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Mustagh ata, Muztagh ata, Mustagata Climbing Expedition. Easy High Skiing, Boarding, Snowshoeing, Raquetting.

  • mustagata photo Mount Mustagata
  • mustagata photo Heading to Summit Photo K. O`Brien & G. Kellund
  • mustagata photo Member resting. Photo K. O`Brien & G. Kellund
  • mustagata photo Summit. Photo John
  • mustagata photo Yaks feeding near basecamp. Photo John
  • mustagata photo Climbing up to camp 2. Photo John
  • mustagata photo Close look, ski down from summit. Photo John
  • mustagata photo Market before expedition - Photo Christain
  • mustagata photo City before expedition. Photo Christain
  • mustagata photo Local at the market. Photo Christain
  • mustagata photo Flowers. Photo Christian
  • mustagata photo Moving up to camp 1. Photo Christain
  • mustagata photo Climbing up to camp 2. Photo Christain
  • mustagata photo Our comfortable basecamp. Photo Christain
  • mustagata photo Moving to high camp mustagata. Photo Christian
  • mustagata photo Camp 2. Photo Christian
  • mustagata photo Camels are ready to go. Photo Christian
  • mustagata photo Loading load to basecamp. Photo Christain
  • mustagata photo Ready to ski down. Photo K. O`Brien & G. Kellund
  • mustagata photo Night in basecamp
  • mustagata photo Mustagata Team. Photo John
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  • SELECTED BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC AS "BEST ADVENTURE DESTINATION 2012".
  • Perhaps the "easiest" 7500 metre/24,600 foot peak in the world, located in China near K2.
  • Climb, ski, snowboard, snowshoe, and snow-raquette to the summit and down.
  • One of the highest safest mountains you could climb in just 22 days.
  • Friendly experienced leaders Felix Berg and Dominik Franz.
  • Mustagata could qualify you for Cho Oyu, Shishapangma, Lhotse Everest Nepal or Everest Tibet.
  • Drive and trek to basecamp, experience the unique culture of the ancient Silk Road and Chinese Pamir.
  • Add on our inexpensive 'Pre-Climb Tour' of ancient Kashgar and the famous Shipton Arch.We help you buy and rent inexpensive mountain climbing, trekking, hiking, and walking gear, equipment, clothing, boots, shoes for sale, purchase and hire at affordable, cheap, low prices. 
  • Dates and cost: 14 June to 5 July Or 5 July to 26 July Or 20 July to 10 August 2017. 22 days in China.
  • Full Service Cost: $6,500 £4,950 €5,650 ; Basic Climb Cost: $2,670, £2,050, €2,350. (Converted 29-06-17)
  • Please make sure that your flight home does not leave until the afternoon or evening on the final day of the itinerary
  • Above dates are for arrival and departure in Kashgar. You can arrive 2 days earlier in Bishkek if you prefer but there will be an additional cost of $400 for hotels and transport
  • We now offer two sets of dates: The first trip is much nicer for skiing as you can ski almost all the way to Basecamp. The second date you will experience slightly warmer weather and a chance the weather will be more stable. For passionate skiers we recommend the first date!

Recent news: Our July Mustagata expedition was a huge success. Please click here to view news of our expedition. Please also visit our "Archived News" for more stories of past trips.

Please "click here " to watch an exciting 2 minute video clip about skiing on Mustagata.

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Mustagata Programme Description

Please click one of the links below to view that section of our introductory information or just scroll down (photo right by Brad Jackson: Muztagata seen from acclimatization camp at 3600 metres/11,800 feet with Karakul Lake reflecting the mountain).

Mustagata Programme Description:

  • Introduction: Mustagata is perhaps the easiest 7500 metre/24,600 foot peak in the world to climb and is located in the Chinese Pamirs near K2. This is an easy peak for confident skiers, snowboarders, or snowshoers/racquetters to enjoy. We have chosen to climb the peak in July, a time when the snow conditions are good, the mountain is not too "melted-out", and the route is relatively pristine and clean.
    • Our proposed schedule allows for a careful and safe ascent, as well as multiple full descents to basecamp (photo right by Jon Otto: Urs skies down from the summit on our July climb).
    • We will review techniques of glacier travel in special training sessions in base camp and camp 1. The actual climbing on this fun peak could be best described as walking on gradual slopes at an average angle of 18 degrees using snowshoes/racquettes, skiis (with climbing skins), or split-board (snowboard with climbing skins) with team members roped-up.
    • The style of climbing is cautious and careful, with excellent leadership, organization, Sherpa climbers, 'walkie-talkie' radios, satellite telephones, cooks and waiters, tasty food, the best equipment, individual tents for each member in basecamp, a full kitchen in basecamp, 3 camps on the mountain, fixed line, ice and snow anchors, top-quality high altitude tents and high altitude stoves, expedition mix gas, and full safety equipment: medical oxygen, gamow bag, and extensive medical kit.
    • Mustag Atacould qualify you for Cho Oyu, Shishapangma, Lhotse, Everest Nepal or Everest Tibet.
    • This expedition maximizes experience gained over eight prior Mustagata expeditions with a strong record of reaching the top of our world's highest peaks. In addition to more than 25 Himalayan expeditions we have an intimate knowledge of the Chinese officials who regulate the permit system, liaison officers, sherpas, cooks, camel drivers, and hoteliers/restaurateurs (photo right by K. O'Brien and G. Kellund:Jon on the way to camp 3). back to top
  • Leader and staff: During the drive, trek, in basecamp and on the climb, our experienced staff is with you all of the way. Our helpful climbing "sherpas" are some of the best. They are real high-altitude star-performers and very kind. Our western leader is a highly experienced, friendly, and well-organized professional with seven ascents of Muztag Ata. Our skillful basecamp cooks prepare delicious, fresh, tasty food and hot drinks at least 3 times a day.
    • During the drive and brief trek to basecamp: Our western leader, together with friendly and helpful "sherpas", cooks and local people leading camel caravans carry all of your personal equipment, group equipment, and set up camp near Karakul Lake, prepare and serve delicious meals, so you can relax and acclimatize. You do not need to carry a heavy rucksack during the short trek.
    • Basecamp: Our cooks and waiters will serve you delicious meals in our comfortable dining tent.
    • On the mountain: Our western leader and group "sherpas" will fix the route, set up the high camps and carry the group equipment, such as tents, stoves, etc. If you wish to help out, we welcome you to do so, otherwise just relax and focus on getting well acclimated and achieving your goals. You do not need to carry a heavy rucksack during the climb (photo right by Urs Jaeggi: Karakul Lake at 3600 metres/11,800 feet, a spectacular scenic destination along our trek to basecamp).
    • "Sherpas": We have many group sherpas to help the team. For an additional expense, we can also provide personal sherpas and climbing-guides to individual members who wish to have their own private sherpa. We now encourage members who wish to have a lighter rucksack to hire a 1/4 of a sherpa to help with high altitude equipment transport, carrying your extra weight both up and down the mountain. For more about sherpas, please click here. back to top
  • Mustagata National Park: The park is situated among rolling, vast green short-grass and boulder strewn valleys leading up to the base of the mountain in the Chinese Pamir. The Pamir is a high plateau located at the crossroads of several of Asia’s largest mountain ranges: the Himalaya, Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Tian Shan. Affinities with all three mountain ranges encourages a variety of species. Furthermore, the Pamir’s high vertical relief, compared to the larger Tibetan Plateau that lies to the east, increases habitat diversity as well. Biodiversity is relatively abundant.The environment is beautiful and stark, inhabited with wild birds and animals. You start in tufted grasslands with small pools, pockets and streams of water originating form melting snow off the Chinese Pamirs. Upon reaching basecamp, you begin walking upwards towards camp 1 where the vegetation changes to become more rocky with scenic alpine sedge-meadows lying below. Inhabiting the national park are the nomadic pastoral groups of the Kirghiz and Tadzhik. They live in yurts in the summer and mud houses in the winter, relying on herding sheep and goats, riding horses and camels. The men and women dress in 1940's formal attire. There are many interesting villages of both groups we will be visiting during our expedition, as some of our staff come from these communities. Animals in the park consist of marmots, wild sheep, goats, ibex, snow leopards, and countless varieties of birds (photo right by K. O'Brien and G. Kellund: Kristine O'Brien trekking up from basecamp to camp 1 at 5400 metres/17,700 feet).
  • Getting to Kashgar. To reach Kashgar, there are many travel options. Our experienced Chinese office is very skilled at doing so, as they have been organizing tours there since 1986. Your hosts will greet you at the Kashgar airport or train station and welcome you with a delicious Chinese style feast and a much deserved night’s sleep at your comfortable hotel. Please review the various travel options available. back to top
  • Drive and brief trek to basecamp: From Kashgar the team boards a bus for the drive to Karakul Lake. By the side of the Karakoram Highway, at 3,600 metres/11,800 feet, you will unload all of your equipment from the buses and camp next to the lake. This is our acclimatization camp for the next 1 day/2 nights, as we rest and perhaps take light walks in the surrounding hills and go through orientation and safety procedures. The following morning we take a short drive before we load your equipment onto camels for the trek. These sturdy beasts are led by their gentle shepherds, the "Kirghiz" people, and carry your belongings on a 2-3 hour walk to basecamp, while you accompany on foot carrying nothing. You reach basecamp at 4500 metres/14,800 feet late in the day, have a tasty hot meal and lots of hot drinks, as you rest and acclimate to the increase in altitude (photo right by K. O'Brien and G. Kellund: This is Kristine O'Brien and Gary Kellund resting at camp 2, 6200 metres/20,300 feet). back to top
  • Basecamp: Features your own private sleeping tent that will be all your own, not needing to be shared with anyone. We have comfortable dining tents with tables and chairs where our cooks and waiters will serve you delicious meals.
  • Climbing to the high camps:
    • Camp 1 at 5400 metres/17,700 feet is located just above the snow line. The trail there is mainly loose stones, usually snow-free and is done in leather walking boots with good ankle support (high altitude mountaineering boots are required above camp 1). Skiers can start skinning up at about 5000 metres/16,400 feet when we reach the snow. Snowshoes (racquettes), skis (with climbing skins) or a split-board (with climbing skins) are required above 5000 metres/16,400 feet for all team members ascending Mustagh Ata. If you have never snowshoed/racquetted, it's very easy and you can learn it on the mountain in a few hours. These slopes are lightly crevassed, so all team members are expected to be roped above camp 1. No solo-climbing, nor descending alone above camp 1 will be permitted. For descending above camp 1, snowshoes/racquettes, skis, or a snowboard are required. If you will be skiing or snowboarding you must be competent in a variety of mountain terrain. Line is generally fixed from the snow line up to camp 1  (photo right by Jon Otto: Our team member Brad raquetting/snowshoeing between camp 2 and camp 3).
    • Camp 2 at 6170 metres/20,300 feet is located on a nearly flat snow plateau. It is not normally necessary to use fixed lines here, although we are prepared to fix them in case one of the tiny crevasses might open wide enough. This happens occasionally. back to top
    • Camp 3 at 6800 metres/22,300 feet involves traversing some of the gentlest slopes on the mountain, often below 10 degrees. It’s a very easy place to snowshoe/racquette, ski or snowboard, but there are crevasses in this area, so all safety precautions must be used, including traveling together as a roped team and use of bamboo marker wands.
  • Rest Days: We will be taking a lot of them throughout the expedition. On rest days we encourage you to concentrate on recovering, eating and drinking, to read, relax, listen to music and stroll around visiting other teams.
  • Summit attempt: You head out of camp early roped together with your snowshoes/racquettes, split-board (snowboard with climbing skins) or skis (with climbing skins). If you are planning to snowboard down, you will be snowshoeing up carrying the board on your back or using your split-board. It takes 4 to 8 hours to reach the summit (7,546 metres/24,750 feet) from camp 3. The slope begins at 18 degrees then lessens to 5 degrees. The route up is big and wide with very few crevasses, although you will continue to be roped-up for safety. We walk up to a col, which is a "false summit", threading a needle between two large crevasses, and continue up to the left of the col to the main summit. Upon reaching the summit, you can look at the marvelous views in every direction toward Pakistan and Rakaposhi, into the K2 area, across to the Tien Shan range, and even into Afghanistan. This is an invigorating place from which to view the planet (photo right by Jon Otto: Dan and Walter on the summit. There are a few rocks here, so its easy to find the 7546 metre/24,750 feet summit on the broad flat snow plateau at the top of the mountain. This was a clear, sunny and windy summit day back to top
  • Who is this trip for?
    • We encourage men and women from around the world, of all ages to join us as an individual team member or with your own group, whether that is your spouse, partner, friends, sibling, clients, colleagues, etc. Most of our members join as individuals, our team dynamics work well, and we are able to build successful and safe groups of people that enjoy trekking, climbing, and traveling together.
    • During the Mustagata expedition, we will review techniques of glacier travel in special training sessions in base camp and camp 1. Our training covers ascending and descending ropes safely, using snowshoes/racquettes, ice-axe and crampons, etcetera (photo right by K. O'Brien and G. Kellund: Our team after a successful season on the mountain).
    • Some prior experience in glacier travel with ice-axe, crampons and rope would be helpful. A short glacial travel course would cover the necessary skills.
    • To participate in this expedition you must be a very fit and active winter-walker in good health. Prior to joining, please see your doctor and obtain the necessary permission and advice. back to top

