Rising above the rainforests on the island of New Guinea stands the tallest peak on Oceania and one of the Seven Summits, Carstensz Pyramid (16,023’).
- Scale the most exotic of the Seven Summits in an adventure entailing an amazing and exciting high-altitude rock climb!
- Rely on RMI’s unmatched logistical support. With more than 40 years of experience leading mountaineering expeditions, we have the ability and connections to deal with the uncertainties of climbing Carstensz Pyramid, a mountain notorious for its logistical challenges.
- RMI continues to set the standard in guiding excellence by offering a thoroughly complete experience. As with other adventures on the planet, we don’t miss the rich cultural aspects of the areas to which we visit.
Beginning our adventures in Bali, we gather as a team before flying to Timika, a small town on the south coast of New Guinea. Base Camp lies in an absolutely beautiful setting, where jagged limestone peaks rise above milky blue alpine lakes.
The climbing is a moderate technical challenge, involving mostly rock scrambling and fixed line travel. There are a few sections on the route that require rock climbing skills up to 5.6 difficulty.
Carstensz Pyramid is a one day climb, necessitating a pre-dawn departure to avoid the afternoon equatorial precipitation. Proficiency with fixed ropes, ascenders, rappelling, and experience rock climbing are required. After completing our climb, we return from the mountain to Timika and onward to Bali.
Climbing and traveling in Papua entails a great deal of uncertainty and requires tremendous flexibility. In addition to the fickle equatorial weather amplified by high altitudes, political and bureaucratic challenges exist and can hinder the progress of the expedition. For these reasons, we build additional flexibility into our itinerary and request that all team members fully understand the nature of where we are going.
THE RMI DIFFERENCE
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. was established in 1969 and is one of America’s oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Denali and leaders in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge to create the best possible trips, and we work hard to live up to our reputation as an industry leader. Our trip preparation before departure takes care of the details for you, from hotels to airport transfers, so that you can focus on preparing for the climb instead of the distraction that comes with coordinating logistics.
Our Carstensz Pyramid Expedition is led by RMI’s top guides who bring years of climbing experience not only on Carstensz Pyramid but on mountains all over the world, from the Andes to the Alaska Range to the Himalayas.
As you reach higher elevations and test the limits of your experience, the value of an accomplished, highly trained RMI Guide, one held to our standards and who has previously reached the summit, cannot be understated.
We use RMI's own climbing equipment brought from the U.S., ensuring that our expedition standards of safety, quality, and reliability are met. Our menu is carefully planned before the expedition, keeping our team happy and healthy throughout the expedition. Our exceptional focus on detail, our unparalleled level of climber attention, and our genuine excitement for these adventures are what make our programs truly memorable.
Safety has always been RMI’s top priority, and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. RMI’s experienced team of guides focus on leading a fun and successful climb without compromising safety. We apply the same standards of safety we bring to Alaska and the Himalayas to our climbs of Carstensz Pyramid. Careful planning, precise ascent profiles with ample contingency days, and diligent attention to logistical details are taken as we venture to high altitudes. The remoteness of Carstensz Pyramid demands that comprehensive medical kits and satellite communication equipment are carried with the team throughout the trip.
As you prepare for your upcoming adventure, please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or [email protected].
CTT Destinations Travel Coordinator Pirjo DeHart has served climbers and adventurers for over 25 years. Specializing in small corporate and adventure travel, she works to assure your trip is stress-free by taking care of the practical travel details and evaluating travel insurance. Each trip is handled with the utmost attention to detail so that you may focus on your adventure. You can contact Pirjo by phone at (425) 831-0367 or email: [email protected].
Due to the remote nature of this program, we require everyone to purchase travel insurance, which includes a medical evacuation policy with minimum coverage of $500,000.
Navigating through the different options for travel insurance can be confusing. To help make the process straightforward, we have partnered with Ripcord Insurance because their policies are specifically designed for adventure travel and offer coverage for remote areas, and for activities like mountaineering, climbing, skiing, and trekking, without any altitude restrictions. Travel Guard and Travelex Insurance also provide travel insurance.
When purchasing Travel Insurance, here are a few items to consider:
- Read the fine print. Travel Insurance will reimburse you when canceling for a covered reason for prepaid, non-refundable trip costs that you insure. However, there are exclusions, so make sure you understand the "covered reasons."
- Confirm that your activity is a covered “activity.” Not all travel insurance policies will offer coverage for activities such as mountaineering, climbing, skiing, or trekking adventures. Policies can also exclude coverage for activities due to the gear used (crampons, ice axe), for activities that go above certain elevations, or for activities in a particular region of the world. If there are exclusions, you may need to add an "Adventure" or "Sports" package to cover your activity.
