Program of ascention to Muztagh-Ata Peak 7546 m
In the recent years Muztagh Ata (7546 m) is becoming more and more popular peak among both local and foreign alpinists due to the uniqueness of the region, its accessibility, relatively low expedition costs and availability of voluminous information on it.
The eastern boundary of the Pamir uplands - the Kunlun Mountains - is a giant ice barrier, which separates the Pamirs from the greatest desert of Central Asia - Taklamakan. Here the Pamir uplands step forth to the east and, thus, this vast eastern “bridgehead” of the “Roof of the world” is restricted by the Kunlun Mountains’ range from the north-east and by Muztagh Ata from the east. The ranges of Muztagh Ata and Kunlun contain three highest peaks of the Pamirs - Kongur Tagh (Kongur-1), which is 7719 m high, Kongur Tube Tagh (Kongur-2), which is 7595 m high and Muztagh Ata (7546 m).
The Muztagh Ata Peak (translated from Turkish it means the “Father of Ice Mountain”) is situated at the territory of north-west China. The western mountainside gently slopes down and turns into a flat plain - Subashi “glade”, which is crossed from north to south by the famous Karakoram highway (Kashgar-Tashkurgan-Gilgit). The glaciers of Muztagh Ata are no more than 10 km away from the road.
The first ascension to Muztagh Ata was performed in 1956 and the route was passing along the southernmost of its western ridges. That time joint Soviet-Chinese expedition under the direction of Beletskiy E. A. and Kuzmin K. K. was working here. 31 alpinists climbed the peak then (19 Russian and 12 Chinese).
In the centre of the western mountainside of the peak there is a giant hollow. Ice falls into the hollow and, thus, it “feeds” the Qortomak glacier, which is streaming down. Therefore, to the left and to the right of the hollow there are two “classic” routes to the peak: Northern and Southern ones. At the moment the south slope route is the most safe and popular. The route of ascension is not technically difficult; however, such critical factors as unpredictable weather and a long time you have to stay on high altitude are of great importance for success or failure of your expedition. In order to achieve your goal except good physical conditions and necessary mountaineering equipment you must ensure correct acclimatization. At present Muztagh Ata region is visited by more than 600 climbers annually, and many of them consider this peak as the excellent skiing destination.
So, you’ve decided that your aim is the Muztagh Ata peak! In this case you have to choose where you are to start your journey from: either Bishkek or Urumqi. The city closest to the Base Camp of Muztag-Ata is Kashgar. You can get to Kashgar from the above-mentioned cities either by land or air transport in two days through the Torugart Pass or the airport of Kashgar respectively. For many centuries Kashgar as a magnet have been attracting adventure-seekers from all over the world. Thousands of caravans and expeditions were passing through this city; it was an ancient gate to Central Asia and Tibet, China and India. Some of those who were passing through Kashgar remembered it for the lifetime, and others, being charmed by the place, stayed here forever. And you will be just one of those who decided to cross this land to get to the Base Camp under Muztagh Ata peak.
Program of the tour for the ascent to the Muztagh-Ata Peak:
Day 1. Bishkek - Balykchy - Naryn.
Arrival to Bishkek. Meeting at the airport. During your first travel day you will accomplish a transfer along the Bishkek - Balykchy - Naryn route. This part of the road passes by picturesque mountain landscapes, through beyond-the-clouds passes, along fast-flowing rivers and amazingly beautiful Kyrgyz lake Issyk-Kul. Upon arrival to Naryn you will be accommodated in a guest house or a yurt camp.
Day 2. Naryn - Torugart - Kashgar.
Today Naryn - Torugart (Kyrgyz-Chinese border, 3752 m) transfer is planned for you early in the morning. The road passes through the At-Bashi valley, where quite often part of the landscape is the flocks of yaks. Besides, you way is passing along the scenic lake Chatyr-Kul (3500 m) and the mineral spring famous with its medicinal characteristics.
Transition to China via Kyrgyz-Chinese border point Torugart. Customs procedures. Transfer to Kashgar. Hotel 3* check-in.
Day 3. Kashgar - Subashi.