 

Please "click" one of the links on the column on the upper right of your screen under "Mustagata" to learn more about our expedition.

Mount Mustagata Expedition Climbing Cost

* Our “full-service” expedition includes:

  • Leader:Cost includes a very experienced and qualified British, European, or American leader;
  • Organizer: Daniel Mazur, four Mustagata expeditions, twelve 8000 metre expeditions, including K2 and Everest;
  • Climbing Sherpas for the group;
  • Three hot meals per day in basecamp, skillful base camp cooks, comfortable tables and chairs and dining tent, toilette tents, shower tent, storage tent, electricity, and more;
  • All permit fees and liaison officers;
  • Fixing of the route and establishment of high-altitude camps;
  • Transport of all equipment to/from base camp: Personal equipment not to exceed 70 lbs (32 kilograms) plus skis;
  • Use of group gear and supplies: rope, ice, and snow anchor protection; basecamp and altitude tents; cookers, fuel, high-altitude food, bamboo marker wands, etc;
  • Emergency equipment and supplies: portable altitude chamber, oxygen, two-way radios, etcetera;
  • Airport/train station – hotel shuttle in Kashgar;
  • Two meals in Kashgar;
  • In addition to our top-quality high-altitude tents, we now provide an individual tent (1 tent per person) in basecamp and a thick foam mattress;
  • Transport for you and your equipment from Kashgar to Mustagata and back (as per itinerary).

Organization: During this full-service expedition, you will benefit from the organization provided by Dan Mazur. He is a relaxed, friendly and well organized person, and a highly-skilled professional with years of experience in getting people to the summit and back down with the highest attention to safety. He has been leading and organizing successful and safe overland, trekking, and mountaineering expeditions for over 20 years, to Tibet, Nepal, Tadjikistan, Pakistan, India, China, Africa, and North America. For more about Dan, please "click" on the Leadership link

Sherpas and Equipment Transport: Our expedition includes transport of all of your equipment from Kashgar to basecamp, and returned to Kashgar. While climbing on the mountain, we DO NOT ask our full-service members to carry heavy group equipment (although it is an option if you really want to), such as tents, rope, fuel, food, etcetera. We employ climbing sherpas, and high-altitude porters, to carry group equipment and supplies. For a minimal expense, we can also provide personal sherpas and climbing-guides to individual members who wish to have their own private sherpa.
Cooks and Food: In basecamp our skillful and hard working cooks prepare three hot meals each day with a very healthy diet of fresh vegetables, cheeses, eggs, and fresh as well as tinned fruits, meats and fish (all meats and fish are prepared separately out of respect for the vegetarians in our midst). They supply you with unlimited hot-drinks, the key to successful acclimatization. We have large weather-proof kitchens and dining tents, with comfortable chairs and tables. On the mountain, above basecamp, we provide you with abundant and nutritious locally available quick-cooking food, so that you may prepare at least three meals and lots of hot drinks each day, in our specially designed high-altitude stoves using our butane-propane expedition mix fuel (photo right by Jon Otto: Eating dinner at basecamp).

Above basecamp all of our team members cook their own food unless they have a personal sherpa to cook for them.

We provide you with a special high altitude stove and fuel canisters. Our stoves are of the "hanging" type, designed to be used inside the tent (well ventilated of course). We have found these to be the best possible stoves for high altitude use, as it is essential to cook inside the tent during stormy weather. Our stoves are suspended above the floor so you have room to sit comfortably and warmly in your sleeping bag while cooking (photo right AAIC Colection: Acclimatization Camp). back to top

Group Equipment: We provide a plethora of top-quality, and time-tested equipment, group gear, and supplies, including: rope, ice, rock, and snow anchor protection; basecamp and altitude tents; cookers, fuel, high-altitude food, walkie-talkie radios, bamboo marker wands, etcetera. We now provide an individual tent for each member in basecamp, so you do not have to share. We also have shower and toilet tent for Basecamp. Please see the above EQUIPMENT link, to study what we bring for your use and safety.

Staff: Our talented and experienced climbing staff are Tibetan, Chinese, and Pakistani. Their job is to carry group equipment up the mountain, set-up the camps, put-in the route, watch over the members’ safety, and climb with the members to the summit. This is all included in your expedition cost.

Safety: BOTH full-service and basic expeditions are allowed access to our extensive medical supplies, first-aid kits, medical oxygen, and a gamow bag in case of emergency. Thank you for being a well-prepared and safe team member!

