After 11 hours of hiking up through dense jungle and grassy equatorial highlands following a ridge over many hilltops we arrived in the rain at basecamp.
Monday October 9 we climbed up a steep couloir (about 65 degrees on the upper 150m) to the summit of Mount Giluwe. The climb was pretty straight forward but more exposed and technical than I was expecting. There was little room for error in some places. We were mostly in slow drifting engulfing clouds but the jagged saw-tooth mountains would gradually appear out of the mist. The whole landscape has a fairy tale beauty.
I shared a sincere special affinity with my Papuan guide and porters. Under a tarpaulin shelter built on the edge of a miniature forest on the grassy sloped highlands they started a fire in the rain and cooked on the coals sweet potato, corn & rice. Papuans are gentle and friendly and so willing to help. Unfortunately life expectancy is only about 45 years because of a poor lifestyle and lack of modern infrastructure.
Giluwe is the highest volcano (4368m) in Oceania and it is # 4 reached on my challenge to climb all 7 of the Volcanic Seven Summits (highest volcano on every continent) in my 70th year. To date since May I have climbed Mt. Elbrus – Russia/ EUROPE (June 2nd); Mt Kilimanjaro- Tanzania/ AFRICA (June 11th); Mt. Damavand – Iran/ ASIA (September 29); Mt. Giluwe – PNG/ OCEANIA (October 9). THE WORLD IS HUGE. WE DETERMINE HOW BIG WE DARE TO ENVISION OUR LIVES.