- Verify that your state of residence is allowed with the policy that you are purchasing. Not all insurance companies offer policies in all 50 states.
- Contact your travel protection company directly for any questions you have regarding benefits or coverage.
Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance is travel insurance designed for adventurers, including the best evacuation and rescue services available.
Benefits are tailored for adventurers and include:
- Rescue and evacuation from the point of illness or emergency to your home hospital of choice.
- Trip cancellation/interruption, primary medical expense coverage, sporting goods, baggage loss, emergency dental, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) and more.
- Completely integrated one-stop program with a single contact for emergency services to travel assistance and insurance claims.
- 24/7 access to paramedics, nurses and military veterans.
- Security extraction in case of unexpected dangerous and chaotic events.
- Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) options and pre-existing condition waiver within 14 days of your initial trip deposit.
Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance is powered by Redpoint Resolutions, a medical and travel security risk company. Their team is comprised of special operations veterans, paramedics, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, former intelligence officers, insurance actuaries and global security experts with dozens of years of experience in theaters around the world. The Redpoint network covers the globe, making them uniquely equipped to provide elite rescue travel insurance – in every sense of the word. Whether it’s reimbursing you for a cancelled trip, paying your travel medical bills or evacuating you home in an emergency, Ripcord takes the worry out of your travel.
Security & Medical Evacuation
Global Rescue is the world’s premier provider of medical and security advisory and evacuation services. Security Evacuation offers crisis evacuation services in non-medical situations. Examples include evacuations from areas affected by natural disasters, war or conflict zones, terrorism, and other areas in which participant security is threatened.
Travel Advisories / Warnings
Please confirm any current travel advisories/warnings as well as entry requirements with the U.S. Department of State.
Our expedition will begin and end in Bali, Indonesia. Your flight will require approximately 24 to 36 hours to reach the capital city of Denpasar, Bali (DPS) and will cross the International Date Line. Most flights from the United States require a stop in a major city such as Tokyo, Singapore, Taipei, or Bangkok en route to Denpasar. Flights generally arrive in Denpasar in the afternoon on Day 2 of the itinerary.
Departing flights may be booked for any time on Day 13 of the itinerary.
Visa: We are required to obtain a standard tourist visa when entering Indonesia. We recommend obtaining a “Visa on Arrival” ($35) in Denpasar, Bali.
Passport: A passport valid for six months beyond your expected return date, with two entirely blank pages, is required when entering Indonesia. We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a backup. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.
Surat Jalan: The special permits for traveling and climbing in Papua (known as the "Surat Jalan") will be obtained by RMI.
Upon arrival at the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, follow signs to the Arrivals Building. First, proceed to the Visa-on-Arrival booth. Check that the date covers your complete stay. Then head to the Immigrations desk for foreign travelers.
Once you receive your bags from Baggage Claim, proceed to Customs. There will be a random selection of bags for inspection. Be sure to keep your bags together. Your RMI guide will meet you once you have cleared Customs. We will then transfer to our hotel.
Immunizations & Travel Medicine
For the most current information on inoculation requirements and recommendations, please refer to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.
Travelers may suffer from upset stomachs when in foreign countries. There are some basic rules, however, that can help keep you healthy.
- Hygiene - It is important that you wash your hands thoroughly before meals and after using the restroom. If water is not available for washing, we recommend using a hand sanitizer.
- Water - The number one rule is: don't drink the water, and that includes shower water and ice! Brush your teeth with purified water rather than tap water. You should check bottled water for a good seal and use a napkin to wipe dry excess moisture in drinking glasses. Take care with fruit juice, particularly if it has been diluted with water. Carefully clean the tops of bottled beverages before opening.
- Mosquitoes - Be careful to protect yourself from mosquitoes while in Bali. Use DEET meticulously and spray your room before you go to sleep.
The general level of sanitation and health care in Indonesia is far below U.S. standards. Some routine medical care is available in all major cities, although most travelers leave the country for all but the simplest medical procedures. If a hospital were needed, care should be sought in Java (Jakarta), Singapore, or Australia rather than in Timika or Jayapura. A current list of English-speaking doctors and hospitals is available via the U.S. Embassy Jakarta's website.
Global Rescue provides advisory, rescue, and evacuation services to climbers and trekkers who purchase memberships. RMI purchases medical assistance and security evacuation coverage for the guides on this program, and we strongly encourage you to consider the same. Global Rescue provides:
- 24 hr medical advisory services from critical care paramedics and in-house physicians
- Field Rescue from the point of illness or injury
- Evacuation back to the member’s home hospital of choice
- Deployable medical personnel in the case of hospitalization abroad
Oceania is a region centered on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. The term is sometimes used to denote the area of Australasia or sometimes all the islands between Asia and the Americas.
