Thursday, October 1, 2009

Off To Indonesia!

Welcome to the expedition dispatch blog for Mountain Trip's October, 2009 Carstensz Pyramid climb.

Carstensz Pyramid is the highest peak on the continent of Oceania and due to the complexities of accessing this 16,023 foot (4,884 m) limestone mountain, it is the most elusive of the famed Seven Summits. Political and economic pressure closed all access to Carstensz for sveral years and Mountain Trip was the first US guide service to gain access after its re-opening in 2005. This is our 10th expedition to the peak since that time.

Located on the western side of the Island of Papua, Carstensz, or "Puncak Jaya," rises dramatically above one of the most biologically diverse jungle ecosystems on the planet. Local indigenous tribes have only recently encountered western cultures and many of the local villages are still inhabited by tribesmen wearing the traditional dress of nothing more than a "koteka" or penis gourd.

Our team will take advantage of more modern technologies and will access the mountain by helicopter from the coastal town of Nabire. This will require two flights across the jungle in order to get our team in to the Lakes Base Camp. Modern technology is not without its caveats, however, and we recently received word that we are already on a 2-4 day holding pattern waiting for a part for the helicopter to arrive from the US.

The team consists of the following climbers:

1) Ben Swart from South Africa
2) Elsi Bezudinhout from South Africa
3) Ephi Gildor from Aspen, Colorado
4) William Hanlon from Alberta, Canada
5) Chris Davenport (guide) from Aspen, Colorado
6) Bill Allen (guide) from Ophir, Colorado and Anchorage, Alaska

This climb will be Bill Allen's fifth ascent of the mountain!

The team is currently making their way to Bali, where they will meet, go over all their equipment, and spend a few days surfing and sight seeing while the helicopter is repaired.

I have not received any reports that Bali or Papua have been adversely affected by the two recent earthquakes off the island of Java. Bill will post updates shortly from Bali, and will continue until the team departs for Papua.

Enjoy the posts!

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