Mount Wilhelm is the highest mountain in Papua New Guinea and it stands at 14,793 feet. The mountain belittles Australia’s Mount Kosciusko, it’s taller than the Matterhorn of Europe and nothing can be higher than anything found across the Pacific until South America.
Some claim that the mountain is considered to be one of the “seven summits” that represent the highest points of each of the seven continents. Since the highest peak of Australia or Oceania is considered to be Puncak Jaya or Mount Carstensz, the Puncak Jaya is located on the western half of the island of New Guinea, which, when politically considered, actually belongs more properly to the Asian country of Indonesia.
Regardless of whether or not Mount Wilhelm is formally proclaimed as one of the seven summits, this rugged mountain provides an excellent trail leading to its peak. Trekkers are able to ascend diverse and beautiful terrain with open grasslands, sleek slopes, protruding glaciers and amazing granites that dominate in higher elevations.
The mountain lies along the Bismarck range mostly characterized by razorback ridges and steep drops into the lowland valleys. It forms part of Papua New Guinea’s central chain of mountains. This mountain chain is extremely complex with broad upland valleys between a number of mountain ranges. The summit of Mount Wilhelm borders three provinces: Madang, Simbu and the Western Highlands. However, the best approach to the mountain is from Kundiawa found in the Simbu Province along the Simbu Valley.
Climbing to the top, trekkers come face to face with swirling mists that cover their tracks and patches of snow that only get thicker. Imagine seeing snow in a tropical country such as Papua New Guinea. That’s something you don’t see every day! Upon reaching the summit, you’ll be greeted with views extending to about 100 kilometers out in all directions. See the volcanic mountain of Karkar and Manan to your north and the Gulf of Papua to your south. See the lowlands of the Ramu and Markham valleys while see the Wahgi valley being encircled with mountains.
The danger that comes with climbing Mount Wilhelm is often exaggerated. With a knowledgeable guide and a reasonable level of fitness, the climb can be fairly accomplished by determined ones. No technical equipment is needed as hands will only be used during the final scrabble up to the rocks of the summit. The only danger of climbing such mountains is the altitude sickness associated with it, so it’s best to take required precautions.
The ultimate goal when ascending is to reach the top, which may let trekkers neglect to take a breather and enjoy the scenic views of the mountains. The climb down then lets trekkers appreciate the view much more with its mountain ranges and large lakes. During the previous ice age, slow moving glaciers formed U-shaped valleys around Mount Wilhelm, where four large lakes today exist as a testament to such glaciers. It makes a picturesque view for climbers.
The best months for climbing Mount Wilhelm are the months between May to November. Nothing but a feeling of satisfaction by conquering the mountain is what trekkers will feel upon reaching the summit. This beautiful but hostile environment is truly a remarkable wonder.