Australasia includes Australia and the island group of Indonesia. This relocates the “seventh summit” from the Australian continent (Kosciuszko) to the Australasian highpoint (Carstensz).
Indonesia consists of more than 17,500 islands spread over 3,400 miles along the Equator. The main islands are Java, Sumatra, Bali, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi (Celebes), Papua, Halmahera, and Seram. The capital, Jakarta, lies in the lowlands of West Java. The country has approximately 246,000,000 people and more than 300 ethnic groups. Indonesia's geographic location and topography make the country prone to natural disasters, especially seismic upheaval due to its location on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. Indonesia is a developing country with a growing economy and severe infrastructure shortcomings.
New Guinea is comprised of Papua (western half) and Papua New Guinea (or PNG; the eastern half). The straight north-south line that separates Papua from Papua New Guinea is a colonial-era legacy: an arbitrary line that demarcated the Dutch held portion of the island from that held by Great Britain and Germany.
Papua is the largest province of Indonesia and includes the western half of New Guinea. Papua is home to approximately 250 to 300 different tribes. The central mountainous region of Papua is home to the highland peoples, who practice pig husbandry and sweet potato cultivation. The lowland peoples live in swampy and malarial coastal regions, and live by hunting the abundant game and gathering. The people are ethnically distinct from the Indonesians who control their country. The evolution from Papua’s status as the former colony of Netherlands New Guinea to its current place in the Indonesian state is long and complex.
Carstensz Pyramid is located in the Central Mountain Range that crosses the entire island of New Guinea. In Papua, the Central Range’s Maoke Mountains (a translation of “Sneeuwgebergte” or “Snow Mountains”) include the Sudirman Range, which is dominated by Carstensz Pyramid at 16,023 ft./4,884 m. The Indonesian name for Carstensz is Puncak Jaya, meaning “Victory Peak.” The Moni name for Carstensz is Mbai Ngela, meaning "Forbidden Egg." The story is that in years gone by when the mountain was snow covered, it resembled an egg, and the fore-fathers forbade their people from going there because it was the hunting grounds of evil spirits, and those spirits always killed those who ventured there. Even today, villagers have a very difficult time understanding the science of hypothermia and often will point to and tell of places along the way where the spirits have killed a poor wayfarer!
Lying along the equator, Indonesia has a tropical climate, with distinct monsoonal wet and dry seasons. The average annual rainfall in the lowlands varies from 70 to 125 inches, and up to 240 inches in the mountain. The rainiest months are November through March. After March the weather stabilizes, though it can still rain every day. Rain is part of the jungle! While there are brief periods of dry weather, they are not predictable. Humidity is high, averaging about 80%. Temperatures vary little throughout the year; the average daily temperature of Jakarta is 79-86 degrees F. For current weather conditions, check Weather Underground.
Although it is not expected that we dress formally, we should dress modestly. Casual and comfortable clothing is suggested, along with comfortable shoes. Even when traveling the short distances between our hotel and the beaches in Bali, it is considered a good practice to be conservatively covered.
"Amakane" is perhaps the most important phrase you should learn when visiting Papua. It is the traditional Moni tribal greeting, used by both men and women, which literally means, "Welcome to my bosom." The message is warm and welcoming and implies, “I offer to nurture you.”
Papua and its people are very photogenic, and the photos you take will be priceless. Ask for permission before photographing individuals, particularly indigenous people. Many of the locals are used to posing for photographs. If in doubt, either ask or refrain. Don't photograph any government or military property or persons; this includes the airport. Please visit http://climbcarstensz.wordpress.com/category/customs-culture/, where RMI guide Alex Van Steen has posted several interesting articles related to the culture and customs of Papua.
There are three Indonesian outlets. All are 220V/230V, 50 Hz. A universal plug adaptor and step-down (220-to-110 V) traveler’s voltage converter are necessary for charging phones, computers, etc.
Voltage in Papua is unstable. A personal solar charger such as the Brunton Solaris 6 may be the safest and most reliable way to charge your electronics.
The official currency of Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). Check a financial newspaper or www.xe.com for the current exchange rate prior to departure.
We suggest bringing $600 for personal spending money, including restaurant meals, drinks, pocket money, and the Support Staff Tip Pool.
Exchanging money in Bali is quite easy, and there are several money changers immediately outside of Customs/Immigrations. You may choose to bring more depending on your shopping plans and length of stay.
We find that credit cards are generally the easiest way to pay for restaurants. We recommend you balance the amount of cash you bring with the ability to get money in Indonesia and suggest using your credit card whenever possible.
