Momuna Tribe : a tribe related to Korowai

Momuna Tribe has a very similar culture to Korowai Tribe− a well-known tribe unique to living in tree houses in the rural rainforests of Papua. The Korowai tribe are spread over three administrative areas: Boven Digoel, Mappi, and Asmat. While Momuna tribe, in the lowlands of the city of Dekai, Yahukimo. Yahukimo is actually an abbreviation of the four main tribes living in this small town: Yali, Hubla, KImyal, Momuna.

However, as years gone by, the people of Momuna tribe are rarely living in the tree houses and with the social assistance of Yahukimo district government, they are moving to live in regular houses. Even then, efforts to build the “buku subu” remain to attract local and domestic tourists to visit their village outside of Dekai, Yahukimo Regency.

Adventure Carstensz Team took the time to survey the potential Yahukimo has of becoming one of the tourism spots of Papua. To gain insight into this already evolving city, Adventure Carstensz sent their team to see for themselves if there were any possible hidden capabilities this city has that they can develop.

Driving to the entrance of the track, the team had no doubt that this village was truly in the middle of the jungle. There was a small rural area with many houses, must have been the houses the district government built. Some of the locals were curious and went to see the team prepare their gear. The local guide gave the instructions and they all started heading to the track. Due to the rain, the track to the village had been muddy and if it hadn’t for their mud boots, the trekking would’ve taken more than the usual 60 minutes to finally reach Massi Village. Walking over toppled trees and heavy current rivers, the team managed to get by with the help of the local guide and the son of Chief of Momuna. The Momuna tribe welcomed us with open arms as they greeted us with smiles and showing us around their houses made of nothing but the cut-down trees visible around the house. You could tell by the shake of their roughened palms that there is no doubt they built these houses. The atmosphere was very conventional. Not far from a visit to the past.

After settling in and setting up tent, the team had a little chat with the Chief and his family. The Chief’s firstborn, still in his 20s, was enthusiastic about the tourism developed in his village. He had a favor to ask the team, “Take a lot of pictures of my tribe, document this, let the world know we exist.” he declared.

The team noticed the tribe did not rely on rice, that this tribe’s way of surviving might as well be one of the last hunters and gatherers culture left on earth. The husbands sitting out in the porch barefoot adding the final touches to their bow and sharpening their arrows while their wives gather bananas and making a fire inside the house preparing a light meal for the evening hunt.

Momuna tribe’s staple food is Sago, a starch extracted from the spongy center of various tropical palm stems. Containing nearly pure carbohydrate, it produces enough energy for them to not rely on any other primary meals. Other than sago, the hunters go in the evening in the hunt of kuskus− a marsupial mammal, similar to a tree kangaroo. Cassowaries and wild boars are also a part of what they hunt. The team went along with the hunters to maybe get a chance of witnessing a live hunt but unfortunately there was no luck.

Within two days, the team and the family have gotten along well enough that the tribe considered them as one of their members. Looking after one another, asking each other if they had enough for dinner, sharing meals and slipping in a photo op in between all while telling little bits of history of the tribe. In fact, in 1973, the Chief’s great-grandfather’s house was where a missionary landed with a helicopter and started teaching the ways of being a Christian throughout Momuna tribe. A bible school was established and that was where Momuna tribe at once started learning to speak the Indonesian language.

When it was time for the team to leave, Chief Noni seemed unready to watch the team leave. He was just starting to feel as if they were his children and someone new to look after. As the team left, one of his sons translated what Chief Noni was saying under his breath, “Make sure you come back soon, he misses you already”, with that the team took one last look at the small area and waved to the Chief. Meanwhile, the mothers and daughters wanted to come along with the team and say their goodbyes at the entrance.

A visit to the past is an eye-opening experience. Seeing how much joy is in an environment so unproblematic and so pure with simplicity. It opens your heart to a whole new form of appreciation. Leaving Massi Village and the Momuna tribe, filling them with the hope that Adventure Carstensz as a tour operator will bring more tourists to bond with this humble culture of theirs.

