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11 days in Indonesia
Grade: Intermediate


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At 16,024 feet, Carstensz Pyramid is the highest point in Indonesia and the highest mountain in Oceania. Locally known as Puncak Jaya, it is a dramatic pinnacle rising from the sheer, serrated ridgeline of the Sundirman Range on the lush island of New Guinea. While it is not the highest or most strenuous of the Seven Summits, it is often considered to be the most technically challenging.

The name “Carstensz Pyramid” comes from Dutch explorer Jan Carstenszoon, who spotted the mountain in 1623. The peak was first climbed in 1962 by an expedition spearheaded by the famous Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, who was also part of the first ascent party on the North Face of the Eiger and wrote the classic book, Seven Years in Tibet. Today, climbers on Carstensz Pyramid enjoy moderate, technical rock climbing on the peak’s textured white limestone, and then reach the summit after a dramatic Tyrolean traverse. Most climbers take advantage of their time in Indonesia to explore the country’s rich biodiversity and relax in the resorts of Bali after the climb.

Carstensz Pyramid • North Face • 11 Days

Our expedition begins in the quaint city of Timika on the south coast of Papua, Indonesia. We spend a day getting oriented and organizing our gear, then we take a spectacular helicopter flight over the rainforest to our base camp in the Yellow Valley in the heart of the Sundirman Range. After acclimatizing, we climb the classic North Face Route, which follows a network of cracks and gulleys to the mountain’s exposed summit ridge. The route is rated roughly 5.6, and requires some rock climbing experience. Cables and a Tyrolean traverse lead to the summit. We celebrate our success, then rappel back to base camp.

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Climb Highlights

  • Climb the highest peak in Oceania
  • Explore Indonesia
  • Scenic roundtrip helicopter flights to the mountain
  • Welcome Dinner
  • 3 hotel nights in Timika
  • Enjoyable limestone rock climbing
  • Famous Tyrolean traverse
  • A spectacular Seven Summits ascent
  • Friendly MG office staff will help you prepare for your adventure

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Meet in Timika
Day 2 • Rest Day
Day 3 • Flight to Yellow Valley • 13,700 ft
Day 4 • Acclimatization day
Day 5 • Acclimatization day
Day 6 • Puncak Jaya • 16,024 ft
Day 7 • Flight to Timika
Day 8 • Flight to Bali
Day 9 • Extra Day
Day 10 • Extra Day
Day 11 • Depart Bali


Carstensz Pyramid

Expedition begins and ends in Timika, Indonesia

Day 1 • Meet in Timika

Meet in Timika, West Papua, Indonesia and relax after a long day of travel.

Accommodations: Hotel in Timika

Day 2 • Rest Day

We allot an extra day to recover from jet lag while we organize our gear, hold a team orientation, and wait for any baggage that may have been waylaid. We enjoy a team welcome dinner then go to bed early.

Accommodations: Hotel in Timika
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner (B, D)

Day 3 • Yellow Valley Basecamp • 13,700 feet

If the weather is clear after breakfast, we transfer to the airport and take a scenic, 45-minute helicopter ride over the rainforest to our base camp in the Yellow Valley, at an elevation of 13,700 feet. We set up camp and relax while we begin to acclimatize from our journey from sea level.

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 4 • Acclimatization Day • 13,700 feet

Today is an active rest day while we acclimatize. To help our bodies adapt to the altitude, we take a short hike around base camp.

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 5 • Acclimatization Day • 13,700 feet

After breakfast climbers will once again trek around basecamp in order to get their bodies used to the elevation. Since the following day is our first potential summit day we will spend most of the day training, discussing the climb, and packing for the climb before heading to bed early.

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 6 • Summit Day • Puncak Jaya • 16,024 feet

We begin our summit bid early in the morning. Moderate, technical rock climbing takes us up the featured limestone of the North Face Route. On the summit ridge, we enjoy a mix of rock climbing, via ferrata, and a Tyrolean traverse en route to the top of Oceania.

Vertical Ascent Climbing: 2,324 feet
Climbing Time: 7-10 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 7 • Flight to Timika

We will take a helicopter from the Yellow Valley Basecamp back down to sea level in Timika. After checking into our hotel we will have a celebratory dinner before departing the next day.

Accommodations: Hotel in Timika
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner (B, D)

Day 8 • Flight from Timika to Bali

Weather permitting, we begin our flights home, generally through either Bali or Jakarta.

