PNG Three Peaks Trek
These are PNG's big three summits, the highest mountain, the highest volcano and the most rugged smaller brother. This is a tough expedition, one that will take you to places few visit; across sublime landscapes and with a diverse group of people from all parts of the PNG Highlands. If you're up for it, this is an awesome expedition.
- Be one of the first to traverse the Mt Giluwe massif
- Climb the highest volcano in Australasia (4367m)
- Trek to the summit of Mt Kabangama (4118m)
- Witness awesome views from three summits
- Climb the highest mountain in PNG, Mt Wilhelm (4509m)
- Trek with wonderful Highland people explaining their cultures and knowledge of this fascinating land
Three 4000-metre peaks in one expedition. The highest summit in PNG, Mt Wilhelm at 4509 metres, the highest volcanic peak in Australasia and one of the seven highest volcanic peaks on each continent Mt Giluwe at 4367 metres and their smaller but difficult brother Mt Kabangama at 4118 metres, form the backdrop to this diverse and amazing expedition.
Could this be the toughest trek in Papua New Guinea? We think it has it all. High altitude, jungle trails, open montane grasslands, rocky summits, remote rivers, villages and more.
Papua New Guinea has over 12 known 4000-metre peaks. Some are not even named. This mountainous nation is ripe for those who love adventure, rugged terrain, spectacular views and places where virtually no other trekkers will be seen.
We will start our expedition with the highest volcanic peak in Australasia, Mt Giluwe, where we will do a complete traverse of this enormous extinct volcanic massif. From there, we will power our way up Mt Kabangama. From her summit, we can see Mt Giluwe and our next destination, Mt Wilhelm.
This 16-day expedition will take you into the PNG highlands, to a part of the world few ever venture and even fewer ever trek through. This is a great opportunity to see one of the most fascinating places on the planet and be part of an adventure of a lifetime.
Are you up for the challenge?
Day 1: Arrive in Port Moresby and transfer to the Holiday Inn.
Day 2: Port Moresby to Mt Hagen and then onto Melki. Then to Camp 1 above the tree line. (B,L,D)
Day 3: Camp 1 to Gully Camp. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Trek to base camp at 3900m asl. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Summit Day and then to Gully Camp 2. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Gully Camp 2 to Guest House. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Trek to the road and then drive to Andcap at the base of Mt Kabangama. (B,D)
Day 8: Andcap to River Camp. (B,L,D)
Day 9: River Camp to base camp of Kabangama. (B,L,D)
Day 10: Base camp to summit and then back to base camp and on to Lake Camp. (B,L,D)
Day 11: Lake camp to River Camp (B,L,D)
Day 12: River Camp to Andcap and then drive to Betty's Lodge at the base of Mt Wilhelm. (B,D)
Day 13: Betty's Lodge to the base camp of Mt Wilhelm. (B,L,D)
Day 14: Mt Wilhelm summit and then back to Betty's Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 15: From Betty's, we will head to Mt Hagen and our flight back to Port Moresby. (B)
Day 16: Today we head home. (B)
LIFE IN THE MOUNTAINS
The PNG Highlands is a remote part of a remote country. On Mt Giluwe and Mt Kabangama, you will see no man-made structures. From about 3600m 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 has been witnessed. Strong, cold winds are common and rain and mist can occur suddenly turning visibility to only a few metres.
The sky around these mountains is usually clear in the early morning, but by 9am the fog that is laying low in the valley, lifts. Large cloud formations gather at higher altitudes and by midday intermittent mist and showers occur, usually until sunset. Summit attempts will be a mix of early rises such as 1am on Mt Wilhelm and just after sunrise on Kabangama and Giluwe.
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 hypothermia. 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.
- 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)
Day 1: Arrive in Port Moresby and transfer to the Holiday Inn. Here we will have a briefing about our expedition, what to expect, last minute packing and then off to bed.
Day 2: Port Moresby to Mt Hagen and then onto Melki. We will fly into Mt Hagen, which is the main port for the PNG Highlands. From there, we will pick up our team and food for the expedition and drive to Melki which is at the base of Mt Giluwe. This small village lives mainly from crops grown in wonderful gardens. Last checks and we are off into the primary rainforest up the side of Giluwe. After approximately 3 - 4 hours, we will be at 3600m above sea level. The thick jungle and the relatively narrow trail makes way for open grassland which is welcome, as the jungle is thick on Giluwe.