PTAC Team with the Head of the village and the local people of Massi

The Hidden Treasure of Pogapa

The occupants of this village, the Moni tribe, lives in harmony along with nature and are gratefully blessed with fertile soil. They plant taro, one of the earliest cultivated plant similar to yams, which is their main source of food. Coffee is also one of the plants they manage traditionally.

Being the village with the only airstrip, Pogapa is the starting point to the other remote villages located in the mountains. Plane rides take 45 minutes and it is the one and only to reach Pogapa. The trek of Pogapa and other villages around it gives you the chance to see how the locals go on with their daily routines. Along with the scenery, enjoy the fresh air fabricated by the thick rainforest.

Set your plan to come here. Meet the people of Pogapa and see their daily activities; from their food processing in the kitchen to the traditional market. Enjoy spectacular view of mountains around and feel the real inner peace while you are here.

Best Tips to Keep Yourself in Great Condition before Summit!

Hello Climbers! How is your preparation to climb Carstensz? Of course, you have prepared a variety of climbing tools and supplies that are enough to climb to the top of Carstensz. Do not forget to maintain your health before climbing. Here are some tips on what to do to help you summit healthily:

  1. Eat well and sleep enough.

Carstensz is different from other mountains in Indonesia. The weather at Carstensz tends to be rainy and sometimes snowy. Climbers sometimes tend to sleep at tents and not interested to do other activity when facing this condition. In fact, adequate food intake is needed so that stamina is maintained during the ascent. In addition, sleep for ± 6 hours before climbing will help you stay fit and awake when climbing in the early hours.

2. Acclimatize for 1-2 days.

Carstensz Peak is at an altitude of 4884 masl. You have to take a helicopter from Timika for about 20 minutes to get to Basecamp. The temperature in Timika tends to warm to hot, while in the Basecamp area is very cold. In a short time, you will feel the temperature difference that is very large when leaving from Timika to Carstensz. Most climbers will feel an unbearable headache and choose to rest in a tent. If you want to get rid of the opportunity to get to the top, continue to sleep; if not, get up and acclimatize (adjusting body temperature to the surrounding area). There are some climbers who fail before going to the top because they choose to stay sleep, take medication and end up unable to continue the expedition because their conditions are getting weaker. To avoid this situation, you must acclimatize by walking in the area around Basecamp for 2-3 hours. Take photos for a moment and enjoy the incredible natural scenery, while training your body with the altitude while occasionally doing light exercise near the climbing track. Your body will slowly adjust to the cold temperature at Carstensz.

3. Bring enough food to the summit.

You will begin the climb to the Carstensz Peak between 3:00 to 4:00 in the morning. Don’t forget to eat the food prepared by Cook, so that your body is strong enough to climb the stone wall. You need to bring enough supplies like 1 bottle of water (1 Liter), snacks (chocolate, bread, biscuits), and medicines needed. Avoid carrying too many things because you need a lot of energy to get to the top.

4. Always consult your condition with the Guide.

If you use the services of an operator, there will be a Guide in charge of helping you during the expedition. If you feel unwell when you arrive at Basecamp or when climbing, consult with the Guide what you feel. The guide who accompanied the guest to Carstensz was not an ordinary climber. They are trained to handle guests in the worst conditions. Be honest with your body condition; don’t force yourself to get to the top. Walk slowly; adjust to your body’s abilities. Remember that the ultimate goal of a climb is home.

Happy climbing!

Author: Dimitra

Pepper Dickson: A Sound from Top of Carstensz

Puncak Jaya, May 2, 2019
Pepper Dickson 

Puncak Jaya, also known as Carstensz Pyramid, is located on the island of Papua and the highest mountain on the Oceanic Continent. Famously known as one of the Seven Summits. Due to its remote location and the fact that it is the most technical of all Seven Summits, it is not widely summited. While Kilimanjaro has over 40,000 visits a year, Carstensz Pyramid has approximately 100. 

