Carstensz Pyramid Overview
Carstensz Pyramid, also known as Puncak Jaya, is the highest summit of Mount Carstensz. It is also the highest point in Indonesia, sitting at 16,024ft above sea level.
A climb up Carstensz Pyramid is very different when compared to the other Seven Summits - it will take you on the most remote, and adventurous, climb. All climbers will need to have rock climbing experience to partake, as they will be expected to do some rock scrambling and fixed-line travel. Due to this, the Carstensz Pyramid has been graded up to 5.6 in difficulty.
Quick Facts About Carstensz Pyramid
- Carstensz Pyramid is found in the Sudirman Range. It’s actually the highest mountain in the whole of Oceania.
- Carstensz Pyramid was named after the Dutch explorer Jan Carstenszoon. In 1623, he became the first person to see the glaciers on the mountain. It took two centuries for people to believe him!
- Mount Carstensz is pretty tricky to reach due to being in such a remote location. Climbers either have to trek through West Papua or get a helicopter directly to base camp.
History of Carstensz Pyramid
In 1936, an expedition named the ‘Dutch Carstensz Expedition’ set off to climb all three summits at Mount Carstensz. Three members of the expedition successfully reached the East Carstensz and Ngga Pula summits, but failed to reach the summit of Carstensz Pyramid due to poor weather.
The Carstensz Pyramid was not successfully climbed until 1962. All four members (Heinrich Harrer, Philip Temple, Russell Kippax and Albertus Huizenga) made it to the summit.
Carstensz Pyramid was actually renamed to Puncak Jaya in 1963 when Indonesia took control of the province. Puncak means ‘peak’ and Jaya means ‘victory’. Although it had an official name change, many climbers continue to call the peak Carstensz Pyramid.
Experience Required for Climbing Carstensz Pyramid
Mount Carstensz might be the lowest of the Seven Summits, but it’s actually one of the hardest to climb.
Carstensz Pyramid has been graded up to 5.6 in difficulty. It is also very physically demanding. All team members need to be in great physical condition and have rock climbing and ropework experience. Expect to tackle fixed-line travel and rock scrambling.
As well as having experience in rock climbing, all team members need to have experience in acclimatization. Ideally, climbers should have climbed to over 5,000m before embarking on a Carstensz Pyramid expedition.
Main Routes at Carstensz Pyramid
There are currently three routes at the Carstensz Pyramid - The Normal Route (Harrer’s Route), East Ridge Route and The American Direct Route. The majority of climbers who have successfully reached the summit used the Normal Route, as it is slightly less challenging.
The Normal Route at Carstensz Pyramid ascends a 600m wall. The route follows gullies up the north face until you are faced with the ridge. This ridge has notches and certainly requires rock climbing experience to climb. With that being said, the rock is sturdy and very rarely falls loose.
On the descent, the majority of Carstensz Pyramid has to be roped down.