Not Included:

  • Personal climbing equipment, clothing, and snack food;
  • Transport to and from Kashgar from your home country;
  • Hotel and meals in Kashgar;
  • Gratuities (photo right: Jon Otto reviewing glacier travel safety procedures and techniques in basecamp). back to top

* Our "basic climb" includes:

  • Organizer: Daniel Mazur, four Mustagata expeditions, fourteen 8000 metre expeditions, including K2 and Everest;
  • All permit fees and liaison officers;
  • Camel transport from the road to and from basecamp for personal items only (clothing, ice axe, sleep-bag, boots);
  • Emergency equipment and supplies: medical oxygen, gamow bag, basecamp medical kit, high-altitude medical kits, etcetera;
  • Access to team fixed ropes and camps (sites, not tents), coordinated with our own "full-service" climbing team;
  • Transport for you and your equipment from Kashgar to Mustagata BC and back (as per itineray, maximum of 70 lbs (32 kilograms) of equipment per person). You will have to pay extra for more weight;
  • Other necessary services and supplies (ie: extra camels, trek services, basecamp meals, high altitude services and equipment), may be purchased and hired at minimal expense. We offer basic climb "packages" as noted below, or, we can furnish individual items such as tents, stoves, gas, food, etcetera.

Add the following services to the basic climb:

Basecamp: kitchen, cooks, meals, dining, and sleeping tents: $1650 USD. . back to top

High altitude: leaders, local guides / porter, tents, equipment, walkie-talkies, food, stoves, fuel, etcetera: $1950 USD.


Awang, one of our professional Tibetan sherpa climbers, helping the team on the mountain. These strong Sherpas help us go up to the summit and back down and are a real asset to the team. He is outside of the tent at camp 2 at 6200 metres/20,300 feet. He is standing in front of one of our expert-quality Ozark tents and you can see the skiis and snowshoes stuck in the snow. They are very important for climbing Mustagata. For ascending, we use skiis and snowshoes/raquettes every day above camp 1 and for descending, our members use skiis, snowboards, or snowshoes/raquettes (Jon Otto). Our talented and friendly climbing staff in acclimatization camp (Jon Otto).

Please ask any questions regarding cost at info@summitclimb.com.

Mount Mustagata Expedition Climb Detailed Daily Itinerary

All members must be in Kashgar on the day 1 of the itinerary, and plan on staying until the last day of our schedule.

The climbing schedule is flexible and should be used as a general guide as to how the climb will go. Some members are able to summit more quickly, while others require more time. We spend slightly longer on the mountain than most other groups; budgeting extra days for bad weather and for those who may need a couple extra days to get to the top.

The climb starts in Kashgar, the closest major city to Mustagata. See the Travel Assistance page for how to get to Kasghar and dates of travel. There are several convenient options, which include:

  • Flying to Kashgar via Beijing or Shanghai — Most members use this method and it is easiest
  • Taking the train to Kashgar from Beijing or Shanghai
  • Traveling overland or flying from Pakistan
  • Traveling overland from Kyrgistan
  • Flying through Russia or middle-east countries

We are glad to assist you with any of these travel options.

If you are going on the pre-climb tour you will have to arrive in Kashgar earlier.

While in Kashgar all members will be staying at the Seman Hotel.

Probable Day-by-Day Itinerary:

Please also visit our Mustagata route description for more about what to expect on the drive from Kashgar, during the climb itself, etcetera.

Note: This is a proposed schedule, which has been developed through previous trips. The actual itinerary of your trip can differ depending on such factors as weather and local conditions. For example, the trip may finish earlier than these dates, or we may need every single day of the schedule. Thank you for being patient and flexible when coming to a foreign country like China.

1) Arrive Kashgar (LATEST DATE). Check equipment and group briefing.
2) Departure from Kashgar to Subashi
3) Camels are loaded before heading on to base camp (4,500 m)*
4) Rest day in base camp
5) Go to Camp 1 (5,300 m) and then back to base camp
6) Back to Camp 1 – spend the night in Camp 1
7) Exploring the route to Camp 2 (6,100 m); back to base camp
8) Rest day in base camp
9) Back to Camp 1 – spend the night in Camp 1
10) Back to Camp 2 – spend the night there
11) Go on to Camp 3, 6800m and back to Base Camp
12) Rest day in base camp
13) Back to Camp 1 – spend the night there
14) Back to Camp 2 – spend the night there
15) Peak Climbing or up to Camp 3, spend the night there
16) Muztagh Ata Peak Climbing - Summit (7,546 metres/24,751 feet).
17) Summit / contingency day.
18) Summit / contingency day.
19) Summit / contingency day.
20) Descent to the base camp base camp
21) Drive to Kashgar - Farewell party in Kashgar
22) Flight home
 
*We ascent directly to 4500m-high basecamp. We offer two acclimatization programs: 1.) if you arrive 2 days early you can stay in yurts near Idara for trekking 2.) if you arrive 4 days early in Bishkek we plan two days around the beautiful historic site of Tash Rabat. Both are located at 3000m altitudes.
 
2. Idara (2 days extra) – costs US$ 350 per person
Transport to Idara and 2 nights in Yurt, full board
 
2. Kirgisa (6 days extra) – costs US$ 850 per person
Starts 4 days earlier and ends 2 days later, transport from Bishkek to Kashgar, 4 nights bed and breakfast at Bishkek and 2 night in Tash Rabat with full  board.  back to top

Thank you for joining our Mustagata Expedition

Mount Mustagata Expedition Climbing Route Description

Please click one of the links below to view that section for the route on Mustagata, or scroll down.

Introduction-

Mustagata lies in western China along the fabled Silk Road, in the Pamir mountain range just south of the ancient city of Kashgar and north of K2, the second highest mountain in the world. In the Kirghiz language, Mustagata means, “Father of the ice mountains,” as its glacial waters nourish the vast fields where Kirghiz and Tashik herders graze their camels, sheep, and yak. The first climber captivated by Mustagata’s stately form was the famous British explorer, Eric Shipton, who in 1947 turned back just short of the summit, not realizing how close he had come. The mountain was first successfully climbed in 1956 by a Sino-Soviet team (photo right by Brad jackson: Mustagata seen from acclimatization camp at 3600 metres/11,800 feet with Karakul Lake reflecting the mountain).

As a safe and mostly non-technical mountain, Mustagata is ideal for those wishing to get a feel for Himalayan climbing with little previous high-altitude experience and modest technical skills. The mountain has gained a reputation amongst skiers and snowboarders, because the entire route can be “skinned” up and offers a continuous run of 2500 vertical metres (8000 vertical feet) from summit to snowline. It is also an excellent mountain to raquette/snowshoe to the summit.

This expedition maximizes experience gained over eight prior Mustagata expeditions with a strong record of reaching the top of our world's highest peaks. In addition to more than 25 Himalayan expeditions we have an intimate knowledge of the Chinese officials who regulate the permit system, liaison officers, sherpas, cooks, camel drivers, and hoteliers/restaurateurs. back to top

"Tash" Route vs. the Traditional Route-

There are two normal routes on the mountain. The one we climb, called the ‘Tash’ route, was first pioneered by SummitClimb and Jon Otto in 2005. The route was named after the nearby Tashik town of Tashgergan. The other route we will call the traditional route, though it does not formally have a name. The reason we wish to make this route clarification is that most of the climbing literature about Mustagata refers to climbing the traditional route (photo right by Jon Otto: Our team member Brad snowshoeing/raquetting between camp 2 and camp 3).

It is a mystery why it took so long to establish the Tash route, as it has several advantages. The Tash route’s base camp is slightly higher than the traditional route’s, which helps with acclimatization. There are fewer teams on the Tash route and base camp is cleaner and more hygienic. We can put all our attention and energy towards climbing the mountain without worrying about being over crowded by other teams and sanitation issues. And, we think the Tash route offers better skiing, snowboarding, and raquetting/snowshoeing. back to top

The route goes up Mustagata’s west slope following the right side of Kartamak Glacier to the col with Kalaxong Peak before continuing up to the main summit. Skiers and split-boarders (snowboarders) can normally start skinning up at 5050 metres/16,600 feet, while raquetters/snowshoers hit the snowline at around 5300 metres/17,400 feet, just below camp 1 (You can hire local herdsmen to help carry your personal equipment up to camp 1). The steepest part of the route is between camp 1 and camp 2 where one short section reaches approximately 30 degrees. On a clear day from the summit the view of the surrounding mountain ranges is stunning and even K2, the second highest mountain in the world, is occasionally in view.