Being so close to this notable, majestic summit; loving mountains and the feats they incite; and living in close proximity; I couldn’t wait to get out there and connect with this icon myself. With a lot of help and an eager soul, I was introduced to Adventure Carstensz. They are a tour company based in Timika that takes climbers from around the world to summit Carstensz, among other places of interest in Papua. They have a professional and experienced team that is knowledgable about this region, the mountains, climbing and the local people. I spent a few days in Timika a month prior to our climb doing some ropes training with Michael Korwa, the lead guide, and knew I was in good hands. 

Across the limestone fields, between the steep mountain peaks, with rain lightly falling, we followed the rocky path to Yellow Valley where our Base Camp was already set up and waiting for us. I walked out with Wens our cook, and Jacko our porter. Our two guides had hiked out the day before to get everything ready. When we arrived the other two climbers were already there, having come by helicopter earlier that morning. Wang and Zhao, two accomplished Chinese men who flew in from Beijing. We spent the afternoon getting acquainted, sharing stories of past adventures and generally getting a feel for how experienced each of us were. I went to sleep that night after staring at what I could see through the rain of the tough and weathered north face. 

We woke early the next morning. Cold, dark and still raining, we eagerly prepared for our climb. Geared up and ready to leave Base Camp at 4am, the five of us started the short walk to the first pitch. Wearing a harness, using a combination of carabineers, ascenders and a figure 8 descender the whole way, our safety was always the first concern of our guides. Carstensz isn’t the most physically challenging of the Seven Summits, but it is the most technical. After a couple hours of scaling the easy, class-5 rock walls, the sun rose and we were able to have a better look at where we were. The steel grey rocks glistened in the rain, sleek and cold. The summit was out of sight, but even still, we could feel it looming above us. Before us was the “Sky Bridge” tyrollean crossing and two small chasms that require a little more bravado. Sleet started to fall as we crossed the summit ridge, luckily it never turned to ice.

We summited sometime after 9am, over 5 hours after leaving Yellow Valley. It felt triumphant. We were all proud of our efforts and riding an endorphin high. Everyone was full of energy and excitement. Grinning ear to ear we all took the requisite photos and shared snacks before heading back down shortly before 11am, knowing the journey ahead would take time.

Our descent took over 4 hours, almost as long as it took to go up. We were coming down through pouring rain and the further we went, the bigger the cascading waterfalls grew. With water plummeting us from above, it was impossible to stay dry. It came through the tops of our jackets, drenching us all the way down through our boots as we rappelled down one pitch at a time. Waiting for each person to tie in and out of their figure 8 at each rope length was challenging. I wanted to get down and dry off, but the feel of that strong mountain under my feet gave me the power to slow down and appreciate where I was. 

We gleefully arrived back at Base Camp before 3pm, after 9 hours of climbing and an hour of time spent on the summit. We were greeted with hot tea and a big lunch, thanks to our cook, Wens. After a few more “we made it home” photos, we all retired to our tents to dry off and warm up. I spent Thursday night at Base Camp and hiked back out of Yellow Valley on Friday. Happy for a shower and a warm, soft bed, but still buzzing from the energy permeating from the mountain. 

The whole experience was so much fun, the feeling of accomplishment satisfactory and I’m sure the memories will be enduring. I want to do it again when it’s (hopefully) sunny! I can’t recommend Adventure Carstensz and their qualified team enough. Get out there and climb! 

Trekking From Pogapa To Homeyo

The occupants of this village, the Moni tribe, lives in harmony along with nature and are gratefully blessed with fertile soil. They plant taro, one of the earliest cultivated plant similar to yams, which is their main source of food. Coffee is also one of the plants they manage traditionally. You can find salty rivers right up in the mountain and see how the people of Moni process it traditionally to fulfill their daily need of salt Continue reading Trekking From Pogapa To Homeyo