At 4,750m Mount Trikora might only be Papua’s third highest peak but it’s the highest peak in the central Sudirman Range and the one that makes the most indelible impression on most travellers as they explore the beautiful Baliem Valley.
Whilst its hardly overrun, Trikora is also the most frequently climbed of Papua’s snowy mountains. Firstly, it’s a non-technical climb meaning you don’t need ropes, carabiners or any other specialist climbing equipment. Secondly, compared to its stable mates, Trikora is relatively easy to access and thirdly, the mountain and the surrounding countryside is simply stunning. If that’s not enough to entice the adventurer in you consider this – trekking Trikora will take you into the heart of one of the last true frontiers on earth where indigenous tribes still live substantially traditional lifestyles in pristine isolation.
The standard route to Trikora usually begins at Wamena where you can obtain the necessary permits and food supplies before travelling out to Lake Habbema by private car. After overnighting by the lake, it’s a two day trek to reach Somalak rock shelter on Trikora’s northern flanks. Climbing begins the next day with the ascent to base camp just below the main massif at 4,140m. From base camp, you can launch your summit assault, up and back in one day. The return trek is simply a reverse of the inbound trek.
Including a day in Wamena to obtain your permits and supplies, you need to allow a minimum of 10 days to bag Trikora. Ideally, you should allow an extra couple of days just in case you strike bad weather at base camp and have to delay your attempt at the summit.
There are quite a few trekking companies offering Trikora treks and you’ll find some of them online but you’ll need to do your homework, ask plenty of questions and try to find some independent reviews. If you prefer to go independently it can certainly be done but again you’ll need to choose your guide carefully (see our tips under Baliem Valley trekking) and depending on the deal you strike with your guide, you may or may not have to arrange your own transport to and from Lake Habbema.
Whilst the climb is non-technical, it is still challenging. You’ll need to be well prepared, totally self-sufficient and fit.