Physical fitness training in preparation to climb Carstensz Pyramid

Part 1: What to expect in Indonesia

Climbing and traveling in New Guinea requires physical strength, stamina, endurance, balance and agility! A core fitness program is a key component to enjoy the adventure of traveling & climbing. Tackling Carstensz in anything less than your absolute best fitness is tantamount to running the Leadville 100 without shoes: possible, but silly! The approach trek travels through rain forest (emphasis on rain!) and boggy terrain, and the climb ascends to high altitudes (the summit is 16,023 ft/ 4,884 m), with the actual ascent of Carstensz being a moderately difficult and challenging rock climb. On top of that, though Carstensz lies along the equator, the weather is fickle. It is common to be rained upon throughout the adventure, and it is not uncommon to see snow on summit day. Here are a few pics to help inspire the athlete in you to get started …


Understanding what to expect once our feet are on the ground in Indonesia helps us focus our fitness training.

The altitude, length of trip, the remoteness of the area, the multi-day trek to base camp, and the technical nature of the climb, all contribute to make this a challenging and demanding trip.

What to expect:

  • Steep hiking with 40 lb. loads
  • 12-14+ hour summit day
  • Exposed fourth-class climbing
  • Several hundred feet of low fifth-class rock
  • Several Tyrolean traverses
  • 15-20 rappels

Here’s a clear example of qualifications requested for joining a guided party as well as some basic fitness guidelines.

Part 2: Developing a personal fitness training program


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