Day 9 – 11 • Contingency Days

Additional days are allotted for weather and other delays, which may alter our flights and climbing schedule. These are not optional days. The weather in the Sundirman Range is notoriously unpredictable. We will try our best to follow our itinerary, but this is true adventure travel and we recommend that you arrive with an attitude, and a flight schedule, that allow delays beyond our 11-day itinerary.

Itinerary Notes
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner


Deposit and Payments

  • A non-refundable deposit of $10,000.00 per person secures your reservation.
  • The balance is due 120 days prior to the start date.
  • The deposit and balance can be paid by bank transfer, or wire transfer.
  • If your balance payment is not received 120 days before the start of your program, your reservation will be canceled, and all program fees forfeited.

Price Includes

  • Round-trip helicopter flights between Timika and base camp
  • Hotels in Timika (3 nights)
  • Tented accommodations
  • Scheduled meals during the expedition
  • Professional mountain guide
  • Permits
  • Luggage transport (limited to 15kg / 33lbs)
  • All group equipment for the expedition

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare and meals during travel
  • Domestic airfare (Bali – Timika – Bali)
  • Non-scheduled airport transfers
  • Non-scheduled meals
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal gear
  • Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
  • Single room supplement (hotels only) $300
  • Medical and evacuation coverage
  • Non-scheduled helicopter flights or lodging due to delays
  • Early departure fees
  • Excess baggage fees
  • Tips and gratuities


A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool or synthetic. Must covers the ears.
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Sunglasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Two pair (one spare).
  • Balaclava or Face Mask: Must cover all exposed skin.
  • Buffs: Two (2) buffs for sun and wind protection
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring extra batteries.

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: Two (2) synthetic, long-sleeve tops. One lightweight, one medium.
  • Mid-layer Top: This is a synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: A breathable but wind-and-weather-resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: GORE-TEX© or a fully waterproof shell. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Insulated Jacket: 700+ fill down. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Rain Poncho: A large, durable rain poncho
  • Umbrella: Very effective for rain protection


  • Lightweight Gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)
  • Softshell Gloves: One pair. Leather palms offer durability and grip.
  • Leather climbing gloves: One pair for protection from sharp limestone.
  • Heavyweight Gloves: Insulated glove or mitten with GORE-TEX or waterproof outer.
  • Heavyweight Mittens: Warm mittens with GORE-TEX or waterproof outer.

Lower Body

  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair medium weight long underwear. Synthetic, no cotton.
  • Climbing Pants: One pair, medium weight. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated.
  • Trekking Shorts: Synthetic, no cotton
  • Hardshell Pants: One pair of GORE-TEX© pants. Full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your hardshell pants without removing your boots.
  • Insulated Pants: One pair that fits loosely and comfortably.


  • Trekking Socks: Six pair synthetic medium weight
  • Hiking Boots or Trekking Shoes: One pair medium weight hiking boots/shoes large enough to be comfortable with your hiking socks.
  • Climbing Boots: Partial shank, synthetic or leather climbing boots, with some flex to be nimble enough for rock climbing. Carstensz receives wet weather. Your boots should be waterproof.
  • Sport Sandals or Camp Shoes: For use around camp or in lodges.
  • Rubber Boots: For hiking around camp in the rain
  • Gaiters: Heavy duty. Must fit over your boots.


  • Sleeping Bag: Bring a warm bag rated to -10ᵒ Fahrenheit.
  • Sleeping Pads: One full-length closed-cell foam pad and one full-length inflatable pad.

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 30-liter backpack with good support, adequate to carry your personal gear on summit day.
  • Duffel Bags: Two (2) large, rugged, waterproof PVC duffel bags for transporting gear.
  • Liner Bags: Five (5) large plastic contractor bags.
  • Pack Cover
  • Compression Sacks: A variety of stuff sacks and compression sacks for packing gear.

Climbing Gear

  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Alpine Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops.
  • Locking Carabiners: (3) Large pear-shaped, screw gate locking carabiners.
  • Non-locking Carabiners: (2) Wire gate non-locking carabiners.
  • Ascender: Left or right handed
  • Rappel/Delay device: Figure 8 recommended
  • Prussik Cord: 30 feet, 7mm perlon
  • Nylon Sling: (3) 120cm nylon slings
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates (for use in case of snow)
  • Trekking Poles
  • Ice Axe: 55-75cm mountaineering axe


  • Water Bottle: Two, 1L wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©
  • Water Bottle Parkas: Two, fully insulated water bottle covers.

