Saturday, September 22, 2012

Carstensz Pyramid in Pictures...

So upon reflection I've decided that the most effective way to recap Carstensz Pyramid is to do a very picture-heavy blog post. This is what I've come up with. Hopefully you'll get a good sense of what our adventure was like from these stunning photographs taken primarily by my mother and myself.

Flying into the jungle was a fascinating experience. The day before we flew in, local militants had blocked the runway, threatening to shoot any planes that tried to land. When we arrived, however, everyone seemed happy, nice, and welcoming.

Unloading our gear from the small Cessna that flew us into Sugapa, a village connected to the outside world solely by this small airstrip.

Walking by the locals gathered to watch the day's entertainment: the new batch of foreigners here to climb Jaya Wijaya (the Indonesia name for Carstensz Pyramid). 
A local woman selling cigarettes and a local form of lipstick that she was modeling herself.

The main drag of Sugapa, a town comprised of five different Papua tribes, each with its own language.  
Archery is a favorite local sport, pastime, and hunting tool. 

This guy is a pretty badass archer. 
And yes, penis gourds. These are the traditional attire and so are primarily worn by older men.

A cute local kid.
The local huts...notice the huge fire inside. That's the local method of preventing mosquitoes, leeches, and cold.
Some local kids standing outside one of the local stores.
A fierce looking local...
Local women selling wares along the main road of Sugapa.

And the jungle trek begins...

An auspicious start to our trek... 
Complete with (wet) log crossings over raging rapids. Talk about dangerous... 

And tons of rain, and deep, deep mud...

A typical campsite during the latter stages of the jungle trek.

Ed striking a model pose.

My mother extracting herself from a deep mud pit. Picture this x 1,000,000 and that was our jungle trek experience.

A couple of days the terrain changed and it got more barren and rocky. Still muddy, but this time there was rock climbing which always makes life more interesting...
Resting after a long day of jungle hiking.
Stuck in the mud...check out how deeply my right foot is planted into the swamp.

You never know when you might need to climb up a root system suspended 10 ft above the ground...

Almost to Base Camp! We were so close we could almost taste it.

And the summit push begins...

Reaching the summit ridge just before the sun came up.
My mother pulling herself across the Tyrolean Traverse along the summit ridge.
An unbelievable view from the top...apparently the best summit weather our guides had ever seen. You can actually see the ocean in this picture...

Don't look down...huge two-thousand foot drops on either side...just keep walking, one careful step at a time.
My amazing mother atop the highest peak in Australasia.

WAHOO!!!! Another summit down!

The whole group atop the summit of Carstensz Pyramid on a beautiful August morning!

Me (in center wearing light blue) pulling myself across the Tyrolean Traverse on our descent of the summit ridge of Carstensz after reaching the top.

Returning to Sugapa from the mountain with Carstensz Pyramid in the background.

More river crossings...did I mention how dangerous these things were? And how the log was wet and slippery?

Such beautiful, strong people. 

You just could never get rid of those damn bugs...
Back in Sugapa buying a Fanta from the local grocery store.

And we're back in Bali...yay!

Hope you enjoyed that picture summary of our Carstensz Pyramid expedition. It was truly incredible!

Sugapa to Timika to Bali (a.k.a. Civilization!)

And we're back in civilization!! We got up early (around 5am) to be at the airstrip in case our plane arrived early to Sugapa. Since we were all eager to get out of the jungle, no one complained. We actually ended up waiting several hours, but around 9am our plane arrived and we hopped on. The flight back to Timika was quick and easy and we went straight to the other terminal to arrange our connecting flights to Bali. The agents were helpful and allowed us to change our flights to the flight that was departing in an hour. We purchased some local goods (primarily penis gourds) and then boarded our flight. Now we've landed in Bali and are in a form of culture shock after the past two weeks in the primitive jungles of Papua. It's nice to have a shower and a toilet again! Now we have a couple days of R&R in Bali before heading back Stateside. I think we're all going to take advantage of it!

Eating a delicious seafood meal back in Bali!