This remote, challenging summit has a long, very interesting climbing history starting with the Harrer party first ascent in the early '60's. A variety of routes have been completed in the ensuing years, although most parties use the original north face route for their summit bid. Access is an ever-changing problem. From year to year one can never know what the Indonesian government will impose on travelers seeking permission and permits. Expect surprises. For many years the peak was completely closed. Although it is presently 'open', that situation could change abruptly and without much notice. The extremely lucrative and desperately destructive Freeport/Grasberg open pit mine is visible from the peak and the grinding, crushing sounds of industrial activity are easily heard on calm nights. The proximity of the mine, its shameful history, and the huge sums of money involved have a direct impact on climbing and trekking access. Very recent press accounts indicate that a European group, primarily German, is in the initial stages of constructing a 'trekking hostel' at the base of the peak. Helicopter access and support would indicate the arrival of high end visitation to a heretofore remote, wild, and unique mountain realm. If it comes to fruition, expect costs for a Carstensz visit to skyrocket. Carstensz is limestone and due to the almost constant rain is weathered to a razor sharpness. It's good stone not friendly due to this weathering. Rain or snow can be expected for most of your visit. Though it's not unusual for a day to start with some blue skies for a few hours, the rain clouds will roll back in, never fear. Constant rain for days at a time would not raise an eyebrow. Snow on the upper mountain is also common. Due to the 'rough' texture of the rock, one can climb despite the downpours.
Options for getting to Carstensz vary year by year. One 'route' which is presently available involves flying to the interior village of Ilaga, and from there trekking for a week to base camp. One can also engage local helicopter services for an additional flight from Ilaga to a landing zone cutting that hike in half. The biggest obstacle will be arranging permits and negotiating whatever system is in place for interior travel at your particular time. The new 'hostel' is going to have an impact on future visitors, if in fact it is actually built.
This is a complex link-up of weaknesses breaking up the monolithic limestone slabs on the north side of the peak. Look for left-trending corners in the center of the wall, which lead to a giant terrace. Follow right'slanting corners from the right end of the terrace, taking climbers to the summit ridge. Follow the ridge left towards the summit. This easy ridge is interrupted by a deep gash, requiring 5.8 climbing to attain the far side, or a tyrolean. Some short steps between the gap and the sum...[more]Browse More Classics in International
Just a note about the helicopter support; it is not only cut a half of the hike (it's not landing at a remote zone around, but definitely right in the basecamp). So the 6 days hike in would be replace by an 01hr15min helicopter flight, from Nabire (not Ilaga) to basecamp (4200m-asl)...