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Snacks and drinks
  • Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
  • Personal toiletries.
  • Water treatment (iodine tabs, chlorine tabs, SteriPen or filter kit)
  • Small personal first-aid kit and medications
  • Drugs for altitude (consult your doctor)
  • Toilet paper
  • Blue bags or wag bags
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Earplugs
  • Book and/or Kindle
  • Baby wipes for “washing” on the mountain
  • Pee bottle, or pee funnel for women
  • Hand warmers (optional)
  • Bug spray



Program Location:
Begins and ends in Timika, Indonesia

Visa/Entry Information:
A passport and visa are required. American citizens will be issued a tourist visa upon arrival valid for 30 days.

Health & Immunizations:
Check with the CDC for updated immunization information.

Flight Travel Information:
Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS), Bali, Indonesia
Mozes Kilangin International Airport (TIM), Timika, Indonesia

International Departures:
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in-country in the destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.

Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.

A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Carstensz Pyramid Fitness & Training

Climbing Grade: Intermediate

Although we don’t climb with heavy packs on Carstensz Pyramid, this is a technical rock climb at moderately high altitude with some steep and exposed sections. All climbers should have solid technical rock climbing experience and excellent physical fitness. To safely complete the climb, you should be prepared to climb fixed lines, sections of rock and Tyrolean traverses, and then descend via a series of rappels, all while wearing a roughly 20-pound pack.

If you don’t already possess strong rock or ice climbing skills, we recommend that you take our private Carstensz Pyramid Prep Course. We would be glad to teach you the skills you need to climb the highest mountain in Oceania!

Here’s a suggested progression of climbs before attempting Carstensz Pyramid:

  • Carstensz Pyramid Prep Course
  • Rock or alpine climbing experience
  • Northwest Climb (Mount Shuksan, Sahale Peak, Forbidden Peak)

Frequently Asked Questions

How hard is this climb and what technical skills do I need?

The classic North Face Route consists of moderate limestone rock climbing up to about 5.6 in difficulty, at moderately high altitudes. You should have some rock climbing experience, plus rappelling, fixed line, and via ferrata skills. Ice axe, crampon and self-arrest skills may be helpful but are not required. If you want to join this expedition, but lack these skills, please let us know. We would be happy to help you prepare prior to the trip!

Why do we take helicopters to base camp?

The overland route between Timika and Yellow Valley Base Camp is long, wet and strenuous. Flying allows us to focus on the climb, and ensures that we arrive in base camp feeling fit and fresh. What’s more, the helicopter flight is spectacular. For many climbers, flying over the rainforest and into the heart of the Sundirman Range is one of the most memorable experiences of the trip.

Will I have time to explore other parts of Indonesia?

Our expedition begins and ends in Timika. However, most of our climbers schedule extra days to explore more of Indonesia. Most flights go through the world-famous island resort of Bali, and many of our team members relax there with friends or loved ones after the climb.

How much weight will be in my pack on summit day?

Our summit packs will weigh about 20 pounds. We’ll carry warm clothing layers, food, water, and personal climbing gear.

What are the camps like?

On Carstensz Pyramid we use only one camp: our Yellow Valley Base Camp. We provide high quality facilities, including a dining tent with table and chairs, private toilet, and top-quality mountaineering tents for climbers. Tents are double occupancy.

What if the weather interferes with our itinerary?

The weather around Carstensz Pyramid can be wet and unpredictable. We have a very high success rate on the mountain, and we achieve that by adapting our climbing schedule and helicopter flights around the weather. Our 11-day itinerary includes contingency days, but we recommend that team members leave some leeway in their schedules for potential additional delays. Climbing in West Papua is true adventure travel! To make the most of your trip, you should arrive in Indonesia with a flexible and positive mindset.

Will I be able to contact friends and family during the expedition?

In Timika, there is limited cellular and WiFi service. Base camp is remote, with no cellular or internet service. We will bring a satellite phone for emergency use.

Is it safe to travel to West Papua?

The area around Carstenz Pyramid is generally safe as long as we follow common sense travel protocols. We will review safe travel practices at our gear check and ensure that local staff and guides are always available to answer questions. By traveling in a group we mitigate risks.


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