Today active rest lovers and extreme seekers will be transferred from Kashgarа to Subashi village along the Karakoram highway (approx. 200 km, 5 hrs.). Despite a long transfer time you won’t be bored as there are a lot of things to look at: the route is quite beautiful as it passes through the narrow picturesque gorge of the Gez river. In a while we will cross a conditional border where Kunlun and Pamir mountain systems are said to join.
Certainly, you will have meal while on the way. For lunch you will taste perfect Uyghur laghman and excellent “tandyr kabob” (which is shashlyk cooked in a closed national-type clay oven). Upon arrival to Subashi you will be accommodated in either tents or yurts. Food: full boarding.
Day 4. Subashi (3600 m) - Muztagh Ata Base Camp (4450 m).
After early breakfast we head to Muztagh Ata Base Camp. Don’t worry that you have a lot of luggage of a considerable weight as you don’t have to transport it by yourself. At our starting point in Subashi you will be provided with camels to carry the luggage. So, don’t forget to take a picture of our “caravan” and then move forward. Passage from Subashi to the Base Camp with take approx. 4 hrs. The most suitable shoes for this part of the route are running shoes or light hiking boots as the route is quite simple and do not require any special physical preparation. In 4 hours we will see Muztagh Ata Base Camp at last.
Base Camp is located on a quite wide picturesque glade under the moraine terrace not far from the starting point of the ascension route. In Muztagh Ata Base Camp you are guaranteed to have three hot meals a day. Also there are shower tent and field-type toilets there. The territory of the Base Camp has mobile phone network coverage, thus you will be able to connect to the world. However, there is no internet connection. Connection between upper Camps and the Base Camp is carried out using walkie-talkies. The only thing you must remember - there is no possibility to rent either walkie-talkies, or gas-tanks and whatever else equipment you need in the Base Camp. Therefore, all issues concerning the rent of equipment and gas-tanks purchase have to be discussed and settled down beforehand, during the correspondence process.
Day 5. Muztagh Ata Base Camp.
Rest day in Muztagh Ata Base Camp. Today you will be able to take a look at the location and acclimatize. We advice you to spent this day actively. For better acclimatization, acquaintance with the locals and their life style and possible purchase of quite tasty yak milk we advice you to go down to a small village seen from the Base Camp.
Day 6. Muztagh Ata Base Camp. Today we continue our acclimatization walks around Muztagh Ata Base Camp. Those who go in for bouldering will have a great opportunity to train as there are many boulders around the Base Camp.
Day 7. Muztagh Ata Base Camp (4450 m) - Camp 1 (5350 m). After some rest and passive acclimatization we are ready to ascent to Camp 3. In order to accomplish the ascent to the peak we have to use the system of 3 high-altitude camps. So, let’s start! Today you will ascent from Muztagh Ata Base Camp (4450 m) to Camp 1 (5350 m). There is a good trail along the ridge of the rocky mountainside to ascent. Usually there is no snow at the mountainside (up to 5000 m), thus, it is possible to wear trekking shoes for this part of the route. Camp 1 is situated in a snowy zone open to winds, therefore, it would be better to dig the tents around and to put a snow wall around as well. It will prevent your tent from being damaged or blown away. Overnight in Camp 1 for better acclimatization.
Day 8. Camp 1 - Base Camp. Descent from Camp 1 (5350 m) back to the Base Camp (4450 m).
Day 9. Base Camp - Camp 1. Along the familiar path we ascent from the Base Camp (4450 m) to Camp 1 (5350 m). Overnight in Camp 1.
Day 10. Camp 1 (5200 m) - Camp 2 (6200 m).
Today we are in for the ascent from Camp 1 (5200 m) to Camp 2 (6200 m). Distinctive feature of this part of the route is walking through the icefall. There are many visible and invisible crevasses in the icefall. They are usually well marked, but early in the season and after a fresh snow fall, be very careful. Sometimes there are quite steep snow and ice walls along the trail. We recommend you to take ascenders, snowshoes and crampons. Picturesque views of the valley and the Karakoram highway won’t leave anyone indifferent.
Day 11. Camp 2 (6200 m) - Camp 3 (6800 m).
