Minggu, 01 Juni 2014


A Journey To The Roof of Indonesia


“Never measure the height of a mountain, until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.”
Dag Hammarskjold
In Part 1 Paman told us about how he got along with locals at Sugapa and Swanggama. 
Part 2 is about his expedition into the jungle with swamps and wild rivers. 
In this part, from the 7th day of the Carstensz Pyramid expedition the route did not get any easier, while the climbers got drained out day by day , both physically and mentally. 
Keep reading to see how Paman and the whole group came through this challenging situation, especially when he and the team got nearer to Carstensz summit attack



Ebay Camp - Nasidome Camp, July23


The sun shone so brightly that morning, it dried our wet clothes which we kept outside last night. I wore the trousers again, yeah....soon they will get into mud again. Then I took some time to take pictures of the Jayawijaya mountain range.

9.30 a.m we're ready to start, but porters prevented us and asked to do some 'talking'. We told them to talk to our guide, so we could start our track before them because  they would precede us anyway. We knew, the only 'talk' was about their fee. They must ask for an increase. We heard that porters from Sugapa are like that, a bit different with porters from Ilaga who are more professional.

So we started our journey up a muddy hill. Our boots were really powerful in such condition, but the skin near shin bones started to be irritated, and the pressure on our ankles made it painful on every step.

Our track today gave us distance view, compared to previous days when we went through jungles. Mountains and glacier on the Carstensz peak was vivid and clear. As we entered a wide savannah the view was amazingly breathtaking : the meadow, the river, the mountains, and the sky - altogether was perfectly painted by God's hand.

carstensz route

Then we had to cross a river by pursuing on the rocks blocked over it. Just like rocks on a sea, water passed through gaps between them. Next in the rain we went between cliffs on our both sides, which looked like being carved by skillful hands, just speechlessly beautiful !
We got to Nasidome camp at 4.30  p.m, helped the porters build our tents. Nasidome camp is predicted to be 3700 m ASL. Though I got flu during the morning, thank God it got well by the afternoon. After dinner we gathered to prepare our climbing and safety equipment. We felt enthusiastic realizing that after these long challenging journey, finally Carstensz pyramid summit is ahead of us.  I spent the night sleeping like a log.

Nasidome Camp - Lakes Valley Basecamp, July24

Nasidome camp is surrounded by hills. I could see Puncak Jaya (Jaya Peak) and Sumantri Peak with two block of steep snowy cilff on the right side. And it thrills my heart because it's where we're heading for.

We started at 10 a.m waited for the rain to cease. The rock on the path was sharp, and I wondered how the porters could walk barefoot. At the end of the track was a savannah with a small lake - Danau Hitam (Black Lake) - surrounded by rocky hills.

danau hitam carstensz

Some small birds swam on the lake hunting for their lunch. It's 3826 meter ASL. We went along Black Lake's right side, there's sign of avalanche on the cliff, with uprooted trees on it. Porters caught us up. Then we faced this 80-degree sloped cliff, had to climb for 300 meter. Breathing is naturally difficult on this height. Oxygen density was thin and energy was drained all the way up. More than 1 hour was needed to overcome this track with full cautious and careful.

After walking another 30 minutes, we reached Larsen Lake. Rain and cold wind prevented us from taking some pictures there :(  .Lunch time was at 2 p.m, under the cliff. Followed by crawling a 45-degree sloped cliff, 500 meters up. Breath was short. Then another cliff where we had to creep along its edge under the rain. Each footstep had to be carefully chosen, sometimes we step on soft soil, sometimes mud or slick rock, and sometimes we even had to lay our bodies to the cliff to maintain balance. Deep abyss waited for anyone who slip his step. 

After another 1 hour, we got to another cliff ahead - with 90-degree slope !!! There's no other way...umbrellas and trekking pole soon got into backpacks. Slowly we creeped the cliff like wall lizzards on a wall. Without any safety equipment. We searched for something to step upon, hands groped for anything to hold even it's cold sharp rocks. My fingers felt like frozen. The rest of the track was steep cliff and rocks. Consistent rain drove away our mood for taking a picture.

5.30 p.m we could see our basecamp in the far distance. And we had to slowly and carefully went through steep gravel path. 

puncak jaya
Basecamp is on the left - near the blue colored lake

Ahead the path split into two : to the left headed to Carstensz basecamp, to the right headed to giant precious metal mine - Freeport . At 6 p.m we finally reached the Carstensz basecamp which is 4330 meter ASL. Everybody was very very exhausted.

At night the light from Freeport sparkled so near to our Carstensz basecamp. Porters spent the night near Freeport. Considering our physical condition and unsupported weather, we decided to postpone Carstensz summit attack which was previously planned to be done that midnight. Cold weather (5 DEGC) made us difficult to sleep.


Basecamp, July25

Waking up at 7 a.m, I soon got out of my small tent  and observed the surrounding. There's a lake on the left, used for cooking purpose. Another lake laid on the right, its bluish water had a sense of green, so this one is used for cleaning purpose. I walked down away from the lakes, looking for a place to do the toilet-need, and wash my mud-stained socks, trousers and boots .

basecamp carstensz

At 10 a.m the sun shone very brightly, made it too hot and fuggy inside the tent as I tried to rest. At 11 a.m some porters came back from Freeport bringing additional logistics. As the weather got cooler in the afternoon, I fell sleep again and woke up at 6 p.m for dinner. We ate as much as we could to  build up energy reserve for Carstensz summit attack. Temperature dropped near frozen. I curled up in 2 layers of clothes, a feather jacket, a polar jacket, a sleeping bag and an aluminum foil blanket. Warm enough to make me sleep soundly. This is an important part as we had to wake up at 1 a.m for Carstensz summit attack.