Carstensz Pyramid 11/27/08 dispatch
Our 3:00 a.m. departure from Bali put us in Timika this morning a little after sunrise and we were treated to some excellent views of the Carstensz summit ridge to the north side of the plane upon approach.
We were informed that we had to be interviewed by the local authorities before we would be allowed to continue to Sugapa. Despite having all of our permits in order, we had a briefing with a local police officer who wanted to hear it directly from us that we have no intentions of attempting to cross the private property owned by the Freeport Mine. This meeting could not happen until early evening and the charter flight to Sugapa must happen early in the morning, so we had one more day of waiting it out.
Timika is a bustling little city with basic amenities, decent supermarkets, and a couple of nice hotels. It serves mainly as the port of entry and hub for workers and businessmen affiliated with the mine. It has a dusty look and more of a “rough around the edges” feel than Bali. There is still a no tolerance policy for climbers crossing the mine, either to or from Carstensz Pyramid. The close proximity of the mine to the peak makes it look very appealing for a short descent route back to Timika, especially as an alternative to trekking north for several days after a climb. We jumped through all of the hoops and gave our promises that we will return via Sugapa after our climb and we now have clearance to move on tomorrow morning.
Our charter flight is scheduled to leave at 9:00 a.m., barring any weather delays. For now, we are well fed after a huge dinner at a local chinese restaurant and are currently holed up at the simple but clean Tembaga Hotel. I will call tomorrow and hopefully we can report that we are finally on the move with packs on our backs.