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22 January 2012, 15:08. Vinson, all programs »

 Niken Prathivi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta. Indonesian mountaineering group the Nature Lovers Society (Wanadri) is on its way to conquer Mount Everest after successfully reaching Vinson Massif’s peak, 4,897 meters above sea level, in Antarctica on Jan. 7.

It was the fifth summit conquered by the team of six, who aim to reach Mount Everest’s peak, 8,850 meters above sea level, in May in order to complete a two-year Seven Summits expedition.

If they scale Mount Everest, they will be the second Indonesian team to reach all seven summits. The Mahitala team, from the Parahyangan Catholic University (Unpar) in Bandung, West Java, was the first to complete the mission.

The expedition is aimed at promoting nature conservation, with the group’s experiences and the lessons learnt during the expedition to be included in a manual for climbers, particularly those from tropical countries like Indonesia, explaining how to scale mountains outside of sub-tropical regions.

“We are now preparing our six mountaineers so they’ll be ready for the final climb in May and April. So far, they’re 75 percent ready in terms of physical condition, but in sponsorship, we’re still only 20 percent ready,” Seven Summits Indonesia director Yoppie Rikson Saragih told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

The Wanadri team is made up of team head Ardeshir Yaftebbi (28), Nurhuda (22), Martin Rimbawan (25), Fajri Al Luthfi (25), Iwan Irawan (37) and Gina Afriani (23) — who is the only woman in the group.




Yoppie said that his team expected higher participation from state-owned and private companies to support the trip.

“Each mountaineer needs around US$60,000 to be able to reach the Everest peak. So we need strong funding support,” added Yoppie, who is the Wanadri chief, about the iconic mountain located between Nepal and Tibet, China.

The Sports and Youth Ministry, state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina, state-owned liquid petroleum gas company Perusahaan Gas Negara and cellular operator Telkomsel are among the expedition sponsors.

The Seven Summits expedition started with Puncak Jaya (4,884-m), locally known as Ndugu-Ndugu but more widely known as Carstensz Pyramid, in Papua in April 2010.

After scaling Carstensz, the six climbers went on to conquer Kilimanjaro (5,892-m) in Tanzania in July 2010 and then Elbrus (5,642-m) in Russia.

In the attempt to reach the fourth summit, at Aconcagua (6,962-m) in South America, Gina failed to reach the peak due to physical barriers.

“At that time, we kind of miscalculated the difficulty of the trip while having a woman in the group. We should’ve taken more days for acclimatization at a certain height for her. But, we did not do that and Gina failed to continue the trip to the peak. Lesson learned. We will surely share such experiences in the book,” Yoppie said.

The fifth and sixth summits reached were at McKinley (6,194-m) in Alaska and at Vinson Massif.

Yoppie hoped that the results of the expedition, which will be recorded in the manual, would enlighten people about the importance of protecting nature, especially from global warming.