another hut 100m away. Many of the men still carry traditional weapons and they even spotted one who was carrying an ice axe!

Mike and his assistant guide have recruited 21 local Papuans who will have the job of carrying all of the team gear to Base Camp. These porters will walk and camp with the team all the way.

This is the AC office signing off for Mike and his intrepid Carstensz team.


11 March 2011 - Reaching the Alpine Plateau
This is the Adventure Consultants office checking in with you all for our Carstensz team after just having spoken to Mike on the satellite phone.

Mike has let us know that the team have now reached the Alpine Plateau at 3600 metres and are happy to get out of the jungle proper after having left Ilaga yesterday with 21 porters. Today the weather was clear when they set off but by the afternoon, they were walking in very very heavy rain.

They have four more days of trekking before they reach Base Camp and their objective.

This is the AC office signing off for the Carstensz team.

13 March 2011 - Trek progress
Update from Mike Madden via Satphone 9.00pm today local time:

Everyone has been doing well, making very good progress. We arrived at camp after a long 10 hour day. Conditions have been quite hard with long sections of deep mud. I think I've had wet feet for four days now! We've been pretty lucky with the weather with afternoon showers and I've only used my umbrella about four times so far on the trip.

We hope to be in Base Camp by 2pm local time tomorrow and we'll be in touch then.


14 March 2011 - Arrival at Base Camp 
The Adventure Consultants office has received a satellite phone call from Mike and the team.

After 5 days of hard walking through jungle and alpine meadows, the team have arrived at Base Camp located at 4m500 metres. It was showery weather for most of the final trekking day but in the afternoon, the clouds parted and the team got their first view of their objective, Carstensz Pyramid 4,884 metres.

The team are camping next to two turquoise lakes surrounded by large limestone mountains which are spectacular. Tomorrow they plan to leave camp at 2am for their summit attempt of Carstensz Pyramid.

At the Adventure Consultants office we are looking forward to hearing from the team from the summit climb, so that we can give you an update on how they go.


16 March 2011 - Carstensz Summit
The Adventure Consultants office has just received a phone call from Mike and the team who are all on the summit of Carstensz Pyramid. Well done to the entire team on their successful climb.

The team set off from Base Camp in perfect weather with clear skies and plenty of stars above them.

They made it to the summit at 8.30am and had been relaxing taking in the view from the top.

They are all glad that they had a rest day yesterday as it was very bad weather, so they timed it right for a clear day.

We will update you all once we receive more news from our intrepid Carstensz team. This is the AC office signing off.


16 March 2011 - Carstensz summit day report
Hi guys, this is Mike here phoning in about our summit day on Carstensz. Last night at 5pm the rain stopped so it was early to bed for us. We awoke at 1am to a starry night and after a good and early breakfast we departed at 2am. By 3am we were climbing the fixed ropes and at first light we made the summit ridge, shortly afterwards the team Mike at the Tyrolean station crossed the tyrolean traverse. It was cold on the summit ridge with fresh snow. At 8.28am the whole team stood on the summit of Carstensz Pyramid, we spent 45 minutes there enjoying the views.

On the descent, just after crossing the tyrolean traverse it started raining and by 2pm we were all back in Base Camp, and it's been raining ever since.

Today Mike Kraft completed all Seven Summits by summitting Carstensz, well done Mike! It's been an awesome day and a great climb, everyone here is tired but very happy with the success of the expedition. It's been hard, we've only had 8 hours of sunlight in the last three days and we used it to get to the summit. We are all looking forward to returning to civilisation in about five days time and we're especially looking forward to the large swimming pool and the buffet breakfast back at the Hotel in Timika. Tomorrow we will start our 4-day walk out to Ilaga.

Bye for now.

Mike Madden

17 March 2011 - Trek out begins
The Adventure Consultants office has received a message from Mike and the Carstensz team.

