Wrapping up Indonesia
So as I’m sitting here trying to come up with the words to express how disappointing the last trip to
While I was in Indonesia, I started a list of “things that went wrong” and started to get depressed, but I’m glad I did, because now I can type it out and laugh at everything because I had absolutely no control over all of these things and it’s only something that could have happened in a movie.
After booking the original trip of trekking to Base Camp (BC), it was cancelled because the villages we were going to trek through wanted more money and wouldn’t let anyone through. A week later, I was told we couldn’t trek in and had to go via helicopter, requiring more money (fuel for those things isn’t cheap), and a change in flights from
So when I arrived in
It’s expensive in
So I took off from Bali to Makassar, but in Makassar, I was told that all flights were booked to
So after the fuel was “found” and after we could use the Kamov, they decide that the Kamov needed some sort of “anti-freezing” instrument placed on the blades because of the altitude. Great. Another part. Well that part was ordered, got there quickly (quick enough) but they didn’t have the tools to put it on either. Wonderful.
So back to the Kamov… fuel is there, crew is ready, we’re ready, part is finally on… we still can’t take the other heli, so we head up in the Kamov. After about an hour of flying up to base camp, we see it, but can’t land because the clouds are too thick and it’s too dangerous to land. We discussed us jumping out and the crew tossing us our climbing gear, but they weren’t too keen on that idea. So it’s back to Nabire.
Weather the next day wasn’t great, so we didn’t go anywhere and enjoyed the 103 temps with 100% humidity. I think one of my ears is a little lower because it melted a little and slid down my head.
The next day we attempted the base camp again. No dice. Back to Nabire again. We figured we’d try again tomorrow, but guess what… no fuel. We’re out. By this time the “inspector” for the smaller heli showed up and looked at the “part” they put on only to say, “great. Looks wonderful. Now take it off and put it back on in front of me so I know you did it right.” Sigh. Another 2 days of playing around in the jungle heat waiting on something that might not happen. In the mean time, we wanted to meet with the pilot because we heard he was going to be back on the island. We were told he was, we went to meet with him (but he was actually the co-pilot – pilot was in
The next day I took off from Biak back to Jakarta, changed my flight out of Jakarta to a few days later (when I thought I’d actually get back to Jakarta), and spent nearly 10 hours in the airport trying to fly standby to get to Seoul to Chicago. Midnight comes rolling around, I sleep in the airport for a while, finally find a hotel, take a taxi there, check in, sleep for an hour or so, and get ready to head back to the airport again and fly home. That worked, and 2 days later I landed in
Looking back at it, it’s one frustrating trip to say the least and I didn’t even cover everything that went wrong because this novella has gone on long enough. I did, however, get the opportunity to meet some incredible people and they have become some good friends...
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
He relies on your messages and encouragement to "Keep Climbing!" You can send him messages via the internet directly to his satellite phone by going here:
Click on "send a satellite message" then follow the instructions, and make sure you input his number in the "To" field.
It's not easy getting his number, so treasure it and keep it in a safe place: 881632511299 "8816" only goes in once... fyi.
Monday, September 21, 2009
It's a climb that would even have Indiana Jones shaking in his boots; four days from now, two-time cancer survivor Sean Swarner will board a plane to Indonesia to face Carstenz Pyramid. If he makes it to the top and home alive, he'll be one summit away from climbing the nine highest peaks in the world and from becoming the first cancer survivor to do it.
The political unrest in the country takes the lives of dozens of civilians every year. The hike through the jungle on the way to the climb will force Sean and his crew to cross the Freeport Mine, an area where guerilla warriors are known to kill civilians every year; an Australian working near the mine was shot just last month. The peak was actually closed to climbers for more than a decade (between 1995 and 2005) because the political and social violence in the country became so heated.
Still, armed with bribe money and an experienced guide, Sean will embark on the 18 day trek, trying to avoid not only guerillas, but cannibals and endless diseases that still exist in the area.
He'll be documenting his climb through audio and video pod-casts he'll be able to update everyday with a satellite phone. Supporters will also be able to send text messages to Sean as he climbs the mountain and he'll be able to call them back. All people will have to do is go to his website to send a message to the satellite number.