Mount Wilhelm

Mount Wilhelm Trip Report (#20349)

  • Signed By: Jon Davis
  • Date submitted: September 27, 2006
  • Date(s) climbed: 1964, 1967
  • Number of People Encountered:0-10 people
  • Recommend to a Friend: Highly

1st trip with father (Ben Davis, Lutheran missionary), mother, and 7-yr old brother. I was 8.

2nd was with Dad, brother, uncle (short term teacher), and uncle's buddies. I was 10 and home from boarding school.

This description is from the first trip which was written up in the South Pacific Times (still have the clip) and broadcast on the local BBC (Dad recorded on reel-to-reel tape and I transcribed to wav). At time, my brother and I were the youngest to make it unassisted to the summit.

Started by Landrover from Sumburu (our mission station near Gembogl) to Kegasugl, walked through rain forest, across a savanna-type area (almost freezing rain during this part), past the roaring waterfall below the lower lake( or between the lakes?), and camped overnight in grass hut. We zipped two sleeping bags together and all four kept very warm.

Morning was beautiful with the reflections of the mountains in the upper lake looking like a painting. I picked up a piece of rock near the plane but have lost it in the many moves since.

I remember the echo point (Dad did the best, we kids were too impatient to wait for the echo--just yelled), seeing the backside (like a moonscape), and the marker (at 14,000?). Then it was just following my Dad from one pile of stones (markers) to another through fog (low clouds?) and across pretty flat landscape until we were suddenly near the summit.

Here it got tight and scary but we had some visibility. Dad lost his camera lens and over Mom's objections climbed down 50-75 feet to retrieve it. Then he guided us across an area that seemed to be a narrow neck leading to the summit. I remember walking sideways on a length of rock the width of a balance beam while leaning inward against a wall--the opposite side went straight down for what appeared to forever (but was probably one or two hundred feet).

Then Dad climbed up the last part to the summit and pulled us all up (okay, I did get some assistance). We looked out toward the coast but I really couldn't tell the difference between clouds and sea. We hurriedly signed some pieces of paper and stuffed them in a jar already there (the tin case, log book, and marker with guide wires were there by my second trip--nice to hang on to).

Mom, my brother, and I started shivering violently, so Dad quickly led us down off the summit and we retraced our steps. I really don't remember much except being hungry and hurrying so we could make it all the way back to Kegasugl before dark.

It's a high point in my life in terms of scenery, fellowship (great family outing), and accomplishment. It really is a challenge--although my brother and I were young, we lived in the Chimbu (now Simbu) valley at 6000 ft and ran up and down the hillsides constantly. In fact, on my second trip, two adults in our party turned back before the steep switchbacks beyond the echo point.

My father went up a total of seven times (1959-1967) and saw snow flurries during one trip. I need to scan in some slides and will post pictures at that time.

Mount Wilhelm Trip Report Index