Everyone approaches tipping a little differently. Whether or not a person tips, and how much, is completely dependent upon the individual; here are some suggested tipping guidelines for your trip.
Local waiters, drivers, and other service personnel expect to be tipped. Ten to fifteen percent is standard. Some restaurants and hotels add a 10% service fee to bills in which case, no further tip is required.
Support Staff Tip Pool: We recommend that each climber contribute $50 to the Tip Pool. This is collected at the beginning of the trip and will cover group tips for all our support and mountain staff throughout the program.
Our guides work hard to ensure your well-being and success on the mountain. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of enjoyment. Tips for excellent service normally average 10 – 15% of the cost of the program. If you would rather not bring the guide gratuity with you on the trip, you can send a check or call the RMI office to pay with a credit card upon your return.
Introducing Papua and Highlands of Papua by Kal Muller, 2011. Kal, a respected authority and prolific writer on the indigenous peoples of Papua, wrote the texts in this series primarily to help indigenous Papuan students understand their rich heritage and culture. You can read Chapter 1 of Introducing Papua and Chapter 7 of Highlands of Papua here.
Peace Child by Don Richardson, 2005. In 1962, Don and Carol Richardson lived as missionaries among the Sawi people, a Papuan tribe that practiced headhunting and cannibalism. While such practices have not been recorded among the highland tribes where we will travel, the Richardson’s experiences help us understand some of the cultural values we notice throughout our trip.
This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition with moderate technical climbing ability. Confidence moving on easy fifth-class rock, on fixed ropes, and through multiple rappels is required. Proficiency with technical climbing skills such as use of anchors, use of ascenders on fixed lines, and familiarity with Tyrolean traverses is also required.
Screening and final selection will be done on an individual basis after we have reviewed your climbing experience and our veteran Carstensz Pyramid Guides have spoken with you directly.
Our experience shows that individuals perform better and enjoy the adventure more if they have a high degree of fitness and comfort with moderate rock climbing skills. This program’s high altitude, length of trip, remoteness of the area, and the technical nature of the climb all contribute to make this challenging and demanding adventure.
Recommended climbing experiences prior to Carstensz Pyramid include:
Mt. Rainier Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz
Mt. Rainier Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise
Expedition Skills Seminar - Kahiltna Glacier
Expedition Skills Seminar - Shuksan
Forbidden Peak - West Ridge
Mt. Shuksan - Fisher Chimneys
Orizaba and Ixtaccihuatl - Mexico
Expedition Skills Seminar - Peru
Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life And Then Go Climb A Mountain
Physical Fitness Training
Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.
- Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
- Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
- Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.
For the Carstensz Pyramid - Heli climb, you are preparing for:
- Steep hiking with 40 lb. loads
- 12-14+ hour summit day
- Exposed fourth-class climbing
- Several hundred feet of low fifth-class rock
- Several Tyrolean traverses
- 15-20 rappels
- Mountaineering techniques requiring core strength and flexibility
Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!
Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.
The key to climbing high is proper acclimatization. Our program follows a calculated ascent profile which allows time for your body to adjust to the altitude.
Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize as you ascend. Climbers in excellent physical condition simply have more energy to commit to the acclimatization process throughout the days and nights of the ascent, allowing their bodies to adjust to the altitude more easily.
Finally, physical performance and acclimatization are also related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior to summit day. Arriving healthy and well-rested, maintaining proper hydration and caloric intake, and protecting against unnecessary heat loss (staying warm) or overheating (especially through the jungle) are all key factors in an individual’s success on an expedition such as this.
What You’ll Need
A list of required personal equipment accompanies every RMI program, and the thought process behind each item is much greater than simply “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” The list for your program takes into account factors such as: seasonality, route conditions, weather, elevation and more. As such, this list is framed within the broadest of contexts and is dynamic by its very nature. Therefore, certain variables (additions and/or subtractions) are inherent within such an all-encompassing list. We make every effort to recommend only top of the line clothing and technical gear and it is never our intention for you to buy or rent unnecessary gear.
The Guide Pick is an example of the listed item, giving you an idea of the material and specifications of the item. This exact item does not need to be purchased or used; however, any item you choose must have similar characteristics and performance abilities to the Guide Pick.
RMI Guides concur on the potential necessity of every item, thus every item on the list is required at gear check. However, guides may also have suggestions derived from their experience, some of which will vary from a given list. The guides’ recommendation whether to bring along or leave behind certain item(s) comes during the gear check, when the team first meets. Occasionally this recommendation comes at the expense of having previously purchased an item. If a guide presents the option of leaving behind certain item(s) on the list of required equipment, it is for a reason. Their recommendation may be related to the weather, route conditions, freezing level, perceived strength of the party, or desired pack weight.
