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  Mustagh Ata 2005: SummitClimb Summits Mustagh Ata:   Mustagata Dispatch from member Kristine O'Brien


Update: Saturday, July 23:  Report from Kristine O'Brien.


We are back in Kashgar.


.     Mr. Dong treated the Mustagata team to a Uigher party last night.  There was much dancing, eating, drinking and partying well into the next morning. The local children particularly enjoyed Gary, Leo and Kristine's dancing. Gambay means, "dry glass".  We gladly participated in this local custom.


The whole of the remaining team summited.


On July 18, Jon, Urs, Ron, Leo, Matt, and Tenzing summited.   I had a headache at camp 2 so waited an extra day to go up.  I'm glad I did.  I felt really good at camp 3 and all the way to the summit.


On July 19 Kristine and Gary summitted--- in a white out so they didn't see anything.  Jon waited for us at camp 3, a bit worried when he saw the weather turn.   Gary was wishing he had skis all the way down.


For the skiers, the descent was challenging at first, due to the thin air, stopping to breath every few turns.  But as we continued down, and oxygen became more available, they were able to fly.  Powder to crust to supportable crust all the was down to just above base camp.  Wahoo!!!!   One of the best ski descents I ever experienced.  Not at all dangerous or difficult, amazing scenery from 24,751 feet to 16,400 feet.  And I used to think the Vallee Blanche in Chamonix was a long run.




Team Roster:

Matthew Philliskirk (UK)

Jaggi Urs Walter (SWITZERLAND)

Jonathan Sullivan (USA) - Guide

Ronald Lester (USA)

Gary Charles Kellund (USA)

Yuan, Wei (CHINA)

Tom Jorgensen (DENMARK)

Leonardo Rub (USA)

Kristine O'brien (USA)

Jon Otto (USA) - Leader


Norwegian Father/Son team:

Espen Bjertness

Marius Bergsmark Bjertness


Tibetan Climbing Staff:

Awang Larpu (Adin)

Dorje Kasang

Tenzing Seeching

Awang Denje



Cook Staff:

Dang, Xiaoqiang (head cook)






Background: MUSTAGATA

Often Spelled: "Muztagata, or Mustagh Ata, or Muztaghata, or Muztagh Ata or Muztag Ata" Located in China, near K2.

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 additional safety.

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 mountain.

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 Lake.

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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