Itinerary-

The proposed itinerary allows enough time for proper acclimatization, rest days, and several returns to base camp, where the kitchen and base camp staff can look after all of your needs, and quell your appetite. The weather at this time of year is normally quite good and stable. However, we all know the global weather is changing, and in case of very rare storms, you will note the proposed itinerary includes extra days as well. In previous expeditions, half of those who reached the summit needed every single "extra" day. back to top

Weather-

At low elevation in Kashgar, the temperature can range from 10-32°c ( 50-90°f). At higher elevations, the temperature can vary from 27°c to -23°c (80°f to -10°f). The wind is the most chilling factor, and can be quite variable, with everything from a flat calm, to very strong on the summit. There may be deep snow, heavy rains, blowing dust storms, burning heat, and bright sunshine. Team members should be prepared for all kinds of weather. back to top

Arriving in Kashgar-

The climb starts in Kashgar, China on July 1st. This is the closest major city to Mustagata (4 hour drive away) along the Karakoram Highway. Getting to Kashgar from you home country is convenient and you have several options. We can assist you with arranging the China portion of your travel or you can make your own plans. Please review the various travel options. Most of our members prefer to fly to Kashgar from Beijing, as it is the quickest and easiest choice.

Kashgar is an ancient and famous Silk Road city, and an exciting and exotic place to relax, feast, and shop in the multi-hued bazaars. This is perhaps the best market town in all of central Asia, and the visitor is exposed to an amazing variety of inexpensive handicrafts and manufactured goods, including jewelry, knives, shawls, musical instruments, carpets, and hats. A wide selection of foods can be found here with fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, mutton, beer, and spirits in abundance. If you are coming from Pakistan, Tashkergan is the closest larg(ish) town to basecamp. back to top

subashi.JPG (14014 bytes) camel riding.jpg (33957 bytes)

Subashi at 3600 metres/11,800 feet, which means pasture in the Tadzhik local dialect, is near starting point for our trek to basecamp (Photo: J. Otto). Camels carry all of our posessions to and from acclimatization camp to basecamp (it takes 2-3 hours) and are strange and strong beasts (DL Mazur). Acclimatization camp, on the edge of the Karakoram Highway, with Mustagata in the background (Jon Otto).

Driving to Basecamp/Short Trek-

In the morning you awaken early, and board a bus for the drive to Karakul Lake (acclimatization camp). It is located by the side of the Karakoram Highway, at 3600 metres/11,800 feet. You will probably unload all of your equipment from the buses, camp for 2 nights, then the following morning, load your equipment onto camels. These sturdy beasts, led by their gentle shepherds, the "Kirghiz" people, will carry your belongings on a three hour walk to basecamp, while you accompany on foot, carrying nothing (photo right AAIC Colection: Acclimatization Camp).

You reach basecamp at 4500 metres/14,800 feet late in the day, have a tasty hot meal, and lots of hot drinks, then fall into your sleeping bag for a welcome sleep. The following day, there is plenty of time to participate in our extensive mountain-climbing and medical and camping training, to really get basecamp well organized, rest, unpack everything, and (if you are part of our full-service team, or decided to hire basecamp cooks and food) enjoy many good cups of tea and juice and hearty meals of fresh local vegetables, grains, potatoes and fresh or tinned meat (separately prepared for the meat-eaters in our midst). Your cook would be a local "Uighur", who is a trained chef, who knows what westerners like to eat, who we have used many times before, and is able to prepare a tasty, filling meal on a moment’s notice. He is able to cook for a variety of palettes with a minimum of spices and oils, if you prefer. There is plenty of fuel for daily washing and showers in hot water, and for boiling drinking water (it is recommended you bring iodine tablets, and/or a water-filter for water purification, just in case).

Its time to climb Mustagata, the easiest 7500 metre/24,600 foot peak in the world: We have chosen to climb the peak in July, a time when the snow conditions are good, the mountain is not too "melted-out", and the route is relatively pristine and clean. back to top

camp 1.JPG (13163 bytes) camp 2.JPG (39018 bytes)

Derek in our comfortable basecamp, near a stream at 4500 metres/14,800 feet (DL Mazur). Jo and Andrew in Camp 1 at 5400 metres/17,700 feet (Alex Fraser) . Bill walking down to basecamp from camp 1, after summiting (Jon Otto). Ellen and Angela in Camp 2 at 6170 metres/20,000 feet (DL Mazur).

Climbing Mustagata-

Snowshoes (raquettes), a split-board (snowboard with climbing skins) or skis (with climbing skins) are required above camp 1 for all team members ascending Mustagh Ata. If you have never raquetted/snowshoed, it's very easy and you can learn it on the mountain in a short amount of time. These slopes are lightly crevassed, so all team members are expected to be roped above Camp 1. No solo-climbing, nor descending alone above camp 1, will be permitted. For descending above camp 1, snowshoes/raquettes, skis, or a snowboard are required. If you are planning on skiing or snowboarding then you will need to be very confident. This is no place for a beginner skier or snowboarder. back to top

High Camps-

Over the next few days, you hike up and down the mountain to Camp 1 at 5400 metres/17,700 feet. The trail is mainly loose stones, is usually snow free and is done in leather walking boots (plastic boots are required above camp 1). Most people prefer to hire the local donkey-drivers and their sturdy beasts, who will charge you a rate of 10-20 Chinese Yuan per kilo to carry your personal equipment such as sleeping bag and climbing boots, up and down the mountain. For the full-service crew, after our staff carries up the tents and supplies, and sets everything up, you move into Camp 1 and sleep. Camp 1 is just above the snow-line. You rest and acclimate, and use your snowshoes (raquettes), split-board (snowboard) or skis (with climbing skins) to explore the way to Camp 2 at 6170 metres/20,000 feet (photo right by K. O'Brien and G. Kellund: This is Kristine O'Brien and Gary Kellund resting at camp 2, 6200 metres/20,300 feet).

Camp 2 is located on a nearly flat, 4 degree snow plateau. Enroute to Camp 2, at 6170 metres/20,000 feet, lies a miniscule ice fall. It is not normally necessary to use fixed lines here. Although we are prepared to fix them, in case one of the tiny crevasses might open wide enough. In five years, this only happened once. Then you descend by snowshoe, ski, or snowboard down to camp 1 and walk back to basecamp. Eventually after resting in base, eating lots of good food and many cups of tea and other drinks, taking time to adjust to the altitude, and carrying equipment up to Camp 2, you sleep there. The slopes above and below Camp 2 are sustained at a 20 degree pitch, and offer the best skiing and snowboarding. back to top

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Bill, Kahshin, and Brett resting on a sunny day in Camp 2 at 6170 metres/20,000 feet (Jon Otto). Dan skiing with the Kongur massif behind (Richard Bothwell). This photo was taken in the camp 3 vicinity around 6600 metres/21,600 feet. Snowshoer/raquetter heading out in the early morning, up to camp 3 at 6800 metres/22,300 feet. You can see how easy the climb is by looking at the gentle slope angle in this photo (Jon Otto).

After descending for a day or two of rest and some large and tasty meals in basecamp, its time to move up to Camp 3 and sleep there. Route finding to Camp 3 at 6800 metres/22,300 feet involves traversing some of the gentlest slopes on the mountain, often below 10 degrees. It’s a very easy place to raquette/snowshoe, split-board or ski, but there are crevasses in this area, so all safety precautions must be used, including traveling as a roped team and use of bamboo marker wands. back to top

richard.JPG (10146 bytes) dan telemarking.JPG (9793 bytes)

Brett at camp 3 at 6800 metres/22,300 feet the night before, getting ready for the jaunt to the summit in the early morning. His father Bill is rolling out his sleeping bag (Jon Otto). Richard snowshoe-ing/raquetting up, preparing to snow board down (DL Mazur), Dan skiing down from the summit (Richard Bothwell)

Summit Day-

You head out of camp early roped together with your snowshoes/racquettes or skis and climbing skins. If you are planning to snowboard down, you will be snowshoeing up carrying the board on your back or using your split-board. It takes 4 to 8 hours to reach the summit (7,546 metres/24,750 feet) from camp 3. The slope begins at 18 degrees then lessens to 5 degrees. The route up is big and wide with very few crevasses, although you will continue to be roped-up for safety. We walk up to a col, which is a "false summit", threading a needle between two large crevasses, and continue up to the left of the col to the main summit. Upon reaching the summit, you can look at the marvelous views in every direction toward Pakistan and Rakaposhi, into the K2 area, across to the Tien Shan range, and even into Afghanistan. This is an invigorating place from which to view the planet (photo right by Jon Otto: Dan and Walter on the summit. There are a few rocks here, so its easy to find the 7546 metre/24,750 feet summit on the broad flat snow plateau at the top of the mountain. This was a clear, sunny and windy summit day).

Going Home-

After packing up all of your equipment and rubbish, it's time for a careful descent, and you can be back in basecamp in one or two days. Finally we pack up basecamp, and load the equipment onto camels for the descent (for those who are part of the full-service team). Leaving Karakul Lake, we retrace our steps to Kashgar (Tashkergan-Sust for those departing via Pakistan), and say our last goodbyes to our new friends before the flight home. Thanks for joining in! back to top

Thank You for joining our Mustagata Expedition.

Getting To Kashgar & Mustagata, Travel Assistance & Options

Getting there:

The climb starts in Kashgar, China. All members must arrive in Kashgar or Tashkergan no later than the first day of the scheduled itinerary or plan on staying until the final day, no matter which travel option is used.

