Fresh Tracks

    Photo: Clay Ellis

Heli Help Us
The $65,000 and exhaustive training needed for a summit bid on Everest may be a bit out of your league, but climbing 16,535-foot Mount Carstensz in Irian Jaya—Oceania's highest peak and one of the seven summits—won't bust your bank account or your lungs. Though the traditional approach to the mountain, a weeklong trek through the jungle, has been blocked by a lingering separatist uprising, Adventures International has found a way to bypass the trouble. They'll helicopter you into Zebra Wall, a day's hike from base camp on the peak's southern slopes. From there, expect 11 pitches of 5.8 climbing on fixed lines. The first 14-day trip leaves Jakarta, Indonesia, on April 7, 2002, and costs $8,500 per person (airfare to Jakarta not included). Call 800-247-1263 or visit www.exploreyourplanet.com.

Better than Flatware
Asia Transpacific Journeys' new Web-based Gift of Travel program (www.southeastasia.com) allows newlyweds to register for a honeymoon in, say, Thailand or Palau, then create an HTML e-mail with photos, Web links, and a personal note. Family and friends can log on and contribute to the cause. Call 800-642-2742 for details.
Cat-Ski Fever
Colorado powder hounds moaned in September when Berthoud Pass ski area, 59 miles west of Denver, announced it would not reopen for the 2001-2002 season. Ruthless price wars at nearby resorts drove the 64-year-old operation under. The good news? Starting December 15 (pending final U.S. Forest Service approval), Berthoud Powder Guides (800-754-2378; www.berthoudpass.com) will run a snowcat on Berthoud's 1,700 acres of avalanche-controlled chutes, open faces, and glades, which top out at 12,240 feet. For $185 per day ($1,700 for the 12-person cat) you'll get at least eight runs on 16,000 vertical feet, plus breakfast, lunch, beer, and snacks. Who needs lifts?

Climb Every Island
"You haven't experienced the Caribbean until you know what an island tastes like, what it sounds like, what it smells like, and how it feels—including its mud and thorns," writes M. Timothy O'Keefe in Caribbean Hiking ($16, Globe Pequot Press; 800-243-0495; www.globe-pequot.com), a new book detailing almost 400 hikes on 30 islands. Filled with regional maps, plus tips on gear and safety, this is the definitive guide for hot-weather adventurers interested in more than sunshine and beaches.

New Trip: On KE Adventure Travel's Jesuits Trail Ride Trip Across Baja, offered for the first time this March, you'll cycle paths walked by 16th-century Jesuits between Loreto, on Baja California's eastern shore, and Magdalena Bay on the Pacific. But instead of chanting Hail Marys, you'll crank 25 miles per day through ancient lava beds and cactus forests on new, dual-suspension Specialized mountain bikes. The 100-mile coast-to-coast traverse starts with a day of sea kayaking around Coronado Island in the Gulf of California and ends with a day of gray-whale-watching on Magdalena Bay. Each night you'll camp near historic missions like San Javier in the rugged Sierra de la Giganta Mountains. The eight-day trip costs $1,095 per person (mountain-bike rental, $50 extra; airfare not included). To reserve a spot, call KE Adventure Travel at 800-497-9675 or visit www.keadventure.com.

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