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Mt Sarawaget Ridge Traverse

Background

Mt Sarawaget in the mountains north of Lae only identifies 1 or 2 peaks as being 4000 metres plus. Our research shows differently, with several other peaks topping out above 4000 meters. That's why we are going, to trek to the tops of these and to grow the number of recognised 4000-meter peaks in Papua New Guinea.

Highlights

  • Climb Mt Sarawaget 4121 meters
  • Explore the PNG high country above 3600 meters, a new world in itself
  • Climb a 4000-meter peak no one has climbed before
  • Trek some of the remotest parts of PNG
  • Witness awesome views from her summit 
  • Have the option to add Mt Wilhelm to your expedition (4509m)

Overview

Papua New Guinea has only 12 recognised 4000 meter peaks. We know this number is an understatement and we are setting out to expand this list and to open the highlands of Papua New Guinea to adventure travellers. We were one of the first groups to do the full traverse of Mt Wilhlem (PNG's highest peak), we were the first to traverse Mt Giluwe (Australasia's highest volcano) and the first to traverse Mt Kabangama. In 2019 we will head to Mt Sarawaget (4121 meters), north of Lae, to climb and discover other thus unnamed or unrecognised 4000 meter peaks. 

This area is rarely visited and as such is new territory for a commercial venture of this type. Our itinerary below is fluid. Plans will change, they always do! You will need to pack a great sense of adventure and ensure you have the skill to adapt to an ever-changing environment. 

Once we reach above 3600 meters, the landscape will open up into grasslands. This will enable us to make plans to either stick to the itinerary or if time and terrain permits, try our luck at other ridges and peaks not yet recognised.

If you are up for adventure off the beaten track (if there is a track), then why not join us on this wonderful trek into the PNG high country?

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Port Moresby and transfer to airport for flight to Madang.
Day 2: Early morning we will take a boat to Wasu on the north coast of PNG. From there transport to Ununu Village for an overnight stay.
Day 3: From Ununu we head off into the jungle for approximately 6 hours to a campsite just above the tree line. Overnight camp there.
Day 4: From this camp we head out to a large open plain where an alpine lake is situated. This we will make as our base camp. 
Day 5: Today we will summit Mt Sarawaget if weather permits. From the summit, we will head back down to base camp and explore the vast area below us.
Day 6: After breakfast, we will head over the main ridgeline and across to the unknown western slopes. We should have a good idea of the direction as we would have surveyed the area on our summit day the previous morning.
Day 7: Break camp and head further across the mountain hopefully making another ridgeline with several 4000-meter peaks.
Day 8: Today is a little sketchy as we hope to be heading down from here, though the ridge may take us a little further and another possible 4000-meter peak.
Day 9: As there are no roads on this side of the mountain we may need to transfer via chopper or fixed-wing back to Lae. Transfer to afternoon flight back to Port Moresby and overnight at Holiday Inn.
Day 10: Fly home.

Please note: If you wish to go on and climb Mt Wilhelm on this trip as an extension, this is possible. On Day 9 the transfer will take you to Kundiawa. This trip extension would be $1800. The Itinerary would look like this:

Day 9: Transfer to Kundiawa and overnight there.
Day 10: Transfer to trailhead and start trek up the mountain. 4 hours.
Day 11: Rest day at the lake for acclimatisation
Day 12: Summit day and then back to Bettys Lodge (13 hrs)
Day 13: Transfer to Goroka and then fly to Port Moresby
Day 14: Head home

LIFE ON THE MOUNTAIN
Mt Sarawaget is a remote part of a remote country. From the road head, we will see no man-made structures. From about 3400m the forest gives way to open grassland. Thus we are exposed to the elements. Water is plentiful but firewood is not.

At night the temperature can drop below zero. Frost and occasional snow have been witnessed. Strong, cold winds are common and rain and mist can occur suddenly turning visibility to only a few metres. 

HEALTH AND SAFETY
This expedition should not be underestimated. Exposure to the elements can be a problem, whether it's the cold or sunlight.

A combination of wind, wet clothing, fatigue and hunger, even if the air temperature is well above freezing, can lead to hyperthermia. Likewise, you can burn deceptively fast.  There is less atmospheric protection at higher altitudes and the fact you're not hot doesn't mean you're not boiling.

Note: 
- While this is a non-technical trek, it is a difficult walk. In several places, a steep scramble is required. The walk requires a reasonable level of fitness to complete. 
- Travel insurance including medical evacuation is considered mandatory 
- Visas are available from the nearest PNG consul (or Australian consul if a PNG one is not available) 

Inclusions

  • All domestic scheduled flights 
  • 1 nights accommodation in Port Moresby at Holiday Inn
  • 1 nights accommodation in Madang
  • Government Taxes 
  • All meals on the expedition component (9 Breakfast, 7 Lunches and 7 Dinners)
  • All accommodation outside of Port Moresby 
  • 1 x Local Guide and an Australian Guide throughout
  • 7 nights accommodation along the trek.
  • Return airport transfers
  • Refreshments at the end of the track
  • Tents and all camping gear such as pots, cups, knives, forks, spoons etc

Exclusions

  • International airfares
  • Travel insurance

Maps

Extensions

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