You will need to get a Chinese visa for this climb. We highly recommend NOT applying on your own. Please contact us about applying for you Chinese visa.

Kashgar is the closest major city to Mustagata (4 hour drive away) along the Karakoram Highway. Getting to Kashgar from you home country is convenient and you have several options. We can assist you with arranging the China portion of your travel or you can make your own plans.

If you make your own travel plans be sure to tell us when and where you are arriving and give us a copy of your itinerary.

Travel Options Overview:

You can choose one of the travel options below or combine them, such as taking the train to Kashgar on the way in, and flying back to Beijing on the way out.

#1 Fly to Kashgar from Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, or Guangzhou 

Flying through China is the easiest, fastest, and most reliable way to get to Kashgar. Buy your international ticket to any of these major port cities in China, and then continue your trip to Kashgar entirely within China. It is a one-day flight to Kashgar from Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, or Guangzhou. The one down side of flying is that Chinese airlines only allow 20kg/44lbs of checked luggage for free.

Cost: Flight Beijing – Kashgar roundtrip: $1022 USD. One way is half that.

 

#2 Take the train to Kashgar from Beijing or Shanghai

An economical way for those who have extra time and want to see the country side. It takes 3 days to reach Kashgar by train. Also great for people with a lot of luggage and do not wish to pay the overweight airline fees.

Costs:

  • Train Beijing or Shanghai – Kashgar one-way: $365 USD. Round-trip is double the one-way fair.

Cost includes: (Contact us for these costs, as they change)

  • Train ticket
  • Shuttle to train station in Beijing or Shanghai
  • Shuttle from train station to hotel in Urumqi and back to train station the following day.

#3 Overland from Rawalpindi / Islamabad, Pakistan along Karakoram Highway

Drive from Islamabad to China along the Karakoram highway. This is the only travel option that does not go to Kashgar. We pick you up in Tashkurgan (Chinese border post with Pakistan) and shuttle you to our acclimatization camp. After the climb we drive you all the way back to Sust (Pakistan border post with China). On the way in you must arrange your own transport by public bus or hired vehicle from Islamabad to Sust, and then a jeep to Tashkurgan. On the way back out you must arrange your own transport from Sust back to Islamabad.


#4 Fly to Kashgar from Islamabad, Pakistan

There is a direct flight between Islamabad and Kashgar 2-3 times per week. If you are interested in doing this contact your local travel agent for details.


#5 Overland to Kashgar from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan via Turugart Pass 

For those who prefer to fly into Almaty or Bishkek. You arrange your transport to the Chinese border and back. We pick you up at Turugart, the Chinese border post with Kyrgyzstan, and drive you to Kashgar. After the climb we drive you back to Turugart, where you have arranged transport.


#6 International flight direct to Urumqi, China, connecting through to Kashgar

There are many international flights directly into Urumqi from Middle East countries and Russia. This may be a viable option for those coming from Europe and, of course, those living in these countries. The flights do not go every day. Check with your local travel agent to see if this option will work for you. From Urumqi you will take a connecting flight or the train to Kashgar. These cities have direct flights to Urumqi: Moscow, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Bishkek, Islamabad, Almaty, Tashkent


Dates of travel:

Listed below are the 4 most popular ways to get to Kashgar & Mustagata. Most members choose to fly from Beijing.

Blue text represents member travel days. Black text represents when all members will be together. back to top

#1 Fly Beijing* – Kashgar #2 Train Beijing** – Kashgar#3 Overland from Islamabad, Pakistan#5 Overland from Kyrgyzstan

Must arrive Beijing this morning, can arrive earlier; Evening: Depart Beijing by trainMust arrive Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Pakistan today, can arrive earlier

On trainDrive to Chilas, Pakistan (self-arranged)
Must arrive Beijing today, can arrive earlierAfternoon: Arrive Urumqi HotelDrive to Gilgit or Karedmadad, PakistanDepart Bishkek for China by vehicle (self-arranged)
Morning: Fly Beijing to Kashgar transferring in UrumqiNoon: Depart Urumqi by trainDrive to Sust, Pakistan Pakistan border post with ChinaContinue drive to Turugart pass (we pick you up here); Drive to Kashgar
Kashgar – Pre-departure meeting (very important) tour Kashgar - last minute preparationsNoon: Arrive Kashgar Pre-departure meeting (very important), tour Kashgar, last minute preparationsDrive to Tashkurgan China's border post with Pakistan, we pick you up here; hotelKashgar - Pre-departure meeting (very important) tour Kashgar - last minute preparations
Drive to acclimatization camp at Karakul Lake 3600 meters / 11,800 feetDrive to acclimatization camp at Karakul Lake 3600 meters / 11,800 feetShuttle to acclimatization camp at Karakul Lake Join team hereDrive to acclimatization camp at Karakul Lake 3600 meters / 11,800 feet
Climbing periodClimbing periodClimbing periodClimbing period
Hike from BC to vehicles drive back to KashgarHike from BC to vehicles drive back to KashgarHike from BC to vehicles Shuttle to Tashkurgan; hotelHike from BC to vehicles Drive back to Kashgar
Morning: Fly to Beijing Evening: Arrive BeijingNoon: Depart Kashgar by trainDrive to Sust We drop you off hereDrive from Kashgar to Turugart pass (we drop you off here) Continue drive into Kyrgyzstan (self-arranged)
Depart China can depart laterNoon: Arrive Urumqi Evening: Transfer trains to BeijingContinue drive back to Islamabad/Rawalpindi (self-arranged)Continue drive to Bishkek

On train


Afternoon: Arrive Beijing


Depart China Can depart later

* Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, or Hong Kong (Shenzhen)
** Beijing or Shanghai

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Mount Mustagata SummitClimb Review, Testimonial, Endorsement, Complaint, Feedback, Opinion

Please scroll down to read our Reviews

Here is what Arun Mahajan says:

Muztagh Ata was great and I would always recommend your organization!" -Arun Mahajan

Here is what summiter Gary from New Mexico says:

"Mustagata is an excellent exposure to very high altitude without requiring excessive commitment or extensive technical climbing skills. It makes for a great test before trying something higher. It's also a chance to see really interesting people and cultures that you wouldn't experience on a Himalayan climb in the "typical" areas of Nepal or Tibet. Finally, it's a chance for some great snowshoeing/raquetting, snowboarding and skiing in an amazing location.

The Tibetan sherpas were really great. I've climbed before with Nepalese sherpas, and these Tibetan guys were certainly their equal when it came to their strength, work ethic, and all around helpfulness. They genuinely seemed to have a good time, with infectious smiles. I'd climb again with them any time."

 

Here is what summiter Urs from Switzerland had to say:

 

"Overall it was a great experience. Technically it was very easy. For competent off-piste mountain skiiers and snowboarders, I would recommend skis or split board over raquettes/snow shoes, as the way down is very breathtaking.

 

The challenge of Mustagata is certainly the altitude, rather than the technicality of the terrain. It's more challenging than easy two day or week-long climbs like Island Peak or Kilimanjaro."

We take our member's feedback and testimonials seriously. These help us to refine and make our Mustagata expeditions a successful, safe, and enjoyable experience for our future teams.

Mount Mustagata Expedition Climbing Leadership & Staff

Leadership: A very experienced and qualified British, European, or American leader

Note: Our leaders are not guides. They are there to coordinate the expedition and may or may not climb with you personally on the mountain. Our leaders will try to do everything they can to help you, but it is your responsibility to have the skills, strength, equipment, etcetera to do this climb. If you are unsure, you may wish to hire a personal sherpa.

Organization: During this full-service expedition, you will benefit from the organization provided by Dan Mazur. He is a relaxed, friendly and well organized person, and a highly-skilled professional with years of experience in getting people to the summit and back down with the highest attention to safety. He has been leading and organizing successful and safe overland, trekking, and mountaineering expeditions for over 20 years, to Tibet, Nepal, Tadjikistan, Pakistan, India, China, Africa, and North America. For more about Dan, please "click" on the Leadership link above.

Sherpas: Our talented and experienced climbing staff are Tibetan, Chinese, and Pakistani. 

Note: We strive to provide one group sherpa for each 3-4 members. The group sherpa's duty is to carry group equipment such as tents, rope, food, and gas up and down the mountain. Group sherpas help to setup and take down camps. They are also there to try to assist in any rescues, so the other members may not have to give up their summit attempt to rescue a sick member. They may not be available to climb with members and in some instances, you may be called upon to help carry group equipment and help with group work. If you need more sherpa assistance, we encourage you to hire a personal sherpa.

This is all included in your expedition cost. For more about sherpas, please click here.

Asu-Climbing Staff Head: Our climbing staff is lead by Asu. Asu has climbed Mustagata with us three times. He is very affable, helpful, a strong climber, and speaks English. Asu started climbing while attending Xia'men University in southeast China, where he got his undergraduate education in Economics. After college he worked as a guide for three years at the Arête Alpine Instruction Center (AAIC), one of China’s premier climbing schools located in Sichuan Province. At AAIC he received solid training in all aspects of alpine climbing and gained much of his high altitude experience climbing throughout Tibet. We are very excited to have Asu as part of our team (photo right by Jon Otto: Asu in Mustagata basecamp).

