A short summary of our 2014 climb
The peak name:
One of the three heads of the "Clans" that are "Landowners" of this mountain, drew small map by hand where this name (Mount Boising) appeared. The other two "landowner" clans are in full agreement. It became clear from my visit over 2 weeks that this name is "widely" used and accepted to mean this peak among about a local population of perhaps 2000 people. In this context, It is interesting to note that the peak itself is actually visible from the village of Gwarawon, the by far largest village in the Nankina tribe area. Thus, the need for a name is pretty obvious. I believe that I heard somebody refer to Boising as just meaning "the highest". I shall check on this in the near future.
The peak location:
The summit area consists of a pretty sharp (short) ridge with considerable drops. We built cairns at each end. There is a small hump along this ridge that may be about the same height (as the high end). The other end is clearly lower. The main cairn was built on what appears to be the natural high point of this short ridge. This location is:
My best estimate based on measurements on 2 different days,
is (conservatively) that
the elevation is 4150 meter. (GPS readings of 4151 and 4155)
I would be highly surprised if this is more than 5 meter off.
The Garmin itself typically said its accuracy was in the
range +/- 3 meter. One should double this to get vertical
uncertainty. The Google Map contours are not accurate, they
show a rounded summit area.
The first ascent:
The first ascent was made on June 25th at 1410 (local time) by a party of 5 with my son Pål Jørgen leading the route-finding up the (north) ridge. We all held hands and stepped onto the summit together:
On June 26. the climb was repeated, this time by
This climb was significant, as it broke a TABOO among the
natives, that NO woman should even approach this mountain area.
The belief was that this would (certainly) lead to her death. The chiefs in
two different villages debated this for many hours and finally
approved, under several rules that we followed. Barbara has
lived in a Papua village as the only white for more than 20 years,
she walks around barefoot and is quite well known back down in
Gwarawon etc. Thus, it was very appropriate that
she became the first woman to climb the highest peak in the Finisterre Range.
Here is a GPX track from my GPS, showing our exact route from the village of Gwarawon:
(Note that the map is a bit cluttered by tracks that are just straight lines, however, the navigation menu allows to examine individual tracks as well as hiding tracks that are of less interest. Please contact me if you have questions related to this.)
How to get there:
The Finisterre Range is located in Papua, New Guinea. The range separates the coast known as the Rai coast from the Ramu valley. The best point of departure for this mountain is the town of Madang, located across from the Rai coast.
International flights from Australia and Singapore serve Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea (short is PNG), this is the only city with international flights. There are scheduled domestic flights connecting Madang and Port Moresby.
Madang has several options for lodging. The high end is Madang Resort, but there are also a few smaller hotels and guesthouses that will provide accommodation. Madang has a supermarket and several banks with ATMs that accept international bank and credit cards.
Here is an outline of a 2 week trip. Clearly, some variations are possible and even likely to happen. However, after our initial trip where a substantial effort was breaking/establishing a trail, this trip can now be planned as a two week effort. This schedule assumes that all participants are in good shape and able to walk on difficult trails for full days.
This schedule has one full reserve day (day 11) that may be used to handle
unforseen complications. Rough sea may delay the crossing of the bay with
the dinghy, really bad weather could postpone the summit day etc. In addition,
the schedule as outlined contains a bit more flexibility. If one arrives by
noon in Saidor, one may walk up to the village Wesan that day and possibly (strong
party) reach Gwarawon the next day. Similarly, one may descend all the way from
Sapsap to Kwombwu in one long day.
A one week trip is also possible, provided that one is able to charter a dependable flight (small airplane) round-trip from Madang to Gwarawon. My experience with two such airlines, MAF (Missonary Aviation Fellows) and SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics), is rather negative. They are not (as of 2014) professional. They do not stand by agreements and may fail to honor definite plans on short notice. (Read about this in my trip report.) The price for a charter flight is also at least twice as expensive as a similar bush charter in for example Alaska. This situation may possibly improve in the future.
Still, it should be noted that there is a lot of quality in actually hiking from the very coast with coconut palms and a sandy beach, all the way across the different vegatation zones to a 4000 meter peak. This way, one gets to experience the trails that the native population has walked for centuries, one sees and sleeps in the small local villages and learns a lot about both nature and people, highly recommended!
Comments / Trip Report:
This peak was known to be the only unclimbed peak on the list of the 50 most prominent mountains in the world. Very little information existed, the name was not known outside the Nankina tribe. The peak was just known as the highest point in the Finisterre Range.
My son Pål Jørgen and I first tried to climb this peak in June 2012.
We failed to reach our goal for a number of different reasons, but gained a lot of
Trip reports describing
our 2012 journey
as well as the
successful expedition in 2014 will be available towards the end of 2014..