Ultimately, there will never be a consensus for a “perfect” equipment list for an ascent. It does not exist because of the multitude of variables faced by climbers throughout the climb. Please follow this equipment list closely so that you will arrive for the gear check with all the required items. Keep in mind the list is not black and white, fine tuning will occur once you meet with your guide. Have a great climb!
- Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering when they use code RMI2023 at checkout. This offer excludes sale items, rentals, meal packages, and Feathered Friends.
Pack & Travel
115+ liter bags made of tough, waterproof material with rugged zippers. One duffel will be taken on the mountain and carried by the porters through the rainy forest. The other duffel can be smaller and lighter duty and will be left at the hotel with extra gear and clothing.
Bring as needed. Make sure these are TSA-compliant.
Protects your pack from rain while on the trail.
Sleeping Bag & Pad
We recommend a bag rated between 20° and 0° F. Allow ample room for movement. We recommend down over synthetic for its light weight, warmth, and packability. If you know you sleep cold, consider a 0° F bag.
A full-length closed cell foam pad, used in combination with the inflatable sleeping pad.
Used for clipping into the climbing rope.
Used for clipping into anchors, etc.
A figure eight rappel device is required. Other devices will not work as well on thick diameter fixed lines.
For traveling on fixed lines. Most people prefer an ascender designed for their weak hand, leaving their strong hand free to hold their ice axe. For example, a right-handed person would use a left-handed ascender.
7 mm cordelette in one continuous length OR one 240cm dyneema sling.
Wool or synthetic. It should provide warmth but also be thin enough to fit underneath a climbing helmet.
Regular sunglasses will suffice on this program; glacier glasses are not required.
Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.
A glove with a leather or grip palm is best. Fleece- or wool-palmed gloves are too slippery when rappeling.
Wind- and water-resistant, insulated gloves or mittens. These also serve as emergency backups if you drop or lose a lighter-weight glove.
Durable, waterproof leather gloves are necessary for rappeling and climbing on the abrasive limestone of Carstensz.
These might be used in combination with other gloves, but should be heavy duty enough to be used alone. Consider an additional pair of lightweight rubber gloves to be used as liners with other gloves.
We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light, and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, softshell, down, and synthetic options.
Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Light weight, light-colored, hooded baselayers (sun hoodys) are highly recommended for sun protection.
We recommend a moisture-wicking, active-wear bra.
We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.
Synthetic or wool.
Noninsulated, waterproof shell pants must be able to fit comfortable over your baselayer bottoms and trekking pants. Full-length side zippers are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots.
A light weight, synthetic pair of pants is a good option for the approach trek when hiking at lower altitudes and in warm conditions. These pants have no insulation, are typically made of thin nylon, and commonly feature zippers to convert between pants and shorts.
A pair of lightweight boots for approaches and hiking on rugged terrain. We recommend a waterproof, mid-top boot for better stability and ankle support.
Lightweight shoe with covered toe for river crossings. Can also be used as a camp shoe.
High quality knee-high rubber boots with good grip for traveling in muddy terrain. Lace up or buckle closures are highly recommended since the provide a snug fit that reduces that chance of the boot being pulled off in deep mud. We recommend the non-insulated models.
Large enough to fit over your trekking boots to guard against mud and snow.
Either wool or synthetic. Whatever sock combination you are accustomed to wearing during your training or previous adventures (whether single medium weight socks, a medium weight with a liner sock, two medium weight socks together, etc.), should work just fine for this climb.
First Aid & Medications
We recommend you speak with your physician about which medications you should have for high-altitude climbing. These medications are only used in emergency situations, and if someone is showing symptoms of HAPE or HACE, our standard protocol is for immediate descent. We do not take any of these medications prophylactically, and please talk with your guide before taking medications.
We require each climber to have the following medications:
Broad spectrum antibiotics for respiratory and gastrointestinal problems like Azithromycin (250mg tablets).
125mg tablets for the prevention or treatment of Acute Mountain Sickness. A normal prescription is 125mg tablets, twice a day. Recommend 15 - 20 tablets.
4mg tablets for the treatment of altitude illness. Recommend 12 tablets.
30mg slow-release tablets for the prevention or treatment of high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). Recommend 8 - 10 tablets.
Our guides carry comprehensive medical kits, so keep yours small and light. We recommend a selection of adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, Moleskin and blister care, medical tape and/or duct tape, cough drops, basic painkillers, an antacid, an anti-diarrheal, and personal medications.
See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.
Packable plastic bowl. Collapsable models can work but must be handled carefully to avoid unintended collapsing. A lid is a great feature.
