We are presently camped on a
grassy field between Mustagata and Mt. Gonga along the banks of Karakul Lake.
The views are fabulous. This is our acclimatization camp at 3650 meters. We
have spent two nights here. It is essential to spend the time acclimatizing
before heading up to our basecamp at the 4500-meter elevation. Today we will
hike to basecamp, which is a 4-hour hike. All the members are in good health
and itching to go.
Yesterday most everyone hiked
up the river valley between the two massifs – Mustagata and Gonga - amongst
Kerghiz summer yurts. The Kerghiz have already set-up their summer camps where
they heard their sheep and yaks on the high grasslands. Two of our members,
Sandy and Hanne, were brave enough to take a dip in the frigid glacier waters
that feed Karakul Lake.
Last week all our members
trickled into Kashgar from around the world and through many ports. Most flew
into Kashgar from Beijing, but others took the train along the ancient Silk
Road; Yann came in over the Turugart pass from Kyrgyzstan; and four other
members came over the Karakoram Highway from Pakistan. Amazingly, everyone
arrived without delay, and only two lost luggage, which for flights that can
have up to 5 connections, that’s not bad. We quickly located the lost luggage
and got it to Kashgar before we departed for the mountains.
We have a diverse team with
members from France, Belgium, Latvia, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia, China,
USA, Switzerland, UK, Canada, and Tibet. It is always exciting to have such an
affluent team with individuals from so many walks of life.
Our days in Kashgar consisted
of indulging in the local cuisine, which is wonderful - mouth-watering lamb
shish kabob, savory Hami melons, fresh yogurt, and Uyghur style pull noodles.
We explored Kashgar old town, the Id Kah Mosque in city central, visited the
animal market where real bartering for sheep, horses, and camels is an
animated affair, and meandered through the Sunday Bazaar.
There was also much
purchasing of supplies and packing to do. We have to have all our mountain
equipment shipped to Kashgar, for unlike Katmandu, Kashgar has no equipment
for outdoor activities, especially climbing. We had boxes of gear to unpack,
organize and re-pack – the normal pre-expedition organized chaos. Our staff
worked hard in the oppressive Kashgar desert sun. Our staff, from Tibet, hate
this heat. Two trucks of equipment were stacked high on the evening of July 2
and the entire team departed Kashgar on July 3rd.
ABOUT MUSTAGATA (7546 M /
Mt. Mustagata is an
impressive and elegant peak in the Pamirs of Xinjiang Province, China. The
mountain has gained popularity given that for such a high mountain it is safe,
has become known as the easiest 7500 metre peak in the world, and the alpine
skiing is exquisite. Climbing Mustagata is a great way to test your ability to
cope with high altitude in a relatively short period of time. Most climb it in
snowshoes or ski the mountain. Many more people have the ability to climb
Mustagata than they think. For such a high mountain, it is very safe.
Mustagata is along the old Silk Road (present day Karakoram Highway)
connecting Kashgar in China to Islamabad, Pakistan. The local people near the
mountain are Khergiz and Tashiks. The Khergiz are nomadic shepherds who live
in yurts and graze their camels, yaks, and sheep on the large grasslands
around Mustagata, Mt. Gongar, and Karakul Lake.
Most teams climb Mustagata
via what has become known as the traditional route. During the summer of 2005
SummitClimb.com climbed the mountain via the Tashgergan route (‘Tash’ route
for short). The main reason for the change was that the traditional basecamp
had become overcrowded, excessively dirty, and unsanitary. The ‘Tash’ route
parallels the traditional route. It is similar to the traditional route in
length, slope angle, and difficulty. From the snowline to the summit, you can
snowshoe or skin-up the entire mountain on skis. The ‘Tash’ route is actually
better for skiing.
Jonathan Christian Otto (Leader)
Philip James Crampton (Assistant
Ben John Stephenson (UK)
Rhys Cameron Roberts (USA)
Huang, Chongzhi (China)
Rolf Vetter (Switzerland)
Nathalie Virag (Switzerland)
Charles Clinton Estes (USA)
Roger Graham Crawford (Austrailia)
Nigel Alan Campbell (UK)
Barbara Dwyer Brebrick (USA)
Alan Michael Burke (USA)
Ting, Wunchi (China)
Cristian Vincent Coban (USA)
Yann Le Du (France)
Fan, Qin (China)
David Filet (France)
Bradley Graham Jackson
Sandy Mariko Hoby (New Zealand)
Hanne Rasmussen (Denmark)
Santis Limesz (Latvia)
Bruno P. P. J. De Bueger
De Bueger Thomas E. J. P.
Eric Thauvin (France)
Soudjatta Somaya (France)
High Altitude Climbing Staff:
Penba Dunzhu (Tibet)
Tserin Danda (Tibet)
Phubu Tserin (Tibet)
Tashi Namgel (Tibet)
Nima Erjia (China)
Su, Rongqin (China)
Sport Everest Boot Expedition and mountaineering boot for high altitude
and extremely cold conditions. The Everest has conquered all 14
mountains over 8,000m and also the Seven Summits- and has now had a
makeover to ensure continued peak preformance. With a newer sung, Alpine
Fit, and even lighter
Expedition footwear for
mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold. NOTE US
See more here.
weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus
Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight
double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with
a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a
super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the
TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on
steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons
CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura®
upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating
closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated
removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand
See more here.