At 9am, the porters arrived at Base Camp to collect the teams gear to carry back to Ilaga. Therefore, day one of the four day walk out back to Ilaga was underway with a night camping in Nabi Dabi planned for this evening.

This morning they were lucky as the sun came out and everyone was able to dry their wet clothing and camping gear.

The porters were in good spirits this morning as they are also excited to be returning home. The next three days will be long and tough as they retrace their steps back to Ilaga.

This is the Adventure Consultants office signing off.


18 March 2011 - Trekking in the rain
Good morning guys, this is Mike here with today's Carstensz dispatch. It's been a hard day here, we've just finished 9 hours of walking. We're trying to cover four days in three so we can get out a bit quicker. Today started off with our porters striking and asking for an extra day's pay as otherwise they were going to leave our duffel bags at the campsite at Nasi Domi. Because it's been raining heavily all the rivers are quite high and we've had some challenging river crossings. We've just had dinner, the ground is very waterlogged, everything is wet. We are really looking forward to getting back to Ilaga. We've only got two days walking left before we get to Ilaga.

Right, thanks guys, Bye


19 March 2011 - More wet walking
Hi everyone, it's been another challenging day here in Papua. We've had more heavy rain meaning another day of crossing swollen rivers, deep mud and walking in wet clothing. I've spent much of the day helping the Papuan porters cross the rivers with our equipment, all the river crossings are big. We only have one more day to get back to Ilaga. Tomorrow we will descend from the alpine plateau and down in to the jungle. See you soon,


21 March 2011 - Back in Timika
The team has just arrived back into Timika. Yesterday morning the rain eased as we packed up our last camp for the expedition. The porters arrived in camp early to carry our baggage. For the first time in the trip the porters did not complain about the weight of their loads, did not strike or deliberately walk slowly to try and get more money. Even the trouble-making porter that we nick named 'Red Sox' did not cause trouble!

It was a long day finishing our trip back across the alpine plateau and descending through the jungle. It would not have been a typical day in Papua if the rain had not started falling around mid morning. The jungle held the extra challenge of climbing over slippery logs, ducking under branches and dense vegetation, while at the same time wading through deep mud. The local Papuans that we came across were excited to see the team and probably more excited to see the Papuans working as porters emerge from the jungle.

We spent last night in the chiefs house in Pinapa, the outermost village of Illaga. This morning we walked the 1.5 hours to the air strip in Illaga and by 9am we were seated at the restaurant at the hotel in Timika enjoying a well earned buffet breakfast. The rest of the day will be spent washing mud off clothes, swimming in the large pool, eating, and catching up on the world news.

Tomorrow we will be flying back to Bali and we will be able to send you some photos from there.

Thanks for following our wee adventure!

Mike and the team

22 March 2011 - Back in Bali
Hi everyone. The team is now back in Bali after an awesome and very memorable adventure to Papua and Carstensz Pyramid. The whole team is in agreement that the climb was fantastic and we were very lucky to have clear weather when we were on the summit... good enough to see the coastline. But what really made the adventure was the walk in from Illaga.

It was an incredible cultural experience having the local Papuan's working as our Porters, although sometimes troublesome; they were very interesting people and despite the language barrier we felt like we were starting to get to know some of them by the end of the expedition.

The walk in and out was hard with long days, rain, mud, river crossings, wet clothing and camping in wet conditions, but it made the climb and our success on Carstensz so much sweeter as we felt like we had really earned the summit. We also saw some incredible places on the way in.

The team has now gone their separate ways... Bruno is hoping to climb a volcano in Bali, Stephen is going diving, Mike Kraft is heading home after some Coronas by the swimming pool and Richard is off to the North Pole. Guide Mike Madden is in Sanur Beach kite surfing before heading home to NZ.

Before I finish this last dispatch I would like to give a special thanks to our two local guides who worked so hard and contributed so much to help us with our success on the climb. Climbing guide Jimmy and our cook and trekking guide, Broeri. Thanks guys, you were great.

Mike Madden for the AC team.


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