Insulated outdoor-style mug. We recommed a model with a removable lid, which helps retain heat and prevent spills. You may also choose to use 0.5L insulated bottle or a 0.5L nalgene.
A spoon or spork made of durable plastic or anodized metal. A long-handled spoon can be nice, especially if eating from a freeze-dried meal pouch.
One-liter water bottles with wide mouths made of co-polyester (BPA-free plastic).
Chlorine Dioxide water purification drops. Make sure to select the 30-minute version.
Please bring 10 gallon-size bags and 10 quart-size bags. These are used to protect various items from the rain as well as serve as personal trash bags.
Bring as needed.
Heavy-duty trash compacter bags for use as waterproof pack/stuff sack liners. You can also use a a waterproof pack liner.
Small and lightweight.
Include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, and wet wipes. Bring a quantity appropriate to the duration of your trip.
We recommend small tubes of SPF 30 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.
We recommend SPF 15 or higher.
Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.
Practice using this before coming on the climb!
One clearly-marked wide-mouth or collapsible bottle for overnight use.
Many smartphones have excellent cameras. Action cameras, small point-and-shoots, and compact dSLRs are lightweight and work well at altitude.
A small power bank, enough to charge a phone or e-reader several times.
A small solar panel to charge personal electronics.
For charging personal electronics while traveling internationally.
We recommend bringing a selection of clothing to wear while traveling, site seeing and dining.
Valid for six months beyond your return date.
The first two pages of your passport.
Purchase travel insurance.
Purchase airplane tickets.
Reserve rental equipment.
Be in the best shape of your life!
RMI provides the following equipment for your program: group and personal tents, stoves, group cooking equipment, fuel, climbing ropes, climbing anchors, fixed ropes, and comprehensive first aid and repair kits.
On Carstensz Pyramid, you will need mountain snacks for 4 days. All of your mountain snack items should weigh about 2 lb.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals on the mountain are included as indicated in our Trip Itinerary. Except for hotel breakfasts, most restaurant meals are on your own. You are responsible for your own bottled water and drinks.
RMI does not provide additional meals in the event of a delay.
Mountain snacks are eaten during short breaks throughout the day. We continually snack to keep our energy levels up while we climb - lunch begins just after breakfast and ends just before dinner! Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.
The importance of having foods that are genuinely enjoyed cannot be overstated. Eating properly is the key to maintaining strength while in the mountains. To combat the loss of appetite at altitude, we aim to have a variety of foods that stimulate the whole palate, from sweet to sour to salty.
Recommended mountain snack items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, bagels, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, toffees, Life Savers), gummy bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).
Deposit Payments: A non-refundable deposit payment of $3,500 per person secures your reservation.
- Deposit payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express*, e-check/ACH, or check from a U.S. bank.
Balance Payments: The balance payment is due 120 days before the start of your program.
- Balance payments may only be made via e-check/ACH, check from a U.S. bank or wire transfer.**
- **Wire transfers must cover all fees charged by your bank. The amount of the incoming wire to our bank must equal the balance payment amount.
- A payment reminder is emailed approximately three weeks before your payment due date. 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.
- Payment in full is required when registering for a program within 120 days of the departure date.
*There is a 3% surcharge on all credit/debit card transactions. Credit/debit cards are not accepted for payments of $10,000 or more.
The $3,500 per person deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.
- All cancellations require written notification. Once the RMI Office receives your written notification of cancellation, the following apply:
- If you cancel 120 or more days before the start of your program, the $3,500 per person deposit will not be refunded.
- If you cancel less than 120 days before the start of your program, no refunds will be issued.
Due to the time-sensitive nature of these programs, and the amount of preparation time required for this program, we strictly adhere to our policy and cannot make exceptions for any reason.
We require that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Tab for details.
- RMI Leadership
- Round-trip airfare between Denpasar (Bali) and Papua
- Round-trip helicopter flight between Timika and Carstensz Base Camp
- One night at hotel in Depasar, Bali at beginning of trip, includes breakfast and is based on double occupancy*
- One night at hotel in Timika at beginning of trip, includes breakfast and is based on double occupancy*
- One night at hotel in Timika at end of trip, includes breakfast and is based on double occupancy*
- One night at hotel in Depasar, Bali at end of trip, includes breakfast and is based on double occupancy*
- All meals as stated in the itinerary
- All group camping & climbing equipment
- Special permits for traveling & climbing in Papua
- Papuan leadership and guide staff
- Camp staff and cooking staff
- International round-trip airfare, baggage fees and other travel expenses to and from Bali
- Accommodations and meals not included in the itinerary. (RMI does not provide additional accommodations and meals in the event that our flights delay our departure.)
