MT SARAWAGET ASCENT

TRIP NOTES

MT SARAWAGET SUMMIT EXPEDITION

10 Days $4890 ex Port Moresby

Accommodation

7 Nights Camping
2 Nights Hotel

Transportation

Mostly on foot
Vehicle transfers, return flight to Port Moresby

Included Meals

9 Breakfasts
9 Lunches
9 Dinners

Trip Grade

Category 4
Extreme Expedition Hot

“Where the bloody hell is the top?”

That was Bob voicing what we were all thinking. For days we were climbing through dense rain forest, ridge after ridge, valley after valley. Beneath our feet wasn’t solid earth but spongy humus, who knows how thick.

At times the only way we knew which way to climb, was by looking up and seeing one of our local guides ahead. There was no trail up here on this side of the mountain, just a general direction.

Yet after days of trudging through this mayhem of foliage and moss, we had reach 3400 meters. Peter Ryan, the author of Fear Drive My Feet, experienced exactly what we experienced. “The moss forest ceased abruptly, giving place to a growth of short prickly grass, and small shrubs about two feet high. We felt freer and less oppressed. There was a little pale, weak sunlight, which seemed to warm us and lift our spirits.”

There standing before us were the summits we had come to climb. One after the other stood 4000 meter peak after 4000 meter peak along one distinct ridge. Problem was, we were on the wrong side of the ridge to access them. Our mission to traverse the Sarawaget Range and summit these 4000 meter peaks had failed.

“…it struck me how little we knew of what lay on the other side of the range. We knew neither where we would come out nor the name of the first village we would find.”

Fear Drive My Feet – Peter Ryan

These words are not the words of a travel brochure to market a set itinerary of day to day events. The trek to Mt Sarawaget is a true adventure with an abundance of unknowns, making it that much more exciting and fulfilling.

However, we learnt a lot from the first traverse and we know the trail that leads to the base of these mountains. Most importantly we have befriended the people of Kiroro on the northern side of Sarawaget, who are more than excited to have us return to their beautiful mountain.

Papua New Guinea has only 12 recognised 4000 meter peaks. We know this number is an understatement and we are setting out to expand this list and to open the highlands of Papua New Guinea to adventure travelers. We were one of the first groups to do the full traverse of Mt Wilhelm (PNG’s highest peak), we were the first to traverse Mt Giluwe (Australasia’s highest volcano) and the first to traverse Mt Kabangama. In 2019 we will head to Mt Sarawaget (4121 meters), north of Lae, to climb and discover other thus unnamed or unrecognised 4000 meter peaks. 

This area is rarely visited and as such is new territory for a commercial venture of this type. Our itinerary below is fluid. Plans will change, they always do! You will need to pack a great sense of adventure and ensure you have the skill to adapt to an ever-changing environment. 

Once we reach above 3600 meters, the landscape will open up into grasslands. This will enable us to make plans to either stick to the itinerary or if time and terrain permits, try our luck at other ridges and peaks not yet recognised.

If you are up for adventure off the beaten track (if there is a track), then why not join us on this wonderful trek into the PNG high country?

“As we pushed onwards the track became increasingly vague and faint, but there was no fear of losing the way, for travel in any direction except along the top of the ridge was impossible”.

Fear Drive My Feet – Peter Ryan 

The Journey

From our International flight we will transfer immediately to our domestic flight to Lae. From there we will transfer to a hotel close to the airport for our briefing before dinner.

This morning we will transfer to the airport for our light aircraft flight to Kabwum on the northern slopes of Sarawaget. There we will be met by our local team and transferred along the very bumpy road to Iloko which is where the road ends. From Iloko we will start our trek for Kiroro approximately 3 hours from the trail-head. This is a great introduction to what we will face in days ahead with steep ascents and descents from one river crossing to the next. (B,L,D)

Early this morning we will head out for the Sarawaget slopes that lay just behind Kiroro. This is a beautiful walk through open farmland, grassland and pristine forests. There is one section that is extremely steep before the landscape opens up through a canyon to our camp at Mono. Our approximate height is 3000 meters (B,L,D)

This is the day we reach the open grassland and get to see the massive range of Sarawaget. While we could go further we will stay at this campsite as it will provide us with ample cover, water and timber for fires. We are now at 3650 meters above sea level. (B,L,D)

