Carstensz Pyramid is the highest peak in Oceania a continent of islands that includes Australia. It is in Western Papau Indonesia a 16,000ft mountain as wild and the country its in. Indonesia a country of 250,000 million people, 17,000 islands, 350 ethnic groups and 750 different languages. To access the mountain is a 4 day walk through a jungle. Recent tribal uprising and a few kidnappings and murders, have most outfitters choosing to get to the mountain by helicopter flying over the jungle. I am a little disappointed, part of the beauty of the mountain is the culture around it. I was looking forward to meeting the cannibal tree dwelling Korowai tribe that lives in the jungle. There is also a bright side to not having to trudge through a soggy jungle for a week. We fly in and out of Bali spending our extra days on some of the best surfing and most beautiful places in the world.
Almost four months ago I had a close call in Nepal. It has been a long road back and Denali was pushed off until 2020. Carstenzs will now be my 6th of the 7 major summits. My road back has been a rocky one it took 2 months to get over the low blood count and low energy and when training began it was difficult. July started with my 62 birthday and my first time on a mountain in 3 months. 5 days of hard training with my training partner and wife Lisa gave me confidence that I am ready. She is still not crazy about my long expeditions but supports me anyway. She also climbed back to back 14ers. I was very proud of her for doing that for me. This week I returned to Colorado alone for 5 days climatizing and getting use to gear and retesting my conditioning. I walked up on bears, moose, goats, sheep and spent time at 14k a mixture of good and bad. Am I ready? I never feel that way and when I evaluate my performance I always am over critical.
I am 4 hours to arriving in Bali and meeting the rest of the team. All members have summited Everest and experienced climbers. Mike Roberts is the Adventure consultants leader and I am excited to be climbing with him and this team.
Lesson to grandkid:
Strength is fleeting, physically I can tell the difference year after year. Strength and physical beauty are liars, over time if you depend on them to carry you to the end they will fail you. The purest form of strength and beauty is what you develop from within, I have grown stronger with age, and replace any physical loss with a mental strength that will keep me moving far beyond when my body tells me to stop.