- Medical evacuation insurance of $500,000 (required)
- Travel Insurance and security evacuation insurance
- Personal clothing and equipment
- Indonesian tourist visas
- Airport arrival and departure taxes
- Indonesian customs duties
- Excess baggage charges on the flights between Bali and Papua
- Personal communications (Satellite phone, phone, fax, email)
- Personal expenses, room charges, and laundry
- Personal drinks and beverages
- Support Staff Tip Pool (we suggest $100 per person)
- Customary guide gratuities
- Additional helicopter fees should the helicopter have to return to base before dropping off or picking up the group.
- Rescue costs or any costs associated with an early departure from the expedition
- Medical, hospitalization and evacuation costs (by any means)
- The cost of delays due to weather, road or trail conditions, flight delays, government intervention, illness, medical issues, hospitalization, evacuation costs (by helicopter or any other means), or any other contingency which we or our agents cannot control are not included.
* Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. reserves the right to modify the land cost of a trip at any time before departure.
Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently hazardous. Managing risk is RMI’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering, but they cannot eliminate them. Objective hazards include rockfall, icefall, avalanches, slides or falls by individuals and rope teams on steeper slopes, weather-related problems including cold, heat, high winds, and other unnamed dangers that can occur while climbing.
You are choosing to engage in an activity in which guided and non-guided climbers have been injured or killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity.
Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Each Participant is required to share in the responsibility of the safety and success of the team. For this reason, we ask that each Participant:
- Possess the climbing prerequisites required for this program.
- Possess the necessary physical and mental fitness required for this program.
- Be responsible for knowing all pre-departure information.
- Provide a signed Physician’s Certificate stating that the Participant is medically qualified to join this program.
- Update the RMI Office if there are any changes to your health or medical information before departure.
- Be properly attired and equipped as outlined in the Equipment List.
- Act in a considerate manner toward all team members and show respect for local customs, values, and traditions in the areas we travel.
- Help minimize our impact on the environment and follow appropriate Leave No Trace practices.
- Describe yourself, honestly and accurately, in terms of fitness, health, skills, abilities, and your equipment to your guide staff.
- Communicate with your guide staff on the mountain if there are any changes in your medications or health.
- Adhere to the advice of your guide staff.
- Continue to self-assess throughout the program, measuring your fitness, health, skills, and abilities against the demands required of the program.
RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a program or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if the RMI Guide Staff determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for, or capable of participating in the program, or for any other reason that may compromise the safety, health or well-being of the Participant or the entire group. If this decision is made, the Participant will not receive any refunds or credits and will be financially responsible for any additional costs associated with an early departure, including but not limited to, evacuation, transportation, hotel reservationss, meals, etc.
Zero Tolerance Harassment Policy
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI) does not tolerate harassment or mistreatment of our participants or employees. Inappropriate conduct under this policy may include conduct that creates a disrespectful, intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for a participant or employee. Engaging in such conduct is a violation of this policy.
RMI may consider conduct to be in violation of the policy even if it falls short of unlawful harassment under applicable law. When determining whether conduct violates this policy, we will consider whether a reasonable person could conclude that the conduct created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, or demeaning environment.
Violation of this policy may result in removal from a program, as well as refusal to provide services indefinitely. We place the utmost value on the safety of our participants and employees. Please report any incidents to RMI management.
All participants must be 18 years old at the time of registration.
RMI cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit. Weather, route conditions, your own abilities, or the abilities of other climbers may create circumstances that make an ascent unsafe, and you or your entire group may have to turnaround without reaching the summit.
Failure to reach the summit due to a person’s own lack of fitness or to any of the events associated with mountaineering (such as weather, route conditions, avalanche hazard, team dynamics, etc.), are not Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.’s responsibility and will not result in a refund, credit, or reschedule.
RMI’s program schedule and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, group strength, terrain, or other environmental factors, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including but not limited to increases in program fees, changes to program schedule or itinerary, and changes to guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program. Once the program has started, the Lead Guide will decide on any changes to the itinerary, including ending the program early if the continuation of the program may compromise the safety, health, or well-being of the group.
We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather, route conditions, or for any other reason. In such a case, we will make every effort to reschedule the Participant on a different program date. If rescheduling is not possible, we will issue the Participant a refund for all program fees paid to RMI, less any non-refundable payments made on behalf of the Participant to secure any of the included land costs provided for this program, including but not limited to, hotel accommodations, transportation, transfers, tours, group equipment and food, permits, and local outfitter services, prior to the cancellation of the program. Additionally, RMI cannot be responsible for any non-refundable expenses the Participant incurred in preparation for the program (i.e., airline tickets, hotel reservations, rental cars, equipment purchases or rentals, etc.).
