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IMG 3630

Carstensz Pyramid Final Wrap-Up 12/16/08

Mark Ryman here, back in Seat­tle after sev­er­al days of flights on a vari­ety of air­craft. After some fair­ly com­pli­cat­ed trav­el logis­tics, I final­ly have word that every­one has arrived home safe and sound. Fol­low­ing the depar­ture of the first heli­copter, which took Pablo, Joe and Bill to Nabire, the rest of us played the wait­ing game for anoth­er 48 hours in base­camp. We lat­er learned that there was a prob­lem with get­ting anoth­er qual­i­fied pilot back to Nabire in order to have a sec­ond flight to get the rest of us out. Adri­aan, Sylvia and I were pre­pared to begin the long trek out if a chop­per did­n’t show by mid-morn­ing on Decem­ber 12th, though this would have meant all of us would miss our return flights out of Bali by a long shot and poten­tial­ly be stuck in Indone­sia dur­ing peak hol­i­day sea­son with very lit­tle avail­abil­i­ty for stand­by flights to get home for Christ­mas. For­tu­nate­ly we heard the chop­per blades cut­ting through the thin air at around 11:00 a.m. and we were all very excit­ed and relieved to see it land on the heli-pad above base camp to whisk us away to Nabire. Our cook, Steve, also flew out with us and we knew we were near max pay­load capac­i­ty for fly­ing at that alti­tude. We also had to make a fair­ly excit­ing re-fuel stop in the town of Eno­ratali about half way to Nabire.

Once on the ground in Nabire, we fig­ured things would be smooth for the rest of the jour­ney home. This was­n’t the case as we watched through the air­port win­dows for near­ly 6 hours as sev­er­al mechan­ics dis­as­sem­bled and reassem­bled one engine on the Mer­pati Air­lines twin otter that was sup­posed to take us away. Even­tu­al­ly they said it could not be repaired until morn­ing and we end­ed up in a hotel in Nabire for the night. The next morn­ing we went back to the airstrip at 6:00 a.m. and spent the day hop­ping amongst sev­er­al Indone­sian air­ports on increas­ing­ly larg­er (and more con­fi­dence-inspir­ing) com­mer­cial air­craft. Our stops includ­ed Biak and Makas­sar before final­ly arriv­ing back in Den­pasar, Bali. We land­ed in Bali around 6:00 p.m. on Decem­ber 13 and there was a Sin­ga­pore Air­lines flight leav­ing at 8:00 p.m. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, we all had bags stored back at the Pad­ma hotel on the oth­er side of town. A very fran­tic cross town shut­tle van ride (with us bark­ing faster, faster” at the dri­ver the whole time)got us to the hotel and back to the air­port just in the nick of time. So much for Christ­mas shop­ping in Bali. Our two extra days turned into less than two hours on the island. Adri­aan and I some­how got on the flight, but Sylvia was delayed one night. I found out on Mon­day that she 

got a seat the fol­low­ing day and is now home in Vic­to­ria. This trip turned out to be quite an adven­ture, a bit more than expect­ed in some respects. With a suc­cess­ful sum­mit and every­one back safe and in time for Christ­mas, we are now hap­py to relive the jour­ney through pho­tos and sto­ries in the com­fort of home.

Spe­cial thanks to some peo­ple who helped us get the right equip­ment to make this trip a suc­cess: Out­door Research for the awe­some Exped Androm­e­da tents, Helly Hansen for the base lay­ers and shell gear, and Tim at Irid­i­um for the new 9555 satel­lite phones for reli­able com­mu­ni­ca­tions through­out the trip.

I’ll be post­ing a full pho­to gallery fold­er from the trip on our flickr page soon at this link: http://​www​.flickr​.com/​p​h​o​t​o​s​/​2​4​8​4​7​4​1​6​@N07/