21st March 2011 // Hi Guys. Just got back to the hotel in Timika. We left the chief’s house at 4.30am this morning and caught the twin otter at 8am. First the breakfast buffet to try and put some weight back on! Then the pool to wash, as our room isn't ready till noon! Feeling a little beat up, but really looking forward to hooking up with Steve (Williams) and cracking on! Really enjoyed this leg and it was my first real test where it asked some serious questions, it was tough but totally awesome.
One of the guys went for a wee last night in the chief’s house and walked in on a group of Papuans around a big pot downstairs with some sort of animal in it! Seriously! After hearing that, I was happy to have my pee bottle! Ha! oh yeah, I had my clothes and boots stolen last night! Trousers, top, pants, socks (my last good pair!) and boots. All my wet gear from the trek back! Luckily I had another pair of trousers and my Scarpa approach shoes! The Indonesian people are really lush and it was a privilege to get a small insight into their culture. What an awesome leg of my challenge. I am really excited about the North Pole next as well.
20th March 2011 // Back at the chiefs house in ilaga. 2 tough days of trekking out, 2535m. I hate the jungle. Flying tomorrow to Timika. I am 85kg and have lost 9kg. Got split from the group in jungle today, I had to trail find by following fresh footprints!
18th March 2011 // At 3800m at camp. It’s absolutely chucking it down with rain, pretty standard really! We had a 9 hour day today and are aiming to get back in 4 days so are adding the hours on and having long days to get back in good time. Tomorrow will be a similar 9/10 hour day. There has been so much rain that some of the rivers are quite high now so we have had to take our trousers off and wade through rivers that are now waist high. The Carstensz casualty list is ever growing! The list of casualties so far are as follows; 1 pair of boots, 1 pair of gloves, 2 pairs of socks, 3 cameras including video camera, a jacket, a pair of trousers, my Scarpa trainers, a trekking pole and part of my sanity! Speak soon, Rich.
17th March 2011 // Hi Guys. At camp 4, 3745m. I am physically and mentally beat up! It has rained solid for 4 days without opportunity to dry anything. Really tough to keep gear and me dry. The moisture has killed my cameras too. We have about a 90k trek out in 3 days. Rich.
15th March 2011 // RICHARD REACHES THE SUMMIT OF CARSTENSZ PYRAMID!
Richard reaches the summit of 4,884m/16,023ft Carstensz Pyramid at 8.28am local time on Wednesday 16th March, 11.28pm on Tuesday 15th March UK time, completing his trek and climb in 7 days. Read our news article for more info.
15th March 2011 // Update from Rich at 6.05am UK time, 3.05pm local time. Summit aborted due to heavy rain and snow. It has rained for 2 days now. Pushing for summit tonight whatever as time is vital.
14th March 2011 // Hi Guys, it's Mon 14th 10.02am UK time, 7.02pm local time here. Arrived at base camp today. Had a 7 hour scramble in heavy rain. Pretty tough. Leaving at 2am tonight for Summit. We are at 4270m. The weather was so bad today that I still haven’t actually seen Carstensz yet! Hopefully next time we speak it will be from the summit! Night guys.
13th March 2011 // Morning guys, it’s Monday morning here. Yesterday was the longest and toughest day by far, just over 10 hrs of pretty tough trekking, wading through shin deep swamps and rivers and finally a bit of scrambling at the end to get to camp. We are at 3645m.
We had another Porters strike, a pretty serious one. In the end we had to negotiate another pay rise in order for the Porters to continue.
We are now at the base of the mountain range. From now on we start to scramble and climb up to base camp tonight.
Yesterday on route one of the local Papuan kids had a slingshot, I wondered what he was going to do with it and then we saw him put a little rock in it and kill a bird. Then he ripped the wings off the bird and they had it for tea last night, which was pretty wild. We have also got a dog which has been following us all the way from Ilaga, its mad that it’s got this far, it’s a little black mix, not sure how high he’s gonna get! Will be pretty interesting! Speak to you all soon from base camp.
12th March 2011 // Yesterday (Sat 12th, it’s the morning of Sun 13th now) was another really long, tough day, over 8 hours. We had one of the guides leave us and turn back as he is unwell with Malaria. We are on open meadows now and we had to cross 5 rivers yesterday, which was tough going. Some you could walk over rocks and stones or negotiate a route, others we had to take off boots and gear and wade through. At midday one of our porters went on strike, notched up a fire and renegotiated his rates before carrying on! Our Indonesian head guide manages the guys really well and the issue was resolved pretty quickly but that was quite bizarre!
The weather has not been too bad at all but the problem of wet clothes is still pretty savage. The problem is we are climbing and trekking for such long days we are in camp when there is little sun so we don’t have enough time to dry our gear. After yesterday’s walk my stuff was absolutely buzzing and soaking wet so I decided to try and dry my boots by the campfire except I have melted a hole in them! So that’s one down jacket, one pair of gloves and now my boots I have burned in recent months! I have now been banned from getting too near the fire!! I have plugged the hole with glue and duct tape so today will be interesting to see if they remain waterproof, seriously I am miffed, can’t believe I have a hole in my boots!
We trekked to 3705m yesterday. Another hard 8/9 hour day today, setting off shortly and then tomorrow we should be at base camp. We could potentially summit the day after.
11th March 2011 // Hi Guys, its breakfast time again. At 3450m, yesterday was another full 8-hour day across the plateau and exposed rocks. It was nice to finally get out in to the open a little after trekking through dense jungle. We had little rain too which was great and managed to stay dry. Height wise we haven’t moved much higher, there has been a lot of up and down but we have made good ground and now only a few days away from base camp.
