Expeditions
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Mt Sarawaget Summit Expedition

Background

In August 2019, a group of Australian and German trekkers reached the grassland just below the summit of the Sarawaget massif. From there they saw at least six, maybe eight peaks that were over 4000 meters. This expedition is completely dedicated to reaching these summits, recording their heights and exploring this incredibly rugged and mountainous range. 

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 

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 Lae.
Day 2: Early morning we will fly to Kabwum, transfer to Iloko and then trek for 3 hours to the village of Kiroro where we will meet our local team of guides.
Day 3: From Kiroro we will trek up a very steep slope to a bush camp called Mono.
Day 4: After breakfast we will head further up the mountain, finally breaking the tree line for a campsite in the alpine grasslands at about 3650 meters.
Day 5: From the alpine camp we will head over a high pass at 3900 meters and then down to Lake Gwam before heading up to our base camp below the Sarawaget summit.
Day 6: Possible early morning as we head off to the summit of the highest peak, Mt Sarawaget. If time permits we will climb a couple more peaks then back to base.
Day 7: This morning we will finish any remaining summits before heading off after lunch toward the north-west where the massif opens up into an amphitheatre of several more 4000-meter peaks.
Day 8: Today is dedicated to reaching as many 4000 meter summits as possible in this amphitheatre. 
Day 9: This morning we will be picked up by helicopter and flown to Lae airport for our flight back to Port Moresby.
Day 10: Fly home.

LIFE ON THE MOUNTAIN
Mt Sarawaget is a remote part of a remote country. From the Kiroro we will only see a couple of hunting huts until we reach the grassland. From about 3650m 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 an above-average level of fitness to complete and strong mental fortitude.
- Travel insurance including medical evacuation is considered mandatory 
- Visas are available on arrival.

Routes

Day 1: From our International flight we will transfer immediately to our domestic flight to Lae. From there we will transfer to a hotel close to the airport for our briefing before dinner.

Day 2: This morning we will transfer to the airport for our light aircraft flight to Kabwum on the northern slopes of Sarawaget. There we will be met by our local team and transferred along the very bumpy road to Iloko which is where the road ends. From Iloko we will start our trek for Kiroro approximately 3 hours from the trailhead. This is a great introduction to what we will face in days ahead with steep ascents and descents from one river crossing to the next. (B,L,D)

Day 3: Early this morning we will head out for the Sarawaget slopes that lay just behind Kiroro. This is a beautiful walk through open farmland, grassland and pristine forests. There is one section that is extremely steep before the landscape opens up through a canyon to our camp at Mono. Our approximate height is 3000 meters (B,L,D)

Day 4: This is the day we reach the open grassland and get to see the massive range of Sarawaget. While we could go further we will stay at this campsite as it will provide us with ample cover, water and timber for fires. We are now at 3650 meters above sea level. (B,L,D)

Day 5: Today we will see the summits we have come to climb. After trekking over a 3900-meter ridge we will see the 4000-meter peaks before us and below, a wonderful high altitude lake called Lake Gwam. This is a sacred lake and as such we cannot swim in her (though it would be very cold) nor can we camp by her shores. Thus we will head back up toward an area we have identified from our 2019 trek as a sufficient base camp. Base camp will be at about 3900 - 4000 meters. (B,L,D)

Day 6: This is the day we have all been waiting for, a chance to reach the summit of one of Sarawaget's 4000-meter peaks. There are at least 4, close peaks that rise above 4000 meters. Of course, we will try the highest first and if the weather holds out we will scramble to several others, eating lunch while we go. This will be both an exhausting and satisfying journey. Tonight we will be back at base camp. (B,L,D)

Day 7: If we haven't completed all the summits in this area, we will try again today. From there we will head north-west toward a natural massive amphitheatre created by several 4000-meter peaks and giant cliffs that plunge down toward the valley below. We will establish another campsite on this side of the range. (B,L,D)

Day 8: Today we dedicate to climbing as many of the 4000-meter peaks in this amphitheatre. We know none of these has been climbed and it will be a great opportunity to summit several peaks fior the first time. (B,L,D)

Day 9: This morning we farewell the mountain and our local team. A prearranged helicopter will pick us up from base camp and fly us back to Lae. From Lae we will fly back to Port Moresby and the Holiday Inn. We will celebrate our great achievement with a couple of the team that will have flown back to Port Moresby with us. (B,L,D)

Day 10: Its time to head home after our great adventure. (B)

Note: Our local team from Kiroro will walk back from basecamp to Mono in a day where they will be safe in a hut you will see on the way up. 

Inclusions

  • All domestic scheduled flights 
  • 1 nights accommodation in Port Moresby at Holiday Inn
  • 1 nights accommodation in Lae
  • 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

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