Staff: Our staff in Kashgar are available to assist you 24 hours per day, seven days per week. It does not matter which day nor at what time you arrive or depart Kashgar, they will meet your flight or train, take you to the hotel, help you find essential things like money changing, shopping, arrange tours of the city, etcetera. 

We need individuals interested in becoming climbing leaders. The Leader-in-Training Programme is open to individuals to participate in any of the mountain expedition climbs offered by SummitClimb.com. If you are already a professional mountain guide, we are glad to offer you a 10% discount. We provide this on all trips to UIAGM, MLTB, AMGA, BMG, and all other certified climbing guides from every nation. Thank you for joining our team.

Our leaders, staff, and sherpas look forward to serving you on our expeditions to form a successful team and create a rewarding experience.

Mount Mustagata Expedition Climb - Your Experience & Training

Please "click" one of the links below to go directly to that information or scroll down.

Team Member Experience:

Our leader, Jon Christian Otto, and our team-climbing-sherpas, are there to ensure (for our full-service members) you make it up to the summit and down safely. However, this is not a guided expedition (although you could hire your own personal guide, sherpas, etcetera), and team members are expected to be able to care for themselves in a winter-camping environment. Although Mustagh Ata is considered to be an easy and low angle mountain, there are hazards present, and members must have knowledge of roped glacier travel (to protect for crevasse-falls). It is also required that all members will have an awareness of altitude sickness, frostbite, and the recognition of their symptoms, prevention, and treatment.

Ascending above Camp 1, all members must be wearing snowshoes/raquettes, skis, or a split-board (snowboard) and roped to another team member. On descent (above camp 1) all members must be snowshoe-ing/raquetting, skiing, or snowboarding. A minimum of snowshoes are required, but no snowshoe experience is necessary, as it is very easy to learn (a few hours) upon arrival at Mustagh Ata (photo right by K. O'Brien and G. Kellund: Jon on the way to camp 3).

Raquettes/snowshoes may be hired by us (we rent these out in Kashgar for $75, £37, €50 with a deposit of: $200, £100, €130) if you do not have your own. If you will be skiing/snowboarding, you should be experts in all forms of mountain terrain. This is no place for a beginner skier or snowboarder.

We welcome you to join our expedition as an individual and most of our members do. We plan to assemble our team members into groups so you should not have to climb alone, although occasionally it may happen. By the way, we are unable to accommodate 'soloists' who are not willing to climb together with other team members or sherpas from our team. The main expectation is that members will be prepared to climb with a team member or sherpa above basecamp if possible. This practice ensures that the entire team has a fun, successful, and safe time on the mountain. back to top

Fitness and Health:

To participate in this expedition you must be a very fit and active winter-walker-climber in good health. Prior to joining our group, please see your doctor and obtain the necessary permission and advice, as well as medications for travel in extremes of altitude, and also for exotic locales (photo right by Gary Kellund: Kristine visits a Tajik Yurt near basecamp. back to top

Training Prior to the Expedition:

  • Firstly, you should always consult your doctor before starting a rigorous exercise plan.
  • In the beginning, to see how you handle the training, and to avoid muscle strains that could slow your training down, you may wish to use shorter more frequent but less taxing workouts, and take more rest. After you get "up to speed" as it were, you could increase the rigour. Older climbers and walkers please take note of the latter. Also remember that swimming is an excellent form of training because it does not put stress upon your joints. Thank you.
  • In order to train well for your trip you should work toward excercising 3 to 4 times a week for between 40 minutes and an hour and a half each time. You should expect to work hard, and try to keep your heartrate quite high and your breathing quite heavy.
  • Adequate rest and a well balanced diet are also essential to avoid injury and illness before the expedition. You should sleep at least 8 hours per night, and eat 3 nutritious meals a day. Don't forget that you will perspire when you train, so try to drink at least 4 litres/quarts of water a day.
  • You may wish to engage the services of a personal trainer, who could help you to fine tune your fitness to a higher level while minimizing strain and maximising your potential in ways you might not have imagined. Personal trainers can also be a great motivator, as you and the trainer have your weekly session, thus you will feel an incentive to complete your planned fitness programme for that week.
  • Utilising both gym equipment and the great outdoors will provide a more balanced exercise programme. You should try to accomplish at least half of your workouts outside. This could include walking and running (On stairs and hills too) and cycling, but above all should be fun! Hillwalking and climbing with a pack weighing 5-10 Kilos/10-20 pounds is essential. If you don't have hills, why not go for stairs, bleachers, viewing stands, stadiums, even the stairways in tall buildings? Don't forget to spend time directly working the muscles of the legs, back and shoulders, and remember that your own body weight can be just as effective as weights, or machines (photo right by K. O'Brien and G. Kellund: Our team after a successful season on the mountain).
  • About 6 weeks before the expedition departure date, you may wish to do 1 full day each week of hill walking, climbing or an equivalent, with a light rucksack. On that day, you would want to eventually work toward six-eight hours of continuous walking or climbing up and down hill, with 4 to 6 separate ten minute breaks and a 1/2 to 1 hour lunch break midway through.
  • To minimize the chance of injuring yourself, consider starting with a half day and then if you do well, increase to 2/3, then eventually to a full day, once a week.
  • We want you to arrive for your expedition in top shape, so please take plenty of rest and do not over-do it.
  • Hint: when carrying a rucksack while descending, walking, or climbing down-hill, try carrying a bit less in your rucksack in order to save your knees. Many trainers advise carrying water bottles up the hill then emptying them at the top so your rucksack is lightened for the trip down. back to top

Training During the Expedition:

  • Upon arrival in base camp and camp 1, ALL full-service and basic-climb members are requested to participate in one to two days of orientation to how the trip will be operated. There will be plenty of time for discussion, question answering, and for equipment review. We believe that an informed and knowledgeable team member is a safe member. At the beginning of the expedition we go over on-the-mountain safety protocols such as prevention of acute mountain sickness (AMS), basics of high-altitude medicine, how to use the two-way radios, rope-team travel, crevasse rescue, camping techniques, high-altitude cooking and more. For the expert and beginner alike, it is important to review these techniques in order to enhance skills, ensure safety-awareness, and work together as a team (photo right: Jon Otto reviewing glacier travel safety procedures and techniques in basecamp). back to top
We hope that you will arrive for your Mustagata Expedition in good health, both mentally and physically prepared, so we can work together as a team and have a successful expedition.

Mount Mustagata Climb - Personal & Team Equipment

This is the list of personal items you will need to bring. Please plan on bringing all of the necessary items from home, as it is extremely difficult to find/purchase them in China. All other equipment supplies, and food will be provided. Click link below to go directly to that section of the personal equipment list or just scroll down:

Please go to our personal & team equipment section of the "Mustagata Questions" for additional information and detailed discussion of the equipment lists below.

Where should I purchase my equipment?
Please "click here" to view our list of recommendations on where to purchase kit from our Mustagata Frequently Asked Questions.

Climbing-

  • Skis, snowboard, or raquettes/snowshoes:
    • Skis – bring alpine touring/randonne or telemark set-up with skins. Must have top of the line ski boots for warmth or an over-boot. are recommended, as they can increase safety when climbing on hard-packed/icy snow;
    • Snowboard – highly recommend bringing a split board with skins. It is a lot of work to carry your snowboard at this altitude. Bring super warm snowboarding boots;
    • Raquettes/snowshoes – light-weight raquette/snowshoe with tails or with larger surface area and a heal raise mechanism;
  • Climbing harness (must have adjustable leg loops);
  • 1 locking carabiner;
  • 2 non-locking carabiners (ovals are best);
  • 1 pr. telescoping ski poles (3-section) (Optional);
  • 1 helmet (optional but recommended);
  • 1 “figure-8” descender/abseil device, (Do not bring “ATC” or equivalent);
  • 2 prussic loops OR 1 prussic loop & 1 ascending device (prussic loops are normally made from 5mm-6mm cord. Ascenders (Jumar) are easier to use but heavier than a prussic rope and not that necessary on Mustagata);
  • 2 metre-long webbing (NOT pre-sewn) OR daisy chain;
  • Mountaineering axe (make sure it is the proper length);
  • 1 pr. crampons (light-weight crampons are adequate). back to top

Upper Body-Layering is important. You must be able to comfortably wear the below items together.

  • Light/mid-weight thermal long shirts (synthetic, wool, equivalent. No cotton);
  • Fleece vest or light-weight fleece jacket (optional);
  • Very warm fleece/pile/wind-stopper jacket;
  • Wind/waterproof jacket with hood (Gore-Tex or equivalent);
  • Goose-down jacket with hood – MANDATORY (mid or heavy weight). back to top
  • Umbrella (optional);

Hands-

  • Light-weight thermal liner gloves (no cotton);
  • Gloves (very warm, best if water resistant/proof);
  • Very warm insulated mittens (either down or synthetic with removable liner. This mitt should fit over your liner gloves).

