Entries By alex van steen

Carstensz Pyramid: Team Almost to Basecamp

Posted by: Alex Van Steen, Mark Tucker | July 02, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Carstensz Pyramid

The weather is beautiful today and our team is about 3 hours away from Basecamp.  After we arrive, we’ll use the rest of the day for training and practice.  We may try for the summit as early as tomorrow.  Everyone is in good health, strong and excited for the summit attempt. We are presently in a valley where it’s difficult to get a signal but we will do our best to dispatch again soon.

RMI Guides Alex Van Steen & Mark Tucker

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Carstensz Pyramid: Team Checks in after Their Hike

Posted by: Alex Van Steen, Mark Tucker | July 01, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Carstensz Pyramid

Today our team completed a 10 hour hike through beautiful marshland.  We are getting into an area with limestone masses, passing by caves in the limestone cliffs. Quite spectacular!  Today’s hike was the first we’ve had in the rain.  But despite the wet conditions, everyone is in high spirits and doing very well.

RMI Guide Alex Van Steen

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Carstensz Pyramid: Team Checks in from Putigapa

Posted by: Alex Van Steen, Mark Tucker | June 30, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Carstensz Pyramid
Elevation: 11'000'

Hey there Mark Tucker here with the Carstensz climb.  I am not quite sure what of the amazing sites in front of me I should speak of when it comes to leading a Jungle tour.  We round a corner here in this neck of the woods, I guess jungle. A gentleman appears with a big spear, a large bow, something sticking through his nose, and wearing only a gourd tends to get my attention. A wondrous place it is. It is like jungle gym, thank goodness for roots, I have a new a respect for them as a whole.  We had an ascent on some very steep terrain. The team is climbing so strong and so well and the support we are getting from our local staff is wonderful.

We are now in Putigapa which is just a meadow swamp land at about 11,000’ and it is still very forested and we have yet to find the tree line.  Mother Nature was kind to us again today we were able to get all of our gear, tents and dining area set up before the rains started.  Right now it is raining pretty hard, we are all dry, but pretty happy.  We are tired, but that just comes with the territory.
We wish you were all here and we will check in later.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker & Team


Mark Tucker checks in from Putigapa

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Carstensz Pyramid: Team Meets the Moni Tribe

Posted by: Mark Tucker, Alex Van Steen | June 29, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Carstensz Pyramid

Hello there Mark Tucker here calling from the Carstensz Pyramid Expedition. Here in Ugimba spending quality time with Moni tribesmen. A Great welcome. This is where our lead local guide is from and it is pretty amazing as you can imagine. We were treated to quite a festival and a very formal traditional dance. This is the real deal, just like the pictures you would see in National Geographic. This is it, this is pure in the purest form. It has been one heck-of-a day, we are just smoked, the whole team is already bedded down and it is still pretty early.

We’ve probably got another 2 or 3 power days in the jungle where every step takes full concentration team is doing fantastic. I’m so impressed with efforts in there. They are adjusting to all of the incredibly challenging root climbs, there were a couple of small cliffs and moving the rivers having to build little bridges wading in rubber boots almost over the top, as a matter of fact, somebody may have actually had a full submersion. We are all doing pretty well, and WOW this place is amazing.  It didn’t really rain until about 4 o’clock, and then they turn on the spigot and it’s full blast. We are happy where we are at.

I can’t wait to show some pictures because this is just an incredible experience, and we hope to continue enjoying it. Big day tomorrow and we’ll do our best to keep checking in. So for now it’s called “Amakane” (ah-mah-kah-neh) it just keeps people smiling and it’s the greatest greeting.

We will keep checking in, Amakane!
RMI Guide Mark Tucker


RMI Guide Mark Tucker Checking in from Ugimba

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Carstensz Pyramid: Team Takes First Trek Through the Jungle

Posted by: Alex Van Steen, Mark Tucker | June 28, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Carstensz Pyramid

Good Evening, good evening from the Carstensz Pyramid team.  We are at Gamagai Village and we have had an incredible day.  We had a beautiful flight over the jungle, we were greeted in Sugapa by hundreds of people, friendly, welcoming, and we began our trek on jeeps, very fun.  We rode for about 10 minutes and then began our jungle walk. Although we expected a lot of rain and there were clouds all around, it did not rain on us as we went through first couple of villages.  It wasn’t until the last couple hours that we experienced the deluge of the jungle. We set up our tents once we got to Gamagai Village but we are not wet a bit, and the reason why is that they welcomed us to do some indoor camping at the local church. 

We are enjoying a dinner of cheese and all kinds of good food. We are going to get ready for another big day tomorrow, a great fun day. We are looking forward to what the mountain has in store for us and we will catch up in a day or two. 

All the Best,
Alex Van Steen, Mark Tucker and the first inaugural RMI Carstensz Pyramid Expedition team.


Alex Van Steen Checks in From Gamagai Village

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Carstensz Pyramid:  Team Packs and Prepares in Timika

Posted by: Alex Van Steen, Mark Tucker | June 27, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Carstensz Pyramid

Hello from Timika, Indonesia!

It’s Sara McGahan, I’m 17 years old, and you may remember me from 2011’s Mt. Everest Expedition! I’m now climbing with RMI Carstensz Pyramid team.

Today was spent preparing for the expedition ahead of us. We have organized gear, shopped for food, and protected everything in waterproof sacks or trash bags. This climb seems so different from any others I’ve done; For most of our expedition we will be hiking through a hot, humid rainforest with expected rain showers almost hourly. We must plan that everything will get wet, but we are trying to do what we can to prevent it from getting completely soaked.

The culture here is also so different from anywhere else I’ve been in the world. There are many parts of West Papua which are still undiscovered. Some tribes have only been in contact with Westerners since the 1970’s, and even now the people are still rooted in the customs and traditions of their ancestors. It is normal for some people to walk around with little to no clothing on, except perhaps for a grass skirt for the women and some shells for the men.
Personally, I am fascinated by the culture here and so excited to further experience it.

While it’s easy to type this in a nice hotel with internet and buffet breakfasts, this seems like a one in a lifetime experience that I can’t wait to begin. The terrain will be difficult both physically and mentally, but everyone in our team seems well prepared for the challenge and enthused for the adventure that awaits.

We are catching a 6 am flight tomorrow to Sugapa and then headed into the jungle. That’s all from Timika!

Sara McGahan

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Carstensz Pyramid:  Team Meets in Bali

Posted by: Alex Van Steen, Mark Tucker | June 25, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Carstensz Pyramid

Hello from the Carstensz Pyramid team,

What a way to start an expedition. Mountain climbers surf Bali!
Fresh red snapper for lunch and solid 3 foot swell for dessert.
I love my job!

We head to the airport at midnight tonight for a 2 am flight to the town of Timika on the Island of New Guinea.
The whole team and all bags are here and ready.

Everyone is looking forward to the rest of this adventure.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Carstensz Pyramid, 16,023 ft RMI Guides Mark Tucker & Alex Van Steen meet the team in Bali.  Photo: Bill M.

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