KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's oldest Everest climber, N. Elanghovan, has postponed an expedition to climb Oceania's highest peak, Carstensz Pyramid, also known as Puncak Jaya, in West Papua Province, Indonesia, due to safety risks.
The 65-year-old climber together with a group who were scheduled to leave for Indonesia in March to complete the Seven Summits mission, that is to scale the seven highest summits in the seven continents, was advised by the Indonesian authorities to postpone the expedition until the conflict in the region subsides.
According to international media reports, a New Zealand pilot was kidnapped by West Papua National Liberation Army fighters after landing his plane in Papua’s remote mountainous province of Nduga in February.
Elanghovan then decided to continue his mission to the highest peak on the North American continent, Mount Denali in Alaska, with a peak at 6,194m from June 11 to July 2.
“Previously, I had prepared to climb the rocky mountain at Carstensz Pyramid, which required technical climbing with rope and harness.
"Mount Denali is challenging in terms of extreme Alaskan weather, with the surface covered with a thick blanket of snow.
“Uniquely in Denali, we will use a snow sledge to pull climbing equipment. We also need to buy or rent a lot of suitable equipment to face the cold weather," he told Bernama.
He said due to this change in plans, the cost has also increased from an estimated US$8,000 (approximately RM35,400) to scale Puncak Jaya to about US$12,000 (RM53,244) to ascend Mount Denali.
Standing at an elevation of 4,884m, Carstensz Pyramid is the world’s highest island peak and is a popular destination for experienced mountaineers and adventurers.
Last year, Elanghovan entered the Malaysian Book of Records as the oldest Malaysian to climb Mount Everest after conquering the world's highest peak on May 12, 2022, at the age of 64.
With Mt Everest in Asia and Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa (5,895m), which he scaled in August 2016, already in the bag, he intends to climb Mt Aconcagua (6,961m) in Argentina, South America; Mt Denali (6,194m) in Alaska, North America; Mt Elbrus (5,642m) in Russia, Europe; Mt Vinson Massif (4,892m) in Antarctica and Mt Kosciuszko (2,228m) in Australia. - Bernama