Here we will make camp for the night with great views down into the valley below. But the summit of Giluwe is nowhere to be seen, as the massif is huge. (B,L,D)
Day 3: This is a relatively short day, taking us onto a ridge that will wriggle its' way toward the summit. Large tarns (lakes left behind by the retreating glaciers that once spilled down from the summit) dot the landscape and rugged peaks now jut from ridgeline to ridgeline. The prominent "Dogs Tooth" (a large and high rocky outcrop) can be seen today. We will end up sleeping in a small gully at approximately 3800m asl. (B,L,D)
Day 4: This is base camp day. Back up onto the ridge towards two 4000m peaks, but these are not the summit. Mt Giluwe is hidden behind these giants, so we head down into a vast grassy valley, through a boggy landscape, around the giants and into another valley that is enormous. One can only imagine the glacier that once ground its' way down this valley from the summit. And there it is, to our left, the summit of Giluwe. We will make camp near a small bush outcrop, preparing ourselves for the following day's summit trek. Camp is at 3900m asl. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Summit Day. We will rise early and head out along a very narrow trail through the grassland to the saddle that connects the Giluwe Summit with the two other 4000m peaks. Once on the Saddle at just over 4000m we can see down into an enormous valley on the southern slopes. High cliffs prevail and that route does not look inviting. We will continue on up a narrow and steep gully resting only 150m below the summit. From there, there is a little scramble across a short exposed ridge (approximately 5m long) and then with a grab of grassy tufts, we scramble to the summit with unsurpassed 360-degree views of the PNG Highlands. Mt Wilhelm and Kabangama can be seen to the east and northeast. (B,L,D)
Once we have reached the summit, it is back to base camp for a rest. From base camp we will head back up to the base of several rugged peaks and then head down the other side of the massif, setting up camp in a small gully above the tree line. (B,L,D)
Day 6: This side of the mountain has only just opened and as such the trail is almost non-existent. It is pristine cloud and rainforest but after several hours of making our way through, we will overnight in a newly constructed guest house on the southern slopes of Mt Giluwe. (B,L,D)
Day 7: After breakfast, we will head down to Pundia bidding farewell to our local team and head to Andcap at the base of Mount Kabangama for our overnight stay. The drive from Giluwe to Andcap is approximately 4 hours. (B,D)
Day 8: From Andcap village, we will take a local trail up a ridgeline, through kunai grass and then into the thick Kabangama jungle. After traversing this ridgeline, we will head down to a river we have been following where we will overnight. (B,L,D)
Day 9: Today we head out of the jungle and reach Base Camp. This will be one of the toughest days of the entire expedition as we must first trek through rarely walked jungle and then traverse around several large rocky outcrops that form a barrier between us and the summit. This day will take fortitude to complete but the rewards are well worth it. (B,L,D)
Day 10: From base camp, we will head up to the ridgeline that forms the main summit of Kabangama. The trek will only take an hour or so with incredible views of Mt Giluwe and Mt Wilhelm. The actual summit of Kabangama can only be reached by expert rock climbers however we will reach a point only 20 metres from this on the main ridge. (B,L,D)
From here we will head back down for breakfast at base camp and then further down to a small campsite just below a large lake.
Day 11: From lake camp we will make our way back down the same trail we came up, eventually reaching the site of our first camp by the river. (B,L,D)
Day 12: From river camp, we continue down, back through Andcap where we will farewell many of our porters and then head by vehicle to Betty's Lodge at the base of Mt Wilhelm. There, Betty will look after us with a home cooked meal and a warm bed for the night. (B,D)
Day 13: This is a relatively short day as we head to the base camp of Mt Wilhelm. The trail takes us up through high altitude cloud forests until we reach a couple of high altitude lakes and our campsite by the lake. The rest of the day is ours to explore. We should be well acclimatised by now for our summit push the next day. (B,L,D)
Day 14: Today, we will reach the highest point in Papua New Guinea, Mt Wilhelm at 4509 metres above sea level. This is a rocky summit, similar to Giluwe but 200 metres higher. Some rock scrambling is required to reach the summit where the views are breathtaking and a fitting end to our amazing three summits trek. (B,L,D)
From the summit of Mt Wilhelm, we will head down to base camp and then all the way to Betty's to overnight again there. What an incredible expedition we have just completed.
Day 15: From Betty's, we will head to Mt Hagen and our flight back to Port Moresby. (B)
Day 16: Today we bid you farewell and hopefully reflect on what an achievement we have made over the last 17 days. (B)
- All domestic scheduled flights
- 2 nights accommodation in Port Moresby at the Holiday Inn
- 2 nights at Betty's lodge
- Government Taxes
- All meals on the expedition component (15 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches and 13 Dinners)
- All accommodation outside of Port Moresby
- 1 x Local Guide and an Australian Guide throughout
- Full porter team including Chef
- 12 nights accommodation along the trek
- Return airport transfers
- Tents and all camping gear such as pots, cups, knives, forks, spoons etc
- International airfares
- Travel insurance
Port Moresby Nature Park