Head-

  • Helmets
  • Fleece balaclava & warm hat OR 2 warm hats;
  • Facemask for wind and cold (optional).

Lower Body-Layering is important. You must be able to comfortably wear all your leggings together.

  • Light/mid-weight thermal leggings (synthetic, wool, equivalent. No cotton);
  • Mid/heavy-weight thermal fleece/pile leggings or equivalent (no cotton);
  • Heavyweight very warm thermal fleece/pile leggings or equivalent (no cotton);
  • Wind/waterproof trousers (Gore-Tex or equivalent). back to top

Feet-

  • Boots:
    • 1. Snowhoers- raquetters: very warm double plastic boots. Must comfortably fit with two pair of warm socks plus vapour barrier liner OR One-Sport-Millet Everest boot or similar. With such a sock combination and your foot inside, it should still have a 'bit of room' and not be too tight, as tight boots will restrict circulation and cause frostbite. Don’t forget that it's very common that your feet will swell at altitude. Must fit a crampon perfectly, before you leave home. Please don’t wait until reaching Kashgar where there are no other crampons or boots to buy.
    • 2. Skiers: alpine tour or randonee boots that are very warm with a 'high altitude' or 'extreme cold temperature' REMOVABLE INNER BOOT (it must be removable, accept no substitutes). Must comfortably fit with two pair of warm socks plus vapour barrier liner. With such a sock combination and your foot inside, it should still have a 'bit of room' and not be too tight, as tight boots will restrict circulation and cause frostbite. Don’t forget that it's very common that your feet will swell at altitude. Must fit a crampon perfectly, before you leave home. Please don’t wait until reaching Kashgar where there are no other crampons or boots to buy.
    • 3. Snowboarders and split-boarders: snowboard boots that are very warm with a 'high altitude' or 'extreme cold temperature' REMOVABLE INNER BOOT (it must be removable, accept no substitutes). They must comfortably fit with two pair of warm socks plus vapour barrier liner. With such a sock combination and your foot inside, it should still have a 'bit of room' and not be too tight, as tight boots will restrict circulation and cause frostbite. Don’t forget that it's very common that your feet will swell at altitude. Must fit a crampon perfectly, before you leave home. Please don’t wait until reaching Kashgar where there are no other crampons or boots to buy.
    • 4. We don’t tolerate frostbitten feet on our trips. Warm comfortable boots are always a first priority. On Mustagata, technical performance of the boot is secondary.
  • 1 pr. leather trekking boots with good ankle support ("broken-in" please);
  • 1 pr. boot gaiters, super gaiters, or over boots to fit over your mountaineering boots;
  • vapour barrier liner socks or plastic bread-bags;
  • 2 pair lightweight trekking socks, poly or wool;
  • Heavy thermal socks (synthetic, wool, or equivalent. No cotton); at least 2 pairs.

Sleeping-

  • 1 goose-down (duvet) sleeping bag (-30 degrees Centigrade or at least –20 degrees Fahrenheit);
  • 1 basecamp sleeping bag (-12 degrees Centigrade, or 10 degrees Fahrenheit, optional, but highly recommended);
  • 1 closed cell foam Kari-mat (we do not recommended inflatable mattresses as they are easily punctured). back to top

Rucksack-

  • 1 large & comfortable rucksack (60-80 litres/3500-5000 cubic inches);
  • Waterproof rucksack cover (optional);
  • 1 large duffle bag with lock (80-100 litres/5000-6000 cubic inches for checked bag);
  • 1 medium backpack (40-60 litres/2500-3500 cubic inches, can be used for airplane carry-on; Optional);
  • 1 additional locking travel kit duffle bag, with lock (optional).

Personal Hygiene-

  • 2 tubes lip sun cream and 1 tube skin sun cream (minimum factor 35);
  • Personal hygiene items (toothpaste/brush, soap, small towel, female or male hygiene & sanitary supplies).

Medical-

  • Altitude sickness (Diamox or Acetylzolamide), blisters, diarrhea, headache, cough and cold, chest & intestinal infections (antibiotics);
  • Anti-mosquito cream.
  • Do NOT bring sleeping pills as they are a respiratory depressant. back to top

Personal Food-

Our skillful cooks prepare 3 delicious hot meals and plenty of drinks each day in basecamp.

On the mountain we supply plenty of food for you to cook 3 hot meals each day. This food will consist of soup, local cheese & sausage, biscuits, dried noodles, potatoes, rice, porridge, butter, dried and tinned vegetables, fruit, meats, and fish, tea with milk and sugar, powdered juice drink, and drinking chocolate. Our sherpas will be carrying this food to the higher camps.

  • We ask each member to bring their own imported daily snack and energy foods. We also ask members to bring 2-3 of their favourite dehydrated (freeze-dried) meals for their summit attempt. We do not provide cold “snack” food such as chocolate or "energy-bars". We ask that you bring or buy your own "snack" or daily cold energy food, 2+ kilos/4+ pounds, is a good amount. Imported power bars, GU, re-hydration drinks, dehydrated food, "freeze-dried meals", imported cheese and sausage are not readily available in Kashgar. If you want these items, you must bring them from your home country. You may also bring extra food supplements for personal dietary requirements.

 

Practical-

  • 1 head light with extra batteries & extra bulb(s);
  • Repair tape, sewing repair kit, cigarette lighters and matches;
  • Compass and GPS unit;
  • Camera and accessories;
  • 1-2 pr. glacier sunglasses (with side shields). For eyeglass wearers, bring prescription sunglasses or snap-ons;
  • 1 pr. ski goggles. For eyeglass wearers, buy a pair that can fit comfortably over your glasses;
  • Extra prescription glasses, contact lens supplies. Contact lens wearers please bring glasses as a backup;
  • Small multi-purpose knife;
  • Waterproof sacs for putting your clothes and sleeping bag in;
  • 1 set earplugs;
  • Battery powered alarm clock/watch;
  • 1 pr. sandals;
  • 1 pr. sneakers or trainers;
  • 1 pr. Cotton shorts and 1 pr. cotton long pants;
  • 1 cotton t-shirt and 1 cotton long sleeved shirt;
  • passport, 2 extra passport photos, flight ticket, flight itinerary;
  • separate photocopies of passport and relevant visa pages, proof of insurance;
  • dollars, pounds or euros cash for paying for restaurants and hotels, for gratuities, snacks, and to purchase your own drinks and gifts;
  • credit cards, Bank/ATM/Cash machine cards for use for withdrawing funds from cash machines (bring a photocopy of your cards), traveler's checks, etc.;
  • 1 sun hat and 1 cotton headscarf;
  • 1 litre water bottle and 1 litre insulated thermos;
  • 1 urine bottle (1 litre wide mouth plastic drinking bottle such as Nalgene). Pee bottle for women: http://www.freshette.com;
  • Bring a set of summer clothes. It will be hot in Kashgar;
  • Please be sure and bring your patience and try to keep an open, relaxed, positive and friendly attitude as traveling in this part of the world may be very different than what you are used to, but things always seem to fall into place at the last moment. Thank you. back to top

Group Equipment-

  • We provide a plethora of top-quality, and time-tested equipment, group gear, and supplies, including: rope, ice, rock, and snow anchor protection; basecamp and altitude tents; cookers, fuel, high-altitude food, walkie-talkie radios, bamboo marker wands, etcetera. We now provide an individual tent for each member in basecamp, so you do not have to share. We also have a shower and toilet tent for Basecamp. Please see the group EQUIPMENT link, in the menu bars above to study what we bring for your use and safety. back to top

Please submit any equipment questions or concerns to: info@summitclimb.com

Mount Mustagata Climbing Expedition Questions Section

Mount Mustagata Expedition Climbing Video Movie Clips

You will need "Quick Time" to see it. To down load quick time, please click here:Get Quicktime

Team at Basecamp

If you wish to purchase our mountain climbing and trekking films, please contact Videoland Productions.

You can can go to their site www.videolandproductions.com and email info@videolandproductions.com or call (+1)360-491-1332 to buy any and all of the mountain climbing and trekking films we have. Please tell them we said hi!

We will be expanding this section with more Mustagata video clips.

Mount Mustagata Climbing News & Expedition Dispatches - Stories

Archive news: Click Here

This photo was taken in 2000 during our pioneering of a new route along the East Ridge of Mustagata. Our team members, Jon and Walter, are topping the last rise before Avalanche camp (D. L. Mazur, Copyright: www.mountainzone.com).

Thank you for reading about our past Mustagata Expeditions. To follow along with our ongoing trips around the world, please view our "Recent News" section.

Mustagata - Pre-Climb Tour of Kashgar

Pre-climb tour:

We have arranged a special program for those who are interested, however there must be a minimum of 4 people taking part to allow this trip to take part.

