Carstensz Pyramid as one of world’s Seven Summit of the seven continents. The term Seven Summits was first introduced by an American businessman named Richard (Dick) Daniel Bass, a citizen of the United States, around 1980. Dick Bass Dick Bass, who was also a Yale University graduate majoring in geology, came up with the idea of Seven Summits climbing circuits, creating a list containing the 7 highest peaks on seven continents, which is known as the "Bass List" and he became the first person who successfully accomplished his seven summits by reaching the top of Everest on April 30, 1985. 

The Seven Summits circuit of Dick Bass version consist of: Everest (8848 meter asl) in Asia; Kilimanjaro (5895 meter asl) in Africa; Vinson Massif (4897 meter asl) at the South Pole (Antarctica);  Elbrus (5642 masl) in Europe. While the American continent was divided into two parts, those are North America with the peak of McKinley (6194 meter asl) and South America with Aconcagua (6962 meter asl). The last is Kosciuszko (2228 meter asl) in Australia.

Then "Bass List" was revised by the legendary Italian climber, Reinhold Messner by replacing Mount Kosciuszko as highest peak in Australia with Carstensz Pyramid that are both considered in the same continental plate Australasia. Messner’s revision then well known as "Messner List" and became more popular in the world. Messner’s  Seven Summits list was first accomplished by Patrick Alan Morrow (Canada) on August 5, 1986, shortly followed by Messner himself few months later, on December 3, 1986.

Accordingly, there were 2 options born, some acknowledging Bass's version of Seven Summits and some acknowledging Messner's version more. Some even tried both versions of the circuit. However, Carstensz Pyramid apparently to be more considered, very likely because it is more challenging then Kosciuszko summit that could be more easily to accomplished.

Why is the number seven listed while the commonly known so far there are only five continents in the world? According to the continents movement history in the span of hundreds of million years ago, Europe, Asia, Africa and the South Pole are four separated continents. Similarly, North America and South America were then also located on different continental plates. Thus, there were already six continental plates in those days.

The last debate was the Continent of Australia and Papua. Papua, which has now become part of the Southeast Asian region, initially a fraction of the Australian continent which later moved north to align themselves with the island of Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Java and other small islands that made up Indonesia. Basically, the islands last mentioned are fragments of the Asian Continent.

Based on its geological history, the islands around Australia, namely New Zealand, Papua (New Guinea) and Oceania used to be on the same land as Australia. Thus the region is considered to be one geological continent of Australasia or commonly also called Australia-Oceania. So that Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica and Australasia considered to be the seven continental plates. The North Pole or Arctic is just an island.

Helicopter approach to basecamp




In 16 February 1623, Jan Carstensz, captain of a small boat from the Netherlands that was sailing in southern Papua, saw a very high mountain range in West Papua hinterland and some of its parts covered with snow through his binocular. 

Jan became the first European who saw that mountain range.  He described its location that close to the Equator at a distance of approximately 10 mile inside the hinterland. His report was not trusted in Europe, whereas in some time ahead there was also news about snow on Andes Mountain, in South America near the Equator.

Some years later in 1899, there was the Dutch expedition in charge of making maps in Irian Jaya, who discover the truth of Jan Carstensz’s report, which had been made almost three centuries earlier. Moreover, they named the glacier area as Carstensz Toppen or peaks of Carstensz. Since twentieth century, there were records of two expedition teams that trying to reach the area.

In 1909 – 1911, British Ornithological Union tried to get into swamp area in South Papua. This team failed to get through the swampy beach after eighteen months made an effort. In 1912, Dr.A.F.R. Wollastone and C. Boden Kloss tried to make up BOUE team’s failure. This team consisted of 244 persons and went along the North route to Utakwa valley at Tsing estuary and they stayed for three days on the altitude of 3.000 meter. This team reached the ice area up to northern side of Carstensz Glacier snowfield and they named after it “Van der Water Glacier”.

In 1936, Dr. A. H. Colijn, who was a director of the Dutch oil company operating in Sorong, led an expedition to the Carstensz glacier accompanied by Dr.JJ Dozy a geologist and 38 porters from the Dayak tribe of Borneo. Colijn named one of the routes as "Dayak Pass" to honor the hard work of this tribe.

After struggling for 56 days, the team managed to reach the North cliff glacier (Ice Tongue), on the altitude of 4850 meter. Colijn and his friends climbed some snowy peaks and named some places, such as "Carstensz Pyramid" (because the peak shapes similar to pyramid) and "East Carstensz”.  He also named the glacier at the East side as "Carstensz Glacier" and the vast grasslands at the West as "Carstensz Meadow", while the valley in the area that consists of several lakes named "Meerendal or Lakes Valley ".

In 1961, the New Zealand expedition team lead by Philip Temple tried to reach this area from Ilaga village but failed to reach the summit because of logistical support delay through the air bridge. Even so, at the same time this team found the ice-free route, at the North side of the mountain. They went through the North wall towards the Danau-Danau Valley through the gap which they called "New Zealand's Pass". A year later, Philip Temple, together with Heinrich Harrer of Austria, Bert Huizenga of the Netherlands and Russell Kippax from Australia went back and managed to reach the summit of Carstensz Pyramid (4884 meter) on February 13, 1962.

Following the success of Cendrawasih Expedition in 1962, MAPALA UI (the nature lover organization of Indonesia University) managed to reach the peak of Carstensz Pyramid in 1971, as a part of team they were: Herman O Lantang and Rudy Badil, the first of Indonesia's civilian. In addition, on December 16, 1973, MAPALA UI Expedition Team also reached the peak on the left side of Puncak Jaya (Second Summit), which they named Soemantri Peak (4855 meter), while the Wanadri team named this summit as Sarwo Edhi Wibowo Peak.

The Indonesian team was first conquered the peak of this Eternal Ice in 1964. The expedition is called Cendrawasih Expedition, led by Lieutenant Colonel Azwar Hamid from the Directorate of Topography Indonesian Army. This team went through Enarotali - Beoga route, crossed Kemabu flatland and climbed the North wall. This team had not reached the New Zealand Pass because of fog blocked, so that they climbed the Western part of the glacier and then turned to East before climbing the snowy peaks. Three members of the team: First Lieutenant Sudarto, First Lieutenant Sugirin and Fred Athaboe finally reached the summit on March 1, 1964. They named the summit as Sukarno Peak.