October 2017

Our Carstensz Pyramid team reached the summit and has now returned to Bali today, after a helicopter flight early this morning from the base camp.  The weather over the last 48 hours since we got down from the summit has been very stormy, so we were laying low at our base camp until the storm passed and the clouds and rain cleared up for a brief window to let the helicopter fly in.  Most of the kitchen and dining tents in the base camp were destroyed in the wind storm, but our personal tents held up fine throughout the storm, thanks to the great engineering from Mountain Hardwear for our Trango 3 tents!

The climb was an epic day on the tallest peak in Australasia, a rock pyramid jutting out of the surrounding jungle landscape.  We departed before dawn, climbing up the route over varying degrees of steepness on sustained slopes until we reached the summit ridge.  We then traversed the ridge to the famous “abyss” crossing, where we tip toed across a wire cable to the other side.  That wasn’t the crux, as there were a couple more challenging crossings where we literally had to leap across to the other side!  We lucked out with great weather the whole day and reached the top around 9 AM, then began the long series of rappels back down to base camp.  This has truly been an epic adventure!  We are all now on our way home after a wonderful time in Indonesia, climbing one of the world’s “7 summits”!

Carstensz Pyramid weather has our climbing team positioned at base camp for another day. Garrett checks in below via satellite phone and relays that George and Audrey are enjoying the adventure while they wait for their return helicopter flight. Pictures coming soon!

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Garrett checks in with the Carstensz Pyramid team after a safe descent from the summit yesterday. Currently our team is socked in at base camp waiting for suitable weather to fly back to Timika and then to Bali. Stay tuned!

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Follow our progress on this real-time tracking map

 
Carstensz Pyramid team reaches the summit at 4,884m / 16,024ft! Listen to the audio dispatch below as Garrett checks in from the summit. Reports of variable cloud cover and stable climbing conditions. Way to go team!

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Follow our progress on this real-time tracking map

 
Our autumn 2017 Carstensz Pyramid expedition has launched!! Our team flew by helicopter and arrived safely at Yellow Valley base camp today. Listen in below for a audio dispatch from Garrett and climbers Audrey and George as they prepare for the ascent. Onward and upward!

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After a few days patiently waiting for the sky to clear we are off to the mountain! Carstensz Pyramid here we come!

2017 Carstensz Pyramid

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2017 Carstensz Pyramid

Once the expedition gets underway, follow our progress on this real-time tracking map.

 
Hello and greetings from Timika, the island of Papua. While on standby for the last couple of days waiting for good weather to fly into the base camp of Carstensz Pyramid, we have made the most of our time here by visiting some nice restaurants and touring the town & surrounding areas.  Our climbing team is very eager to get to the mountain and begin climbing, however, we must wait for good flying conditions.  So we are playing the waiting game, keeping our spirits up, and anticipating with positive hopes for a flight in the next day or two.  As soon as we are able to fly to the base camp we will be poised to make our climb of the famed Carstensz Pyramid rock wall!

Once the expedition gets underway, follow our progress on this real-time tracking map.

Greetings from the town of Timika, on the Island of Papua.  We arrived yesterday here from Bali and went to the immigration office to get our permits.  Then we enjoyed some nice dinner here before checking our equipment and preparing for today’s helicopter flight to Carstensz Pyramid, assuming good weather and flyable conditions.  We will fly about 45 minutes over the jungle to the base camp at about 14,000′, and once there plan to settle into our base camp.  We are very excited to get to the mountain and start climbing!

Once the expedition gets underway, follow our progress on this real-time tracking map.

 
The Carstensz Pyramid expedition team made it to Bali yesterday and we’ve been preparing for our flight to Timika on the Island of Papua very early tomorrow.  Bali is a fine tourist destination indeed, and a great “base” for us to operate our Carstensz Pyramid program from.

Bali is an Indonesian island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs. The island is home to religious sites such as cliffside Uluwatu Temple. To the south, the beachside city of Kuta has lively bars, while Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua are popular resort towns. The island is also known for its yoga and meditation retreats.

Once we arrive in Timika we will transfer to the hotel and then check in with the immigration department for clearance, then the next morning our plan is to fly by helicopter to Carstensz Pyramid base camp.  Upon arrival at base camp we will settle in and go for an acclimatization hike to the base of the route.  Assuming the weather is decent, we may go for the summit on October 15th, but we have a few extra days just in case!  We are very much looking forward to this rock climbing objective at 16,000 feet!