  • Cost: $255.

Cost includes transportation, meals, hotel (2 nights), local guide, and entrance fees.

Itinerary:

  • Day 1 : Arrive in Kashgar
  • Day 2 : Shipton’s Arch
  • Day 3 : Old town / Eidgah Mosque / Sunday Bazaar and Animal Market

Day 1: Arrive in Kashgar

Day 2:

  • After breakfast in our hotel’s outdoor café we make the drive to the base of Shipton’s Arch. This gigantic arch is known to the local people as Tushuk Tash (“Hole Rock”) and is possibly the largest natural arch in the world. To reach the arch our jeeps ramble up dry streambeds to the base of Kara Tagh, a small rocky range near Kashgar. We then venture on foot through slot canyons before getting our first view of the Arch. We make one final climb up to a small col where you can view the entire arch up close. From here you can see through the arch into another valley and off in the distance you can see the great snow peaks of the Pamirs, including Mt. Gonggar, which is near Mustagata.
  • Eric Shipton, a British diplomat who was also an inveterate explorer and mountaineer, became British consul in Kashgar in 1940. He roamed the narrow maze-like slot canyons of the Kara Tagh on three separate occasions before finally finding a route to the massive arch. Hence the name, Shipton's Arch.

Day 3:

  • This morning we’ll meander through the labyrinth of Kashgar’s old town and step back into time. We’ll explore narrow alleyways lined with ancient mud packed houses, woodworking shops, noodle shops, pottery shops, bakeries, and much more. We’ll see traditional craftsman making copper pots by hand and visit the markets where people come from miles around. This exotic outdoor emporium teems with vibrancy beyond comparison.
  • We explore the Id Kah Mosque, Kashgar’s main religious center and architectural monument. Built in 1422, the Id Kah Mosque is in the center of town and surrounded by lively open-air markets.We stop for lunch at a local Uygur restaurant that has some of the best lamb pull-noodles, shish kabob and yogurt in Kashgar.
  • After lunch we drive to Kashgar's famous Sunday market or Bazaar. Local's come from miles around to sell their wares and buy supplies. Everything needed to live as a farmer, or herder, or nomad is for sale here. Donkey carts clog the entrance to the live-stock market which hosts sheep, yaks, camels, and donkeys. Largegroups of men stand around bargaining for the animals. The market boasts thousands of small stalls selling large swaths of colorful cloth, scarfs, wooden handicrafts, musical instruments, ornamented knives, donkey cart wheels, bicycle parts, pots & pans, fake gold teeth, yogurt ice snacks, Uygur traditional hats, and much more.
  • For dinner we meet up with the rest of the team for our welcome dinner. back to top

Mount Mustagata Climb - International Members Application

What questions do you have? Please ask as many questions as possible. This helps us to have a proper conversation so we can better understand one-another's expectations, so you will have a very safe, enjoyable, and successful expedition. Thank you. Before completing the application forms, please be sure to carefully study the Mustagata "Questions" website for information regarding flights, payment, team members, application forms, insurance, etcetera: Mustagata Frequently Asked Questions.

Below you should find a pdf or MS document containing the application pro forma. Are you able to read it? When all of your questions have been answered to your satisfaction, please print out the application and return it to us with your refundable ten-percent deposit, to hold your place in our team. Would you please just post it to us at the mailing address you will find on the form? Thank you very much. If you decide not to go, your deposit will be refunded according to our refund policy. Your registration and the final payment must be completed two months prior to the expedition starting date. Thank you very much.

Click here to download the PDF Form for International Applicants

 
 

If you do not have an Adobe PDF reader, please obtain it here

Here is a checklist of what we need to have in your file at least two months before the trip begins. We encourage you to send an electronic scan of all of the below documents, please be sure they are signed. Thank you:

[ ] Completed Payment. Please restate payments you made and what those payments were for, ie full vs basic, sherpas, rental equipment, etc.
[ ] Make your Sherpa order (if any) crystal clear at this time, personal sherpa, quarter sherpa, payment, etc.
[ ] Trip Registration Form (part of 4 page form),
[ ] Signed Participant Release and Acknowledgement of Risk (part of 4 page form),
[ ] Signed Terms and Conditions of Booking (part of 4 page form),
[ ] Signed Medical Form (part of 4 page form),
[ ] 1 Passport sized photo, which is a simple, very clear picture of your face, sent as an email scan. (We simply require a picture of your face against a white background. You can take it yourself for free with your own digital camera or smart phone),
[ ] Exact photocopy of passport identification pages,
[ ] Exact photocopy of complete flight itinerary,
[ ] Proof of mountain rescue and repatriation insurance,
[ ] Proof of travel, accident, and repatriation insurance (cancellation and trip interruption insurance is advised).

Please do let us know what further questions you may have about the registration process, or anything else for that matter. Thank you.
Welcome to our team.

Mount Mustagata Expedition Climb - US Members Application

What questions do you have? Please ask as many questions as possible. This helps us to have a proper conversation so we can better understand one-another's expectations, so you will have a very safe, enjoyable, and successful expedition. Thank you. Before completing the application forms, please be sure to carefully study the Mustagata "Questions" website for information regarding flights, payment, team members, application forms, insurance, etcetera: Mustagata Frequently Asked Questions.

Below you should find a pdf or MS document containing the application pro forma. Are you able to read it? When all of your questions have been answered to your satisfaction, please print out the application and return it to us with your refundable ten-percent deposit, to hold your place in our team. Would you please just post it to us at the mailing address you will find on the form? Thank you very much. If you decide not to go, your deposit will be refunded according to our refund policy. Your registration and the final payment must be completed two months prior to the expedition starting date. Thank you very much.

Click here to download the PDF Form for US Applicants

 
 

If you do not have an Adobe PDF reader, please obtain it here

Here is a checklist of what we need to have in your file at least two months before the trip begins. We encourage you to send an electronic scan of all of the below documents, please be sure they are signed. Thank you:

[ ] Completed Payment. Please restate payments you made and what those payments were for, ie full vs basic, sherpas, rental equipment, etc.
[ ] Make your Sherpa order (if any) crystal clear at this time, personal sherpa, quarter sherpa, payment, etc.
[ ] Trip Registration Form (part of 4 page form),
[ ] Signed Participant Release and Acknowledgement of Risk (part of 4 page form),
[ ] Signed Terms and Conditions of Booking (part of 4 page form),
[ ] Signed Medical Form (part of 4 page form),
[ ] 1 Passport sized photo, which is a simple, very clear picture of your face, sent as an email scan. (We simply require a picture of your face against a white background. You can take it yourself for free with your own digital camera or smart phone),
[ ] Exact photocopy of passport identification pages,
[ ] Exact photocopy of complete flight itinerary,
[ ] Proof of mountain rescue and repatriation insurance,
[ ] Proof of travel, accident, and repatriation insurance (cancellation and trip interruption insurance is advised).

Please do let us know what further questions you may have about the registration process, or anything else for that matter. Thank you.

Welcome to our team.

What our clients say?

  • "The leader's personality, experience and competence were a key component to the success of this expedition. The logistics and service were good, with a pleasant staff always ready to help and do their best to make our trip run smoothly. We enjoyed the group of international members that came on the expedition and everybody was very respectful with a good sense of humour. SummitClimb provided fast and effective responses by email before the trip, helping us to be well prepared and reassured."

  • Here is what Kristine from Pennsylvania says:

    "Mustagata was a blast. The expedition leader was great, as he knows the language and the culture well.  I loved that we took a different route than the other trips."

  • Here is what Arun from California says:

    "The Summitclimb leadership was excellent on the trip, with the leader acting as a mentor to many of the team members. They worked tirelessly to make this trip as perfect as possible for all of us. The Chinese staff were kind and caring, taking good care of us at BC and on the mountain. The organizers in Kashgar were outstanding and extremely efficient. I hope to join SummitClimb on future adventures."

  • Here is what summiter Gary from New Mexico says:

    "Mustagata is an excellent exposure to very high altitude without requiring excessive commitment or extensive technical climbing skills. It makes for a great test before trying something higher. It's also a chance to see really interesting people and cultures that you wouldn't experience on a Himalayan climb in the "typical" areas of Nepal or Tibet. Finally, it's a chance for some great snowshoeing/raquetting, snowboarding and skiing in an amazing location.

    The Tibetan sherpas were really great. I've climbed before with Nepalese sherpas, and these Tibetan guys were certainly their equal when it came to their strength, work ethic, and all around helpfulness. They genuinely seemed to have a good time, with infectious smiles. I'd climb again with them any time."

  • Here is what summiter Urs from Switzerland had to say:

     

    "Overall it was a great experience. Technically it was very easy. For competent off-piste mountain skiiers and snowboarders, I would recommend skis or split board over raquettes/snow shoes, as the way down is very breathtaking.

     

    The challenge of Mustagata is certainly the altitude, rather than the technicality of the terrain. It's more challenging than easy two day or week-long climbs like Island Peak or Kilimanjaro."