The Archipelago

Indonesian climbers accomplish
mission over Seven Summits

The Bandung-based Mahitala mountain climbing team was reported to have successfully completed scaling Denali, the last in their conquest of the world’s seven summits.

Called the Indonesian Seven Summits Expedition Mahitala Unpar, (ISSEMU), the expedition, which began in 2009, culminated with the raising of the Red-and-White flag on top of the Denali peak in Alaska, United States, at 8:35 a.m. Jakarta time on Friday.

“The team has reached the peak and will immediately descend,” said ISSEMU spokeperson Audy Tanhati by phone in Bandung, West Java.

According to Audy, the good news was conveyed by Matt Emht, a guide from Alpine Ascents International (AAI), who accompanied the Mahitala team.

“We’re calling in from the football field just below 20,000 feet, near the summit of Denali. We’re on our way back down now,” Matt said in an audio post at www.alpineascents.com.

“Beautiful day, sunny, the wind is starting to take up. About twenty miles an hour now, everybody still in bed, feeling strong, and in an hour or two we’re going back to camp,” Matt added.

Besides Matt, the team consisted of Sofyan Arief Fesa, 28, Xaverius Frans, 24, Broery Andrew Sihombing, 22, and Janatan Ginting, 22. They are students at Parahyangan University (Unpar), Bandung.

They were assisted by Hiroyuki Kuraoka and Mark Cionck in the climb mission.

The other six summits the ISSEMU team had conquered comprised Carstensz Pyramid (4,848 meters above sea level) in Papua, Kilimanjaro (5,189 meters) in Africa, Elbrus (5,642 meters) in Russia, Vinson Massif (4,889 meters) in Antarctica, Aconcagua (6,962 meters) in Argentina and Everest (8,848 meters) in Nepal/China.

The Denali expedition began on June 24.

The climb up to the mountain, with a height of 6,194 meters above sea level, and whose name was taken from the Athabaskan Indian language meaning “something that is high”, was not without obstacles, according to the reports.

The climb to the peak of Mount Denali was reportedly postponed twice due to bad weather.

According to Audy, the team postponed the trip to the summit on the grounds of bad weather. Team leader Sofyan Arif Fesa said by phone the trip to the peak began in the early hours of July 8, or 10 a.m. local time on July 7. “The ascent to the summit could take between 10 and 15 hours,” said Audy.

With the climb to the peak of Denali, the four students are the first Indonesians earning the title of The Seven Summiteers, or those who have successfully conquered the highest mountains on each of the seven continents.

During the climb, they had to move back and forth from camp to camp to carry their gear in stages. However, the team was able to move their things from the base camp to Camp 1 in a single trip. Each of them was able to haul a total of 50 kilograms of supplies.

Along with the Mahitala team, five other teams were also scaling the mountain at the end of the mountain climbing season this year. The Mahitala team was only able to move their things to Camp 4 (High Camp), or the final place to keep their logistics, on July 6, before climbing to the peak.

“All of the team’s efforts eventually paid off and [they have] became the pride of the country. Four of them have become the first students to set foot on the seven summits of the world,” Audy said.

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