Once a program begins, there are no refunds or credits for weather-related cancellations or for a program that may end early due to weather, route conditions, or any other circumstances that may compromise the health, safety, or well-being of the group. Furthermore, if the Participant decides for any reason not to begin a program or to discontinue a program at any time, no refunds or credits will be issued. The Participant will be responsible for all additional costs associated with an early departure, including but not limited to evacuation, transportation, hotel reservations, meals, etc.
The Participant is responsible for any costs due to COVID-19, including but not limited to, any testing fees to enter another country, tests required to return to the US, and/or costs associated with medical care and/or quarantine such as hotel accommodations, meals, separate transportation, etc.
Land Costs are provided as a package, and refunds or credits will not be issued for any unused meals, accommodations, group transportation, or other unused costs. Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those Participants occupying single accommodations either by choice or circumstance. If you are willing to share a room, we will make every effort to pair you with another same-gender team member. We will match willing same-gender team members based on the order of registration date. If we are unable to match you with another same-gender team member, a single supplement fee will be charged. The availability of single accommodations is limited in most of the hotels where we stay, and single accommodations are not available while in the mountains.
The Participant understands and agrees that RMI assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with any travel and hospitality services provided to the Participant by other companies in connection with the program, including but not limited to, the services provided by airlines, hotels, rental cars, and transportation companies and that RMI is not responsible for any act, error, omission, or any injury, loss, accident, delay, irregularity, or danger by a supplier of travel or hospitality services to the Participant in connection with the RMI program. The Participant will be responsible for all costs associated with any travel delays, missed connections, or missing baggage that requires additional arrangements (separate transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, etc.) to be made on your behalf for you or your baggage to rejoin the program.
Is it safe to travel in West Papua?
Because West Papua remains in the news, questions about safety are among the most frequently asked.
We hold the perspective that travels to West Papua (and in fact any developing nation) includes risk, but not necessarily high risk. To safeguard our trips:
- We have hired a professional in-country tour operator to coordinate our in-country logistics.
- We have hired a local guide familiar with the language, roads, trekking route, villages, customs, etc.
- We travel in groups and have tourist safety protocols in place (not flashing cash, not wearing expensive jewelry, etc.).
- RMI's guides are well-versed with our program and are accustomed to traveling in a foreign country.
Take some time to visit the U.S. Department of State and revisit the site occasionally as the trip departure dates approach.
How much weight am I carrying in my pack?
Backpacks should weigh approximately 20 to 25 lbs as we only carry the day's snacks, water, and a few extra layers of clothing in case of rain or cold temperatures.
How will I be able to stay connected with those at home?
A few options do exist, but because the jungles of Papua are some of the most remote locations on earth, immediate access may not be available.
- A smart phone or WIFI-enabled device can be used in Denpasar, Bali, and Timika, West Papua. Along the route, however, WIFI access is not available.
- In Papua, cellular phone service is available in Timika. Along the route, however, no cell towers can be accessed. Check with your cell phone carrier to see if they offer international coverage in Indonesia and make sure you have the appropriate international plans and understand the associated rates.
- A personal satellite phone offers the most reliable option for connection with those at home while in the interior. However, sat phone connections may be impeded by the jungle canopy or cloud cover overhead or within the confines of the narrow valleys approaching Carstensz. Satellite phone rental is available through Remote Satellite Systems International. RMI carries a satellite phone with the group through the entire trip for emergency use.
Is a Kindle or Nook practical on this trip?
Yes, but if you wish to take it into the interior, you will certainly need to recharge it once in a while using a personal solar charger. We recommend downloading all of your desired books before arriving in Indonesia.
What is summit day like?
The ascent above our high camp follows a series of 4th and low 5th class slabs, ledges and gullies to the summit ridge, and then follows the ridge across several exposed gaps to the high point at 16,023'. While the ascent and descent are considered only technically moderate challenges, the high altitude, lengthy day, and possibility of rain or snow en route make for a very complete adventure!
Do I need an ice axe or crampons? What if it snows?
No, you do not need an ice axe or crampons to climb our route up Carstensz. New snowfall, while not uncommon, is typically a trace amount (1-2") and often melts in the midday sun or is washed away by the afternoon rains. Sturdy climbing boots provide enough traction and insulation to climb in the snow.
What vaccine do I need to enter Indonesia?
No vaccines are required, though all travelers should be up to date on routine vaccinations. Protection against Hepatitis A and Typhoid are generally recommended because the risk of these diseases exists where we are traveling. You do not need a yellow fever vaccine to enter Indonesia if coming from the United States. However, Indonesia requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. See the CDC website for current information.