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Australasia, Irian Jaya, Puncak Jaya, New Route and First Snowboard Descent; Carstensz Pyramid, New Route

Puncak Jaya, new route and first snowboard descent; Carstensz Pyramid, new route. On April 23, Corey Rich, Rob Milne, and I climbed Puncak Jaya by a new and interesting glacier route. Then I made the first snowboard descent of that peak, riding down the glacier. Counting Puncak Jaya as one of the Seven “rideable” Summits—substituting it for Carstensz Pyramid, which lacked snow—this was my sixth snowboard descent of the Seven Summits (I have not ridden Kosciusko, and don't plan to, as I don’t consider it to be one of the seven). Only Everest remains, which I plan to try in summer 2003.

The following day, Rob and I climbed Carstensz Pyramid, going left of the normal route and up several pitches that were, as far as we knew, previously unclimbed. Good but sparsely protected 5.7 climbing led to the ridge on the normal route. On descent of the normal route we reset many sketchy anchors.

Two days later, Rob and I climbed Carstensz again, this time by a new six-pitch direct route on its stellar north face. We left basecamp at 5:45 a.m., began climbing at 7:00, and sum- mitted at noon. Starting near the American Direct route, I led 5.7-5.8 climbing over clean, sharp limestone solution runnels. We simul-climbed half of the route, using Tiblocs. The crux was a sparsely protected 5.9+. At the summit, the air was buzzing with electricity. With our hair literally standing on end, we made it down to the base of the route in one hour, fighting heavy rain, lightning, and water running down the gullies.

Stephen Koch, AAC