Trek Notes - Papua New Guinea

Mount Wilhelm



General Information

Mt.Wilhelm is the highest peak in Papua New Guinea, at 4,509m/14,880ft. The Traverse from Ambullua to Keglsugl offers a unique and challenging way to experience PNG's highest mountain. This challenging alternative to the summit starts at about 2,000m/6,500ft in the remote village of Ambullua, where the only access is by aircraft or by foot. The journey over Mt.Wilhelm presents the opportunity to experience a culture still largely in tact, with a sing-sing (traditional dance) and a night in a basic village guest house learning about and experiencing the culture first hand. Then starting the trek, the path crosses rivers, climbs through moss forests (home of several birds of paradise), alpine grasslands and glacial valleys. To add to this there are amazing views of the North Coast and surrounding valleys. Once the summit is reached, the exit is by the usual summit route, down to Keglsugl via Lake Piunde.

- Trek through some of the remotest parts of PNG
- Experience the wonderful hospitality of the Simbu highlanders
- Climb the highest peak in PNG
- Witness awesome views from her summit
- Feast on delicious fruits grown in one of PNG’s few temperate regions


Day 1
Transfer to the Air Niugini domestic flight. Fly to Mt .Hagen airport. Transfer to Highlander Hotel. Prepare gear, overnight Highlander Hotel.

Day 2
Transfer to Kagamuga airport. Light aircraft flight of about 25 minutes to Ambullua. From the airstrip it is approximately an hours walk to the "Korihkl Khu Guesthouse." Relax in the afternoon enjoy a traditional sing-sing and experience the culture. After dinner, sit around the fire and talk to the elders of the village about "time before."

Day 3
Awake early to start the trek. The first hour is through kau kau (sweet potato) gardens, until crossing the Kon River. From the Kon River it is approximately four hours walk through alpine rainforest, covered in dense layers of moss. The path follows a spur, in some places offering spectacular views of the valleys below, until the first campsite is reached - Ongoltungi. We spend the night in a bush hut; however there is room to pitch tents if that is preferred.

Day 4
From Ongoltungi the path continues up the spur and through the forest for a further two hours. We reach Hkelip, which has a small creek (and swimming hole for the daring). We cross the creek and the path follows a small gully. The gully marks the start of the alpine grasslands. Camp is set up after about one and a half hours walk in the grasslands at a saddle called Khupoke, approximately 3,600m/11,900ft. From here superb views are available to the surrounding valleys and other large mountain ranges in the highlands of PNG.

Day 5
Continuing on from Khupokhe, most of the day is spent trekking up and along one of the mountain's main ridges affording spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, with jagged peaks towering above the lakes deep in the valleys. It is at the top of this ridge, that the first glimpse of the summit is offered. The path skirts one of the largest peaks called Werakai. This unclimbed giant towers above the track which then descends into a valley leading us to our last campsite before the summit. The campsite is marked by a large overhanging rock and has the local name of "Seeku."

Day 6
Breaking camp at 4:30, it is an easy 20 minute to the end of the valley. From here we encounter a hard climb for the next two hours up the side of the main summit ridge. From this point it is only half an hour to the summit. Reaching the summit at about 7am is the prime time as the mountain-tops are usually clear at this time in the morning. The summit is marked by a rock cairn and a trigonometric marker. Time is allowed for photos and conditions permitting breathtaking clear views of the North Coast including Bagabag and Karkar Islands. Leaving the summit, the traverse continues down the normal route, past the wreck of a WWII Flying Fortress and the twin glacial lakes of Aunde and Piunde at an elevation of 3,500m/11,500ft. Our last night on the mountain is spent in a hut on the edge of Lake Piunde. Often a pair of rare Salvadori Teals can be seen flying near and swimming on the lake.

Day 7
From Piunde, it is an easy three hour walk to the village of Keglsugl at a height of about 2,500m/8,200ft, where we will be met by our pickup vehicle and transfer to Mt Hagen traveling through the populous Chimbu Province with excellent views of the beautiful Chimbu gorge, arrive Mt Hagen and overnight at the Highlander Hotel.

Day 8
Flight Mt Hagen to Port Moresby where you will go on to your next destination.


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