Seven Summits: Puncak Jaya
Puncak Jaya, also known as Mount Carstensz or the Carstensz Pyramid, is located in the western central highlands of Papua province or Indonesia. Among the native people of Indonesia it is also called Nemangkawi, and Gunung Sukarno. It is the highest mountain in Oceania and the highest island peak in the world. It stands at 16,024 feet above sea level.
Puncak Jaya was named "Carstensz Pyramid" after a Dutch explorer, Ja Carstensz, first sighted the glaciers on the peak of the mountain in 1623. Interestingly, Carstensz sighting was not verified for another two centuries and the explorer was ridiculed for claiming to see snow in close proximity to the equator.
The peak was renamed "Puntjak Soekarno" in the 1960s, when Indonesia took control of the province. The name was later changed to Puncak Jaya. "Puncak" translates to peak or mountain, while "Jaya" translates to victory or victorious. The first team to be victorious and summit Puncak Jaya was an Australian expedition, led by Heinrich Harrer in 1962.
Puncak Jaya is one of the more demanding climbs in the Seven Summits and is sometimes replaced by less challenging Mount Kosciuszko in Australia. It is said to have the highest technical rating but not as difficult physical demands. The standard route is up the north face and along the summit ridge. The climb traditional takes eight to 10 days. Access to the peak requires a government permit that climbers can attain through various adventure tourism agencies.
There are several glaciers that grace the slopes of Puncak Jaya, these include the Carstensz Glacier and the Northwall Firn. Because the mountain is close to the equator, the average temperature rarely varies, meaning the glaciers only slightly seasonally fluctuate.