American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Australasia, Southwest Pacific, Carstenz, North Face, Dugundugoo North Face, Ngga Pulu, Irian Jaya (New Guinea)

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1979

Carstenz North Face, Dugundugoo North Face, Ngga Pulu, Irian Jaya (New Guinea). Irian Jaya is under Indonesian military-police control and so Hilary Collins and I first had to obtain a travel permit. We spent two weeks following a hazardous trail of police procedures. The police in Jakarta told us to go to Biak where the police told us to go to Nabire where the police referred us to Jayapura who said we must go back to Jakarta for permission. On our return to Biak we tried to gain permission to enter the mountains via the copper mine to the south. The copper mine officials refused. On December 20, 1978 we flew to Jayapura for a last try. There our luck changed. The Chief of Intelligence for Irian Jaya gave us permission to visit a village called Bilorai. There were no Indonesian police there to prevent our traveling further— they had all fled owing to a war between rival clans of the local Moni tribe. We were in the mountains until January 15, 1979. It rained, snowed or sleeted every day we were there, often starting at ten A.M. and continuing until dawn the next day. During 90% of the climbing visibility was less than 100 meters. We made the first ascent of the south face of Carstenz Pyramid (16,024 feet). Called the “last great problem” five years ago, this mixed face has become more feasible owing to the rapid shrinking of its hanging glaciers. There was some stonefall and loose rock, but no technical difficulties and we climbed unroped to 150 feet below the summit ridge. Ours was the seventh ascent of the mountain and the first by a member of the fairer sex. We then made the first ascent of the north face of Dungundugoo (15,617 feet), the first time any of the north faces of peaks west of New Zealand Pass had been climbed. This is the steepest of these faces and gave 12 free pitches. The crux was unstable and part of it fell down, accompanied by the leader. With the French climber Bernard Domenech, we traversed on soggy snow the summits of Ngga Pulu (15,950, 15,781 and 15,775 feet).

Peter Boardman, Alpine Climbing Group

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