Today we will see the summits we have come to climb. After trekking over a 3900-meter ridge we will see the 4000-meter peaks before us and below, a wonderful high altitude lake called Lake Gwam. This is a sacred lake and as such we cannot swim in her (though it would be very cold) nor can we camp by her shores. Thus we will head back up toward an area we have identified from our 2019 trek as a sufficient base camp. Base camp will be at about 3900 – 4000 meters. (B,L,D)

This is the day we have all been waiting for, a chance to reach the summit of one of Sarawaget’s 4000-meter peaks. There are at least 4, close peaks that rise above 4000 meters. Of course, we will try the highest first and if the weather holds out we will scramble to several others, eating lunch while we go. This will be both an exhausting and satisfying journey. Tonight we will be back at base camp. (B,L,D)

If we haven’t completed all the summits in this area, we will try again today. From there we will head north-west toward a natural massive amphitheatre created by several 4000-meter peaks and giant cliffs that plunge down toward the valley below. We will establish another campsite on this side of the range. (B,L,D)

Today we dedicate to climbing as many of the 4000-meter peaks in this amphitheatre. We know none of these has been climbed and it will be a great opportunity to summit several peaks for the first time. (B,L,D)

This morning we farewell the mountain and our local team. A prearranged helicopter will pick us up from base camp and fly us back to Lae. From Lae we will fly back to Port Moresby and the Holiday Inn. We will celebrate our great achievement with a couple of the team that will have flown back to Port Moresby with us. (B,L,D)

Its time to head home after our great adventure. (B)

Note: Our local team from Kiroro will walk back from basecamp to Mono in a day where they will be safe in a hut you will see on the way up. 

Journey Extensions and Upgrades

Check out our Journey Extensions for those that want to stay a little longer or try something different along the way.

A shirt 10 minutes drive from our hotel, the Port Moresby Nature Park is a colourful addition to an PNG getaway. This half day tour showcases PNG’s fascinating wildlife, allowing you to get up close to the Tree Kangaroo, Cassowary, Crocodile, Bird of Paradise and a plethora of parrots and reptiles.

The park’s facilities are world class (including a great little coffee shop so you can buy water and food there if needed) with great enclosures and information signage, and you’ll be fully guided by a park expert throughout.

If you’ve a few spare hours before or after your trip, we highly recommend this tour (the park opens at 8am so you can get there early and do a tour before your flight home).

Per person is $60 

Includes: Transfers to and from park and an expert guided tour of the park.

 

Rabaul is an hour and a half flight away from Port Moresby and is a great town to explore and lots of activities.

You can go snorkelling, cruising, visit the Duke of York Islands or climb a volcano.

There are also bustling markets and great bird watching. A great additional trip for someone who wants to see other areas of Papua New Guinea, but wants to do more than just rest and relaxation.

Price per person is $600.

 

Nusa Island Retreat in Kavieng, on the island of New Ireland, is only an hours flight from Port Moresby, but feels a world away, with crystal clear waters, incredible scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing and surfing. 

After finishing a Kokoda trek, Nusa Island Retreat is the perfect place to recover, and to see a whole new side of PNG.

We can help you with your domestic flights to Kavieng.

Premium Room
Single Room: $330 per person/per night
Double/Twin: $240 per person/per night

Includes all meals and airport transfers

Tufi Resort is an hours flight from Port Moresby and is situated in the world’s largest tropical loch system where palm trees flow all the way down to the water’s edge.

Tufi is a boutique resort, built to overlook the stunning landscape by which it is surrounded.

With access to some of the best SCUBA and snorkelling in PNG, waterfalls, local villages and secluded beaches, Tufi offers excellent accommodation and food for those that want to get away from it all.

After finishing a Kokoda trek or for those want to relax, dive or fish Tufi is a perfect oasis.

Tufi is serviced by flights every second day from Port Moresby. 

Check out their website at www.tufidive.com

Accommodation

Deluxe Bungalows (1 queen and 1 single) Sea facing balconies

Single $330
Double $250
Child $140

Deluxe Rooms (Balcony facing resort)

Single $295
Double $210

Standard Rooms (no balcony or sea views)

Single $235
Double $160

Includes all meals, accommodation, return airport, tea, coffee and GST.

Diving

Outer Reef

2 tank outer reef dive $200
3 tank outer reef dive $250
6 tank outer reef dive $460

House Reef Wharf Diving

1 tank wharf dive FOC
2 tank wharf dive $100
3 tank wharf dive $120

Night Wharf Dive

1 night wharf dive $110

Speciality Wreck Dive

Black Jack B17 Bomber $3000 minimum 6 pax Nov-April only

PISTOFF B25 Mitchell Bomber $1800

Includes tanks, air, weight belts, fresh fruit, cold drinks, tea, coffee, cookies, hot showers, towels and GST per person per day.