About 145,000 people on the Indonesian island of Bali have left their homes around Mount Agung, a volcano that is showing signs it could erupt, officials said on Friday.The 9,944-foot volcano, the highest mountain on Bali, last erupted in the early 1960s

Garden features in our hotel

Carstensz Pyramid expedition

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Flora and Fauna in Bali. Bali has an interesting collection of animal and plant life. The rice terraces are the most common sight everyday in Bali, particularly in the heavily populated and extravagantly fertile south. Balinese gardens are a delight.

Carstensz Pyramid expedition

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A jukung or canoe also known as cadik is a small wooden Indonesian outrigger canoe. It is a traditional fishing boat in this region.

Carstensz Pyramid expedition

Our 2017 Carstensz Pyramid expedition team is departing North America tomorrow to head to Bali, and from there to the Island of Papua to begin our climb of this fabled peak.

Carstensz Pyramid, as one of the most exotic climbing objectives in the “7 Summits”, is located in Western Papua and is comprised of limestone which rises abruptly from the surrounding rainforest. The highest point on Australasia, this very remote peak is an engaging challenge both in getting to the base of the climb and also in the ascent itself!  Not many climbers venture to this mysterious and unfrequented mountain, that has glaciers surrounding the rock pyramid that towers above the jungle below.

Our ascent will involve a classic rock climb along with some very intriguing cultural experiences along the way, a journey through unknown landscapes in a remote part of the world, and of course a notable achievement in reaching the top of this exotic peak.  This uncommon adventure will surely challenge us as climbers and explorers, but the rewards for venturing into this obscure region will surely be well worth the arduous journey!  Myself, along with 2 good climbing friends will be arriving in Bali on October 11th, and then we hope to reach the island of Papua on October 13th or 14th, from there the real adventure begins!

Once the expedition gets underway, follow our progress on this real-time tracking map.

 

-Garrett Madison

Carstensz Pyramid expedition team

It’s autumn season now and we are excited to announce our plans to attempt a magnificent unclimbed peak in the northern region of Nepal. This approximately 22,000+’ peak is unclimbed, so we will be making the first attempt to climb to the summit.  People often ask, how did you put together such an expedition?  Without having records of others to utilize, we have done careful and lengthy research to identify this peak, and planned how we can best make a safe and successful attempt to reach the top.  We have sourced the necessary equipment & supplies, planned a trekking route to access the base of the mountain, and scouted possible routes to the summit (with Google Earth).  We also have obtained permission from the Ministry of Tourism in Nepal to climb this peak, and organized the logistics of trekking to the base with all of our team and supplies.  All of the effort required to put together such an expedition is a lot more complicated and time consuming than a more ‘standard’ peak, such as Everest, or the “7 Summits“, where vast amounts of information exist to understand how one would plan such endeavors, as well as detailed information regarding the route.  In the spirit of exploration and discovering new frontiers, we have taken upon ourselves the challenge of venturing into the unknown!  We have prepared ourselves the best we can in our physical fitness, technical climbing, and understanding of what may lay ahead, but ultimately we don’t know what we will find up high on this mountain, we do know that we will be challenged!

Why, you may ask, have we not publicly identified the name of this peak?  Well, the answer is that we are aware of other climbers currently on the hunt for unclimbed peaks in Nepal, who want very much to claim a ‘first ascent’ of a virgin peak, so we have deliberately kept the name a secret.   Last year, I had shared detailed information regarding our 2016 Unclimbed Peak project in the Nepal Gokyo region, and when we had to delay our expedition, one of the individuals I had shared the specifics with decided to go about climbing it on her own, and was successful.  I’m happy for her that she succeeded in accomplishing her goal and did so safely.  Obviously, every individual has the right to pursue their own path in life and in climbing, however, I was a bit disappointed that after all of our research, planning, and anticipation, that I had let this peak slip away simply because I assumed that those I shared the information with in confidence would not use it to their advantage to climb the peak before we did.

Our 2017 ‘first ascent’ expedition team is comprised of 6 very experienced mountaineers led by Sid Pattison and myself, along with a few of our most trusted climbing Sherpas from Nepal.  All of our team has extensive experience climbing in the Himalayas and at high altitude, most have already reached the top of Everest.  We plan to begin trekking from the small village of Lukla in late October and reach our base camp by the end of the month, where we then will begin making forays up onto the steep ridglines of this high altitude alpine objective.  We will be tracking our route from the beginning of the trek to the summit with GPS using a Garmin InReach, so you can follow our daily progress here on our dispatch page.  Below is a Google Earth image of the peak.

For information regarding our first ascent expedition on this unclimbed peak, please contact our office.

To ‘Higher Places’! -Garrett Madison