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  SUMMITCLIMB MT. MUSTAGATA INTERNATIONAL EXPEDITION 2006: Three Voice dispatches


Click on the above picture for a full sized version

Dispatch 7, 8 and 9:  Dispatch 7 (click here),  Dispatch 8 (click here), 

Dispatch 9 (click here)

Dispatch Index

 

Dispatch 6: There is no lack of excitement on Mustagata this year between the  ultra-warm weather and skirmishes amongst the Kerghiz. The Pamirs got  little snow this year and the lack of melt-off is causing a shortage  of water in the rivers for irrigation in parts of central Asia. What  does this mean for the mountain… many crevasses. There are scores of  open slots between camp 1 and camp 2. I have never seen conditions  like this before and I have been on the mountain 7 times, the first  tem in 1991.

The several days of ultra-warm weather we experienced this week made  conditions just above camp 1 more dangerous than in previous years.  The snow was very soft and the snow bridges weak. We put 360M of fixed  line right out of camp 1 and will be looking to fix more line during  the next few days. This is easily the most technically challenging  part of the climb. We finally found a safe route around all the  crevasses by end-running all of them except one. Since this crevasse  is shallow we simply filled it in with snow, all the way up to its  rim, to make a solid snow bridge about one meter wide across its flank.

 

It is common to hire the local herdsmen to help carry equipment from  BC to C1 and they make a good amount of money for the work. The two  ethnic herds people in the area are Tajik and Kerghiz. A couple days  into the climb we hired the Tajik to carry loads (since they were  hanging around our camp). Once all the negotiations were completed  several Kerghiz showed up. There was this one boisterous Kerghiz  teenager, who I quite like, that had his own sense of fairness. He  insisted on the Kerghiz carrying half the loads. But we had already  promised the Tajik and they headed up the hill towards C1. The Kerghiz  chased them down, threatening a fight. No fists were flung but a long,  strung out negotiation ensued. As always, a solution was reached.

 

The following day, the Kerghiz were at our camp in numbers. The few  remaining loads we had ready were not enough to go around and a fight  started as to whom would get the work. The solution reached - two  people carrying one bag in rotation.

 

Above the 6000M line, the snow quality improved greatly. That altitude  is too high for any great melting to go on. On July 11 Lopsang and I  went 2/3 the way to C3 and then descended to BC. The following evening  the weather changed. We had been having such wonderfully sunny days  since then, two wonderful, that it was about time for change. However,  the change was fierce. Winds up to 100 mph (160 kph), we guess, ripped  through C1. One tent almost went over the edge (a 500M drop) to the  glacier below, and 3 tents were slightly damaged. Once the winds  settled, the snow started. It snowed all day and the temperatures  dropped as many members climbed from C1 to C2.

 

This morning it cleared. There are still some winds and it is  noticeably colder, which is good, since this makes the mountain safer  and the fresh snows have made the skiing bliss. Several members skied  down from C2 today and said the conditions were heaven. So, it seems  the storm may have been a blessing in disguise. I can’t wait to get up  the hill again on my new Ethics. Most members are now in C1 or C2  doing their last acclimatization climb before the summit push. The  climb is on schedule.

 

ABOUT MUSTAGATA (7546 M / 24,750 Ft)  

Mt. Mustagata is an impressive and elegant peak in the Pamirs of Xinjiang Province, China. The mountain has gained popularity given that for such a high mountain it is safe, has become known as the easiest 7500 metre peak in the world, and the alpine skiing is exquisite. Climbing Mustagata is a great way to test your ability to cope with high altitude in a relatively short period of time. Most climb it in snowshoes or ski the mountain. Many more people have the ability to climb Mustagata than they think. For such a high mountain, it is very safe.

Mustagata is along the old Silk Road (present day Karakoram Highway) connecting Kashgar in China to Islamabad, Pakistan. The local people near the mountain are Khergiz and Tashiks. The Khergiz are nomadic shepherds who live in yurts and graze their camels, yaks, and sheep on the large grasslands around Mustagata, Mt. Gongar, and Karakul Lake.

Most teams climb Mustagata via what has become known as the traditional route. During the summer of 2005 SummitClimb.com climbed the mountain via the Tashgergan route (‘Tash’ route for short). The main reason for the change was that the traditional basecamp had become overcrowded, excessively dirty, and unsanitary. The ‘Tash’ route parallels the traditional route. It is similar to the traditional route in length, slope angle, and difficulty.  From the snowline to the summit, you can snowshoe or skin-up the entire mountain on skis. The ‘Tash’ route is actually better for skiing.

 TEAM ROSTER:

Jonathan Christian Otto (Leader)

Philip James Crampton (Assistant Leader)

Ben John Stephenson (UK)

Rhys Cameron Roberts (USA)

Huang, Chongzhi (China)

Rolf Vetter (Switzerland)

Nathalie Virag (Switzerland)

Charles Clinton Estes (USA)

Roger Graham Crawford (Austrailia)

Nigel Alan Campbell (UK)

Barbara Dwyer Brebrick (USA)

Alan Michael Burke (USA)

Ting, Wunchi (China)

Cristian Vincent Coban (USA)

Yann Le Du (France)

Fan, Qin (China)

David Filet (France)

Bradley Graham Jackson (Australia)

Sandy Mariko Hoby (New Zealand)

Hanne Rasmussen (Denmark)

Santis Limesz (Latvia)

Bruno P. P. J. De Bueger (Belgium)

De Bueger Thomas E. J. P. (Belgium)

Eric Thauvin (France)

Soudjatta Somaya (France)

High Altitude Climbing Staff:

Penba Dunzhu (Tibet)

Chomba (Tibet)

Tserin Danda (Tibet)

Lobsang (Tibet)

Phubu Tserin (Tibet)

Tashi Namgel (Tibet)

Nima Erjia (China)

Su, Rongqin (China)

Kitchen Staff:

Dang, Xiaoqiang

Bai, Chunxi

Zhang, Jiaying

Ge, Xiaohua

Wang, Xinzhou

Li, Xiaohua

 

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