Snorkelling

Snorkelling on outer reef (per person on Dive Boat) $95

Fishing

Masalai (Shark Cat) 4 hour trip $650 seats 1-6 people. All staff and equipment provided.

Talio Mono Hull 4 hour trip $450 seats 1-4 people. All staff and equipment provided.

Cultural Tours

There are plenty of other Experiences you can take part in at Tufi resort from Full Day Tours, Bird Watching and Lookouts. Chat to the No Roads team if you would like ideas for day tours from Tufi Resort

Less than one hour from Port Moresby is the paradise that is Loloata Island Resort. This beautiful and intimate island is just off the coast of Port Moresby and is home to some of the best island reefs in the world. 

If you have friends or family who would like to meet you in PNG after your trek, this is the perfect holiday destination for them.

There are dozens of sunken ships and even an aircraft to explore for SCUBA divers. For snorkelers, there are the reefs of Lion Island.

Each room and suite has a guaranteed ocean view.

Take advantage of the spa facilities onsite, where you can book in your next massage or any other pamper treatment.

For those that don’t want to travel too far away but just far enough to relax after their expedition, Loloata is a perfect place to spend a few days. 

Includes

  • All domestic scheduled flights within PNG
  • 1 nights accommodation in Port Moresby at Holiday Inn
  • 1 nights accommodation in Lae
  • Government Taxes 
  • All meals on the expedition component (9 Breakfast, 7 Lunches and 7 Dinners)
  • All accommodation outside of Port Moresby 
  • 1 x Local Guide and an Australian Guide throughout
  • 7 nights accommodation along the trek.
  • Return airport transfers
  • Refreshments at the end of the track
  • Tents and all camping gear such as pots, cups, knives, forks, spoons etc

Excludes

  • International airfares
  • Travel insurance

Your Guides and Safety

An excellent guide can make the difference between a trip of a lifetime and just an ordinary trip. Our handpicked professionals come from a range of backgrounds. Each has extensive outdoor and hiking experience and a passion for the beautiful place that is Papua New Guinea. The guide will ensure that your trip is truly inspiring, a huge amount of fun, and safe. All guides are trained in Safety First Aid and are connected to our Port Moresby and Melbourne offices by satellite phone.

Accommodation

This is a mostly camping trip. While in town we will stay at the Holiday Inn in Port Moresby, once we are on Sarawaget we will be staying in tents. 

In Kiroro we will be staying in a purpose-built guest house.

On the trail, we will have shared tents. We will also have 1 large meal tent where we will eat our breakfast and dinners if the weather outside is inclement. We will, of course, try to make each campsite as comfortable as possible with some great meals and views you can only get at 4000 meters above sea level.

“The top of the range was a semi-plateau some six or eight miles wide, a scene of utter desolation. A howling wind, with nothing to break its force, lashed us pitilessly as we struggled forward. The great limestone outcrops seemed like bones poking through the crust of the earth.”

Fear Drive My Feet – Peter Ryan

Kiroro with Sarawaget behind

As we departed Deniki, the relatively open jungle (at least at this point) was carpeted in lush green growth.

This was the Choko vine, and little did we know, its freshly plucked fruit would form part of our dinner, that very night!

Frequently Asked Questions

Being an exploration trek our Sarawaget summits trek differs in several ways from other trips. In particular, there is no set itinerary other than arrival and departure date. However, there are some common questions for these types of treks. 

How difficult is the trek?

This is a difficult trek and is in our category 4 Extreme Hot category. What does all this mean? You are going to need to train both physically and mentally for this Trek. The hike from Kiroro to the plateau is steep and long. Then it is a long trek to the base of the summits. From there we are making it up as we go, checking the best routes and peaks to climb. So flexibility is the key to this trek.

Is it safe?

We will be using the services of the people of Kiroro on this trek. Their beautiful village is situated on the lower slopes of Sarawaget and they are the owners of the land to the summit. They will ensure our safety on the mountain. We also have a satellite phone with direct contact with our PNG team in Port Moresby in case we need an evacuation. This can be done quite quickly as Lae airport has several helicopters which service the villages and their surroundings.

Can I employ someone to carry my gear?

Yes of course. The cost is $780. You will still need to carry your own day pack, however.

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