Mount Wilhelm, Papua New Guinea
Mount Wilhelm Reviews
Climb the highest mountain in Oceania! Jul 26, 2015
It will take 2-3 days to get to the top, but the views are absolutely stunning.
Mount Wilhelm is 4,509 m in height and is the second highest peak on the island, but is considered the highest mountain in Oceania geopolitically as the other high peak of PNG is on the Irian Jaya side belonging to Indonesia.
You start your trek usually in Kundiawa, although there is an air strip close to Mount Wilhelm in the village of Kegesugl that has a sporadic flight schedule and gets you within one day walking. It is recommended to stay at one of the lodges for one night acclimating as the hike is not a walk in the park. We stayed at Betty's Lodge both on the way up and on the way down and I highly recommend it. http://content.time.com/time/travel/article/0,31542,2096813,00.html
Betty started this with her husband and runs a trout business as well. The food in her kitchen is fresh from her massive garden. The rooms are cozy and the guests are fun to interact with. In addition, she will help find you a guide and/or porter as needed. A guide is highly recommended for this trek.
The next day is a leisurely walk to Base camp at the lakes at the base of Mount Wilhelm. Depending on how fast you walk through the jungle, this probably 8km walk can take 3-6 hours. We stopped a few times to admire the abundant wildlife - birds of paradise, some small critters. When you arrive at the lodge (there are a couple of options), you will need to cook a good carbo-loading meal, and settle in for the night somewhat early as the hike starts at 1 or 2 AM the next morning in order to arrive at the peak by sunrise. Walking approximately 2-3 miles per hour (steep cliffs!), we finished the hike in 5.5 hours. The descent took us 7 hours because it is actually a lot harder going down, and it had rained the day before making it slippery, muddy and up top - icy.
Warm gear is essential, and you might want to bring double gloves to share with your much less prepared guides. I ended up distributing my socks for this purpose.
The views are breath-taking and the feeling of accomplishment having summited this not-so-easy peak are well worth the potential danger of falling off, frost bite and getting lost. All of those dangers are minimized by taking along a guide and providing them with warm coat/mittens as this will ensure they are able to continue to the top with you.
If you have any questions as you are planning your Mount Wilhelm visit, please do not hesitate to ask! I would love to share this experience with others!
Part of the list Places to Explore soon.
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