Well it didn’t take long for the adventure part of Carstensz Pyramid to begin. I finally made it to the southern mining town of Timika today, Sunday, after leaving home on Wednesday spending almost all of the time flying or in airports.
My journey took me from Denver to Los Angles to Bangkok; then directly to the Bali airport of Denpasar where I met up with the rest of the Mountain Trip team and our leader, Scott Woolums who was passing on one delay after another to us – all part of the “flexibility” required on a trip like this. Unlike a climb of Kilimanjaro where the logistics are well know and organized, Carstensz is a literal fly by the seat of your pants experience.
We were supposed to take a couple of days in Bali to recover from jet lag then at the last minute we flew from Denpasar to Jayapura and on to Timika.
It seemed our helicopter flight had been moved back a day then moved back up and as of now, we are not sure when it will take us to base camp. The other complicating factor is that the workers for the local mine are on strike creating havoc in this jungle village. One casualty was the closure of our hotel so at the last minute we switched to another to wait out the helicopter situation. Another was the lack of fuel at the airport.
So all in all, nothing too serious and , believe it or not, kind of business as usual for a Carstensz expedition. So taking it all in stride, we had a team dinner at the hotel in Bali last night before catching our 2:00AM flight enjoying a local Balinese Dance group and a group picture!
As we flew across Papua, I grabbed a window seat (and moved away from the wiggly 2-year-old sitting next me) to snap a few jungle pictures. We flew directly over the Sudirman Range which holds Carstensz. There were a few patches of snow visible – amazing since we are only a few hundred miles from the equator.
So the plan is, first for me to get some sleep! Then we will probably take a fixed winged plane from sea level here at Timika to 7000 feet at Sugapa. There we either start the 6 days trek in or the helicopter picks us up and we fly to the Lakes Base Camp around 14,000′. Our local logistics contact keeps assuring us that the helicopter is a certainty. I really hope so!
I will continue to do updates but they will be shorter with fewer pictures as we enter the jungle where the reception is poor with the sat phone. For those using Facebook as your primary way of tracking me, I suggest you go directly to this Blog and/or sign up for notification (see the form on the bottom of the right sidebar of this page) of new dispatches due to all the recent and impending changes to Facebook.
Finally, I will turn the SPOT tracker on tomorrow. Use the “Where is Alan” tab to follow our progress.
My helmet camera is ready to record the Tyrolean Traverse and anything else I may run into. This is definitely one for creating memories of a lifetime.
Memories are Everything