Ascent from Camp 2 (6200 m) to Camp 3 (6800 m). This part is a wide snow and ice ridge. In the beginning of the route there are some hidden crevasses. General direction of our passage is to the north-east. Here it is better not to deviate to the left of the ridge as it can be dangerous.
Day 12. Camp 3 (6800 m) - Base Camp (4450 m). Descent from Camp 3 (6800 m) to the Base Camp (4450 m).
Day 13. Base Camp.
This is a rest day. Today you can visit ancient city of Tashkurgan for a city-tour. It is a beautiful and colorful place. The city has got more than 3 thousand year long history. Distance from Muztagh Ata Base Camp to Tashkurgan is about 90 km. Another 10 km forward and you are in the valley of the hot mineral springs, where you can enjoy bathing in a natural “Jacuzzi”. This pleasure will cost you 80$ per person (for the group of no less than 4 people).
Day 14. Base Camp - Camp 1. Ascent from Base Camp (4450 m) to Camp 1 (5350 m).
Day 15. Camp 1 - Camp 2. Ascent from Camp 1 (5350 m) to Camp 2 (6200 m).
Day 16. Camp 2 - Camp 3. Ascent from Camp 2 (6200 m) to Camp 3 (6800 m).
Day 17. Camp 3 (6800 m) - The Peak Muztagh Ata (7546 m) - Camp 2 (6200 m).
Today you are about to accomplish the ascent to the peak, that is to reach the ultimate goal of you coming to Muztagh Ata!
So, we have an early morning today as the peak is waiting for us! We start at 5-6 in the morning. The ascent to the peak is done through a wide and gentle snowy ridge. Here you will feel the altitude. And it’s a real luck that we didn’t forget to take with us our snowshoes and skis! And finally, here it is - the Peak! Hurrah! The entire Kunlun is at your feet!
The highest point - Muztagh Ata peak is a small “island” of black rocks; behind it steep slopes gradually go down to the north, towards the Koksel glacier. Useful hint: if there is bad weather and low visibility don’t risk without a need. In the end good alpinist is alive one! Anyway, you can reach the peak on the other day.
Overnight in Camp 2.
Days 18-19. Camp 2 - Base Camp. Descent from Camp 2 (6200 m) to Base Camp (4450 m).
Day 20. Reserve day. Reserve day for bad weather.
Day 21. Base Camp - Subashi - Kashgar.
In the morning our drovers will organize you a camelcade, we’ll put the luggage onto the camels and start hiking with no luggage to Subashi enjoying wonderful surrounding views. In Subashi the transport is waiting for us to transfer us back to civilization towards evening. Then we’ll proceed to Kashgar, where we are accommodated at a cozy hotel.
Overnight at a hotel 3* in Kashgar.
Day 22. Kashgar. City-tour.
Kashgar city tour includes visiting Kashgar bazaar and historical attractions. In addition to its convenient location at the crossroad of the Central Asian routes, Kashgar is interesting by itself as an ancient city of the Great Silk Road with a 2-thousand year history. The central part of Kashgar is occupied by the old city without any slightest suggestion of a regular city planning, which is full of narrow twisted street, numerous squares used as bazaars, brick or wattle and daub houses, and such dark and narrow back streets that only God knows where they lead to. Here you will see the Id Kah Mosque, which is the heart of the city. Built in 1442 it is the largest in China. But don’t try to see something huge and high as from the first glance the dimensions of the mosque are not really astonishing. Well, there has never been a tradition to built mosques and minarets in Xinjiang. However, it is said that this mosque is of a great capacity: about 10 thousand people can get in at a time.
Another prove of Kashgar’s antiquity is the remains of an ancient daub wall, which surrounded the city long ago. Its height is approximately 9 meters. Long ago one can get into the city only through a couple of gates made in the wall - River and Sand Gates (Suv-darvaza and Kum-darvaza respectively). Nowadays only the names of the streets remind of them.
It is considered that for many centuries the role of Kashgar was the same - the city existing at the crossroad of civilizations and adsorbing their numerous influences from the day of its foundation was a huge bazaar where one could buy, sell or exchange whatever he/she had. In fact, the city has deserved its status. Overnight at a hotel 3* in Kashgar.
