We got to Papua without any problems from where we planned to fly with a missionary airline to Beogi. Due to the tribal fights we decided to change our plans and fly to Sugapa, as the missionairies suggested, where it should be peaceful and the porters were supposed not to rebel.
After we landed, having seen naked or half naked people wearing some original jewellery, everyone started taking photos. They attacked us saying that we’ll have no porters. After two hours of apologising they finally agreed. In one day we were supposed to get to Pugapa but it took us 3 days. And although instead of forcing our way through the jungle, we walked along the path among villages, it wasn’t easy. After getting to Pugapa our porters dissapeared. It turned out that in tribal wars 5 people were killed last night. They were not going to accompany us any longer as if they had left their village without protection its people would have been killed. Depressed because of this situation we decided to wait. Finally we came to the conlusion that the best idea would be to get back to the place where we landed and try the first way. It turned out that the return is also impossible as there were tribal wars on the way. We were cut off. Finally the porters decided to go with us to the gold mine Grassberg which is situated at the foot of our mountain but doesn’t agree on entering its territory. Grassberg – the biggest and richest mine of gold and copper in the world doesn’t let the climbers into its territory because it doesn’t pay as much as mining and because they don’t want the world to see the photos of ecological disaster that happened there. But we had no choice and we hoped that we would find a passage around the mine. After 4 days walking in the rain and mud we saw a road. So we were on the way to the mine. We didn’t find any shortcut. The guards would probably throw us away. But the miracle happened. For not a small payment the guards smuggled us to the place where helicopters land at the foot of Carstensz so called Zebra Wall. We menaged to do it. We got to the base camp. Next night we decided to attack the summit. On the whole way the ropes are fixed, but the whole way you have to climb. The level of difficulties; 3 and 4. There are also some places where the level is 5. Finally we got to the most difficult passage – a fault in the crest which estimated level is 7. Nowadays this passage is omitted, climbers walk across a suspension bridge which is also very difficult.
There were also a few difficult and exposed places and finally, in perfect weather we stood on the summit, where we spent about an hour. We reached the summit but what next? We widn’t have the porters and we were afraid of going through the steep jungle to Beogi with our heavy baggage. We decided on a very desperate move. We descended through the mine. During 1,5 hours of marching nobody stopped us. Around the biggest trucks in the Word and lunar landscape. Finally we got to the offices and caught a bus with workers, but people there put two and two together and called the guards. Our begging didn’t help. We had to go back to Zebra Wall. We tried to call the board but there was just one answer – we had to go back through the jungle. An additional problem was that we were prepared for the shorter route so we didn’t have enough food. The mine refused to let us go through its territory.
We asked the Polish Embassy for help which promised us to force Freeport company. After three days without the food we decided that maybe if we had informed the press about what happened it would have help. But we couldn’t agree on its content. After 3 days the mine sent us a doctor and food supplies for workers. So we wouldn’t starve to death. 5 days later we called the Polish Embassy and heard that we have the permission of the parent company in Luisiana. But the local authorities still didn’t agree. We tried to send a helicopter but the authorities didn’t agree for the flight over the mine. The situation got really tense. We decided to enter the teritory of the mine and manifest. After some time the guards said that they would take us down. It happened after 8 days. We had to cover 160 km through the mine territory, part of it by cars and part by a cable railway. Finally we got to the Sheraton Hotel in Timica and that’s how the expedition ended.
Special thanks to: Petr Jahoda, Tomasz Kobielski, the Polish Embassy in Jakarta.