Last night we set up camp next to a stream, which was great so we could wash. Our porters slept in a cave where they normally bury the dead about 100m above us.
Got about another 3 days of similar terrain across the plateau until base camp. Feeling good today. Crazy to hear about the earthquake and Tsunami. So far the news is good and no signs of West Papua being affected despite a Tsunami warning.
10th March 2011 // Hi Guys.
Sorry for the delay. Getting reception on my sat phone here has been tricky as we have so much cover with the jungle.
It’s been a pretty tough few days. After my day resting in the hotel we got a flight to Ilaga on the 9th (We are 9 hours ahead of you so it is currently Friday 11th here now) which was basically a concrete landing strip on the side of the jungle. We then had a few hours trek and then stayed at a Papua Family’s home for the evening. We had a warm welcome and stayed with the chief of the village and his family in their home which is like a basic wooden house and had rice and chicken for dinner.
We also saw some of the villages preparing fires for a traditional Papua burial ceremony for someone who had passed away, which was interesting.
The next morning after sweet potatoes for breakfast the chief of the village hosted a big discussion where our porters were selected for our climb. He chose porters from each of the tribes for the mountain so we can cross tribal boundaries easily. There was a big debate about who would go from what tribe, which was fascinating to watch.
That took about an hour and then we had a full 8-hour trek in really tough conditions. Physically it was one of the toughest days I have had so far on the challenge.
The terrain is a mixture of beaten tracks and areas where you have to force your way through but it’s pretty uncomfortable all day…hot, humid and uncontrollable sweating. There’s lots of bugs and because of the rain we are climbing through well, mud really, which is shin deep so physically every step has added resistance. We climbed 1300m so it was a tough day. Then there’s the rain! Everything is soaking wet. We arrived in camp before 4pm with about an hour of sun left, washed ourselves and all of our clothes in the stream as everything is wet and soaked in mud. So by the time morning comes around our gear isn’t dry in time so we are all putting on damp and wet clothes. It’s path of the course really here and we’ll have this pretty much until we get home!
Of course it is awesome just being in a place like this, it’s amazing but so far really uncomfortable and pretty grim! This is nothing like Welsh rain, not even Manchester rain, it’s next level!!
We are at camp 1 now which is 3470m, the guys are just getting ready after breakfast and then we set off again soon.
Speak soon guys!
8th March 2011 // It looks as if the weather is too bad to fly today, been raining - and I mean raining!! All day/night. So were waiting until tomorrow now to fly to Sugapa. Mega hot and humid, but we are in a pretty nice hotel, so no drama and I get to catch up on some sleep!
6th March 2011 // Hi Guys
I am in West Papua! The tiny airport of Timika was mega busy today as all the mine employees that would have been transported to the mine by vehicle can’t because all the roads have been washed out by rain! It’s mega hot, about 20 degrees, 90% humidity and it’s only 7.30am!
Thanks for all your suggestions of luxury items, once again the Pickled Onion Monster Munch nearly made it and I loved reading all the suggestions on Twitter and Facebook!
My luxury item this leg is my Lifeventure collapsible umbrella, seriously, it can rain over here! Insect repellent is a must not a luxury! My sleeping mat can double as a yoga mat!
Still not much sleep for me. I was thinking, how many flights have I been on so far on the expedition? Might work that out. We had dinner on the beach last night, amazing…would have been better with a bird, ha ha!
Speak to you tomorrow, a day of sleeping ahead now after breakfast.
6th March 2011 // I arrived in Bali about 6am GMT. We are 8 hours ahead here. I didn't sleep a wink on the 17-hour journey, proper tired! But I did see some good films!
Its mega hot here, humid and about 32 degrees! I met some of the team, from all over the world - Canada, New Zealand, Germany and France, there's 5 of us in total. My roommate lost his wife to breast cancer 3 years ago and is climbing Everest in support next year.
I have had little rest this week. I haven't had a proper nights sleep since before summit day on Kili. Packing before I left was mega tough too, I had to pack a drum to send on to Everest base camp, a bag for the North Pole for my folks to meet me with in the hotel and another for my trek in to Everest base camp! My head hurts!!
We leave at midnight today to fly Timika in Papua and maybe on to Sugapa where we should start the trek in to base camp from. We might have an overnight in a hotel before, will have wait and see!
I am excited about climbing Carstensz though and the adventure that lies ahead.
Here is my schedule so you know what is planned, subject to change as always!
Day 1 - Arrive Denpasar (Bali) Exped briefing, gear checks etc and meet the team
Day 2 – Fly to Timika in Papua. Onward flight to Sugapa or overnight in hotel
Day 3 – Fixed wing flight to Sugapa (2100m)
Day 4 – Meet Porters and prepare for trek
Day 5 – Short day trekking down to river through villages to Suwamggwa (5 hrs)
Day 6 – Trek through jungle, camp at 2200m (7 hrs)
Day 7 – Trek through jungle, camp at 3200m (9 hrs)
Day 8 – Trek through open meadows, camp at 3600m (6 hrs)
Day 9 – Trek through open meadows, camp at foot of New Zealand Pass, 3700m (5 hrs)
Day 10 – Climb up to Larson Lake and over New Zealand Pass (4400m) to Base Camp, 4250m (4 hrs). Rest afternoon and prepare for the climb to summit.
Day 11 – Summit day, return to base camp
Day 12 – Spare summit day or hike to Glacier near East Carstensz Peak
Day 13 – Short day trekking out over New Zealand Pass, 3700m
Day 14 – Trek through open meadows to camp near the jungle, 3200m (9 hrs)
Day 15 – Trek through jungle (8 hrs)
Day 16 – Trek to Sugapa (8 hrs)
Day 17 – Fly to Timika
Day 18 – Flight back to Bali.