Day 23. Kashgar - Torugart - Naryn. After breakfast you will be transferred to the Torugart pass - the Chinese-Kyrgyz border. After all formalities are accomplished we will continue further to Naryn. Accommodation in guest house or yurt camp.
Day 24. Naryn - Bishkek. Naryn - Bishkek. Hotel check-in in Bishkek.
Day 25. Bishkek. Departure.
That’s all. Tomorrow you won’t have to think about the upcoming ascent looking at the charming peak and pack in a fever under the wind chilling to the marrow. Tomorrow your usual weekdays are to begin. However, there will be a new feeling there, a feeling which is always taking you back to everything you’ve got through, seen and felt this summer…
The cost of the tour USD/per.:
-Bishkek - Bishkek: 2700 USD
-Kashgar - Kashgar: 2250 USD
The cost tour includes:
-Meeting/seeing off at the airport;
-All transfers according to the program;
-Arrangement of all needed documents including:
-Invitation letters and visa support;
- Registration in OVIR (Department of Visa and Registration);
- Ecological fees;
- Ascent permit;
-Accommodation in hotels and yurt camps according the program;
-Full-boarding in cities and in Base camp under Muztagh Ata peak;
-Porter’s service and pack animals (camels) for transportation equipment and luggage from Subashi to Muztagh Ata Base Camp and back;
-Attendant guide from company;
-Base Camp services (4350 m):
-Accommodation in tents for two or three seats;
- Full Board of meals treatment (3 times of hot meals);
- WC, store tent;
- Liaison officer in BC;
- Use of a long distance radio connection.
The cost tour does not include:
-Medical expenses and insurance;
-ICE fees (rescue team working, helicopter flights, medicines and medical service in Osh hospital, drawing of supporting documents, repatriation);
-Personal guide’s service during all period of active part - 4300 USD;
-Porter’s service - price is negotiated; approximate price:
BC - C1 - 4 USD / 1kg
C1 - C2 - 11 USD / 1kg
C2 - C3 - 21 USD / 1kg
-Rent of 1 high mountain tent Red Fox Comfort 3 - 130 USD + deposit 150 USD;
-Rent of 1 high mountain tent Red Fox Explorer - 150 USD + deposit 190 USD;
-Gas stove - 30 USD / 1 piece + 30 USD deposit;
-Gas can 230mm (propane-butane) with screwed connection - 9 USD /
-Rope Ø8÷10mm, 30 - 50m - 25 USD / 1 piece +25 USD deposit;
-Snowshoes (number is limited!) - 50 USD + 65 USD deposit;
-Ice axe - 20 USD / 1 piece +25 USD deposit;
-Tinware set - 30 USD / 1 set +30 USD deposit.
- Attention please! Ascent to the summit of Muztagh-Ata peak belongs to category of extreme kinds of activities! Each member completely responds for his decision of participation in this program, and he is responsible for all his actions and all possible consequences of his participation in this extreme program.
- «Pamir Expeditions» Company does not respond for actions of members as well as for consequences of their actions which took place out of territory of Base Camp.
- Before leaving of area boundaries of camps Base Camp each member for own safety purposes has to inform Commandant about destination of the route and planned time of being ther. Only under this condition rescue team is able to start searching of member promptly in case the member does not come to the point exposed by him at the time exposed by him.
- Insurance is an obligatory thing. It is needed for that unexpected accidental case, about which we usually try not to thing before departure. But the common sense should never leave our mind and take care of the insurance in order on the downhill you could feel really secured. Because, as you know, services of rescuers and transportation cost quite a lot. Insurance policy must be issued for a sum of 30.000 USD, not less. And you have to get it in your own country, before the expedition begins.
- In case member decides to finish his program earlier, then Company does not return him money for not used days in Base Camp, besides, member should pay additionally for transport from Base Camp to Bishkek as well as for accommodation and meal in cities.
- Program is going to be run only at gathering the group of not less then 10 members; if the group is not gathered then Company reserves the right to cancel the program or postpone dates of running.
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