This is Jon
Otto in Tashgeragan. I came down from basecamp today to send this dispatch
since our sat phone is not working. I go back up to basecamp first thing
tomorrow morning. We established camp 2 yesterday at 6180 meters. This new
route seems pretty straightforward so far. We will see what lies between camp
2 and camp 3. From camp 3 to the summit it pretty much follows the same line
as the traditional route.
while the Tibetan climbers were digging a platform for another tent at camp 1,
a huge hole opened up. They had dug down about 4 feet. I rappelled (abseiled)
into the crevasse to assess its dimensions. It shot across the slop but was a
distance from our tents. Never the less, we were all surprised to find a
crevasse so near our camp. All members are prepared to rope-up above camp 1,
which is where they are now.
from camp 1 to camp 2 follows the huge glacier that cuts the mountain in half
to the left and somewhat broken up ice fields to the right. This middle
section that we go up is very, very, wide and a constant low angle slope. I
find it quite impressive because you look over at the sheer ice and rock wall
that is cut into the mountain by the middle glacier.
Gary, Tom, Leo, and Kristine went to sleep at camp 1, and tomorrow they are
going to climb towards camp 2, then return to camp 1 for another night.
Matthew went up yesterday and Urs may be up there today or go tomorrow. All
members are feeling good and appear to be acclimatizing well. Jonathan and Wei
helped push the route to camp 2 yesterday. Their next time up the mountain
they plan to go for the summit. They got to basecamp several days before the
rest of the group and a jump on the acclimatization game. Let's hope the
weather holds. So far this year the weather has been pretty good. We generally
get a little snow and winds for a couple hours in the afternoon, then it
clears up and we get splendid sunsets. Today, there was almost no wind and
nearly no clouds. Climbing between camps in the snow required short sleeves.
Urs, and I are skiing. You can start skinning up at 5050 meters. The snow
conditions are pretty ideal all the way to camp 2. Those two are pretty good
skiers and I expect they will flash down from camp 2 in no time, all on
completely fresh powder. It is a sweet run.
Urs, who is
a pilot, is our radio (walkie-talkie) guru. The only problem is we are having
trouble keeping up with all the fancy lingo. Kristine and Gary are keeping the
rest of us entertained by talking about their families, movie blurbs, and
more. They are quite the comedy routine. I don't know what I am at liberty to
say and not so I will stop here. "My lips hurt real bad". Matthew, our
youngest climber, is also our pickiest eater, strong and silent. Ron has two
speeds - fast and fast. We are thinking of loading him up with extra gear. Tom
is enjoying basecamp amenities, and I believe he christened the shower tent. I
like learning about Denmark from him and about his job. Leo is always a
welcome smile and keeps us apprised of fascinating tidbits about the world.
staff has been fabulous, and we already have almost all the tents on the
mountain. Our head Tibetan climber, Adin, studied English for a year in New
Zealand and loves Reggie music, which keeps the rest of us entertained as
we eat in a Tashik style yurt. This is my first time where the eating tent is
a yurt, and I must say that it is quite the nice set-up, much preferred over
flapping nylon. The cook has been pumping out hearty meals and at times
interesting combos, such as French fries (chips) for breakfast. The French
toast (eggy bread) with syrup for breakfast has been a big hit.
dispatch we make will be around July 16. Hopefully we will be able to make
another sooner, but if not don't worry. Jonathan Sullivan's departing words.
"I feel strong like bull. I think we are ALL strong like bull." (Add accent
for ultimate effect).
all of us on Mustagata, Jon Otto
Sullivan (USA) - Guide
Charles Kellund (USA)
(USA) - Leader
Xiaoqiang (head cook)
Sullivan (USA) - Guide
Charles Kellund (USA)
(USA) - Leader
Xiaoqiang (head cook)
Often Spelled: "Muztagata, or
Mustagh Ata, or Muztaghata, or Muztagh Ata or Muztag Ata" Located in China,
1 July to 23 July , 23 days
in China in 2005, 2006, and 2007.
This is Jonathan Christian
Otto, the leader of Mt. Mustagata (7546 meters, 24,751 feet) this summer for
our SummitClimb expedition. I am in Lhasa right now helping put together our
Everest north expedition. The same strong Tibetan climbers we are using on
Everest we will use on Mustagata to carry equipment up the mountain and set-up
our camps. We hope you will be able to join our international team of men and
women. We have had a lot of success on Mustagata. I have climbed it five times
(4 summits), and our last expedition (July 2004) put 5 members and 2 Sherpas
on the summit..
This year we will place our
basecamp away from the crowd. The normal basecamp is crowded and soiled. At
our new basecamp there will be only a few teams at most (we may be the only
team) which makes for more sanitary conditions and will allow us to
concentrate fully on the climb. From here it is a slightly different route up
to camp 3 than from the normal basecamp. The conditions are very similar –
non-technical, low angle snow slope (10 to 20 degrees) with few crevasses.
Mustagata is a very high
mountain. It is a great way to test your ability to cope with high altitude in
a relatively short period of time.
July is the best time to
climb, as its not so snowy as in June and not so icy as in August. We travel
roped together and everyone on our team is either on snowshoes or skis for
Our fantastic cook staff has
much experience and has been with us for many years. They cook nutritious and
tasty meals and have a great attitude. They do a good job paying attention to
our health and hygiene so we can put our energies towards climbing the
We offer a full-service climb
or a basic climb option. For the full-service climb we supply all mountain
services: Permits, all equipment and food on the mountain (tents, stoves, gas,
ropes, etc.), Sherpa support, basecamp meals, medical supplies, and more. All
you have to bring is your personal climbing clothing, equipment and snack
food. For our basic climb we take care of your permits and get you and your
equipment to basecamp. Then it is up to you on how you wish to climb the
mountain. You will still get access to our detailed route information and
expertise throughout the climb.
Mustagata is part of the
Pamirs on the old Silk Road (present day Karakoram Highway) connecting Kashgar
in China to Islamabad, Pakistan. The local people are Khergiz and Tashiks. The
Khergiz are nomadic shepherds who live in yurts and graze their camels, yaks,
and sheep on the large grasslands around Mustagata, Mt. Gongar, and Karakul
Getting to the mountain is
convenient and you have several options.
1. Fly into China
(Beijing, Shanghai, or Honk Kong) and then take the plane
or train to Kashgar. We will
meet in Kasgar and go to the mountain together.
2. Enter from Bishkek,
Kyrgyzstan overland via the Turugart pass. We will
meet you at the border and
take you to Kashgar.
3. Go overland from
Islamabad along the Karakarum highway and meet us at the mountain.
Most members fly into Kashgar
since this is the most convenient option. Jon Otto and Daniel Mazur
More About Mustagata Leader
Jonathan Christian Otto:
Jon has been on top of
Mustagata 4 times. Thrice by the normal ski-snowshoe route, and once via a
daring new route on the east ridge. He is an extremely experienced leader, a
real gentleman and a strong climber. Jon’s specialty is China and Tibet,
including all of the Himalaya therein. He currently lives in Sichuan, China,
speaks proficient Mandarin, and is a major player in the development of
climbing in China. Jon personally knows and works with all governmental
mountaineering agencies in China and Tibet. He has traveled the length and
breadth of China and Tibet, including many remote and border areas.
His organizational skills are
superb, and he has developed extensive contacts throughout Asia. Jon is a
partner in Arête Alpine Instruction Center, a burgeoning climbing school in
Chengdu which was started to address the needs of the rapidly growing climbing
community in China.
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