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7 summits and other mountain stuff => General => Topic started by: voiceofreason on Nov 2 2004, 02:00

Title: Carstensz illegal: Acceptable, or not? Would you do it?
Post by: voiceofreason on Nov 2 2004, 02:00
Alberta Adventurer goes to great lengths to climb high peak in New Guinea

Sunday, December 14, 2003CALGARY (CP) - That's three down, four to go for an Alberta man looking to climb the seven highest peaks in the world. Byron Smith had already conquered Mount Everest and South America's Mount Aconcagua Peak when he tackled the Carstensz Pyramid in New Guinea in October. Although the climb itself was less of a challenge than Mount Everest, getting there was more than half the adventure, as the path was strewn with smugglers, underground tunnels and a lot of palms that required greasing. But Smith said he never felt threatened. "If you are a confident individual, not cocky, and they know that you mean business, then everything's on the same playing field," said Smith, 43, who runs a car dealership in Vulcan, Alta.

At 4,884 metres, Carstensz Pyramid, or Puncak Jaya (Victory Peak) as the Indonesians call it, is located just below the equator in New Guinea's western central highlands and is the highest peak in Oceania. Smith said climbing permits for the area are hard to come by, wrapped tightly in red tape and subject to instant cancellation in what is considered a very dangerous part of the world. "There's not one government that would recommend going over to New Guinea because life is pretty cheap over there right now," said Smith, who embarked on the journey without such a permit. Smith joined three South African climbers and together the four were smuggled through the Freeport mine - the largest gold and copper mine in the world. "We were in the back of these Indonesian army jeeps. They're all blacked out and we're going through checkpoints and we're being covered up," he said. "We had to wear army coats and hats or else we were completely doubled over and being hidden with jackets on top of us going through these checkpoints," said Smith, who also posed as a member of mine security.

The group was also kept in safe houses on the way to the base of Carstensz Pyramid. "Were we made to feel like spies? I didn't feel that way really. I've been in enough Third World countries that if you want to get things done, money talks." Smith said he expected he would be kicked out of the country if he had been caught. "When I weighed out all the options before going out there, I couldn't foresee being thrown in jail and being beaten to a pulp." Part of the route included an hour driving through underground tunnels through the Carstensz Range. A group of Indonesian soldiers actually waited at the base of the mountain while the climb took place. "Big money (was) changing hands. There were four of us that went there and half the $10,000 US we paid the agent went to pay these people off," said Smith. "It went to about 60 people because you had everyone from airport security to the military police to the Indonesian army to the mine security." The climb itself was anti-climactic as the Pyramid is considered a moderate ascent with more scrambling than climbing. They went from base camp to peak and back to base camp in under 20 hours. "We were only in that region for a couple of days," said Smith, who added that it was nevertheless worth the danger. "No question. This is probably the greatest area in the world that I've ever been into." Next up, he said, is Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro in January.

Copyright 2003 The Canadian Press
Title: Re: Acceptable, or not? Would you do it?
Post by: Buddha on Nov 2 2004, 03:43
Very interesting read! :)

I don't know if I would go through all of that just to climb the peak, even if it were the last peak I had to do to finish the 7 summits.
Title: Re: Acceptable, or not? Would you do it?
Post by: Ron on Nov 2 2004, 05:17
well, thats 1 way to do it
Title: Re: Carstensz illegal: Acceptable, or not? Would you do it?
Post by: trunl on Nov 2 2004, 05:42
its just part of the challenge of the 7 summits.

Title: Re: Carstensz illegal: Acceptable, or not? Would you do it?
Post by: 7summits on Nov 2 2004, 05:44
Read this older topic about this subject as well, might help you see things in perspective:

Title: Re: Carstensz illegal: Acceptable, or not? Would you do it?
Post by: Ron on Nov 2 2004, 13:41
Btw Harry i got some god contacts for you there.  and i mean real good. We ll talk about it soon