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 Adventure Consultants Mustagh Ata 2001 Expedition

WESTERN CHINA Mustagh Ata 7545 meters (Updates are below)

We begin the trip to Muztagh Ata in Islamabad and travel towards the border to Tibet through Pakistan’s high country.

Colourful lifestyles are encountered as we acclimatize along the way. We visit the town of Gilgit - site of the inception of the game of Polo which is still played as it was hundreds of years ago. From here we cross the Himalayan chain by driving over the Kunjerab Pass into Tibet to begin our ascent.

The massif of Muztagh Ata lies on the high plateau in western China where nomadic herders live and tend their roving flocks. A two day trek into the base camp sets us up for the climb and allows us to experience the diversity of the landscape and it’s people.

The climb is very straightforward technically and suitable for skiers who want to combine skiing with a trip to high altitude in the Himalayas. Alternatively Muztagh Ata is a superb place to discover the world of high altitude climbing. With the summit reaching 7545m, this expedition is excellent preparation for an 8000 meter peak climb.

Guy Cotter

Update: Expedition Leader: Mike Roberts - New Zealand

High altitude porter: Gulam Hassan

Team members:  Leo Rub, USA / Peru
                          Takao Arayama, Japan
                          Rommy Codecasa, Italy

Expedition update from Kashgar.

Sunday 12 August: Today we visited the famous Sunday Market which impressed everyone at it's shear size and the variety of goods on offer. Let me recap events as they unfolded on Muztagh Ata during the past week or so.

Rommy, Takao, Hassan and I started the month of August with a couple of days rest and recharge at base camp. On August 3rd we began the journey to the upper mountain with the intention of pushing for the summit. We spent three days at Camp 2 and during this time set up the tents and carried provisions for Camp 3. On August 6th, just below Camp 3 (6750m), Rommy decided that this would be his high point, as he was feeling the effects of altitude and was not comfortable to go higher. Rommy and Hassan then descended to Base Camp.

On August 7th, a perfect day, Takao and Mike climbed up to Camp 3 with the plan to make a summit bid the following day. We awoke to strong southerly winds and intermittent snow showers. A clearance during the late morning nearly tempted us to make a late day summit attempt but we decided to wait until the following day, hoping for a full clearance in the weather. The ominous sound of falling snow and strong winds began early that evening and increased the following day. The decision was made to descend during the morning of August 9th. Conditions were  very cold and enroute to base camp the mountain was cleared of all tents and supplies. Hassan met us at Camp 1 and from that point Takao and Mike were greatly relieved to be free of some weight from their heavy packs.

August 10th was spent relishing the warmer temperatures and enjoying  good food  while we packed our equipment and prepared to begin our trek out early August 11. During this day of packing at Base Camp and on the day of departure the upper mountain continued to be affected by strong winds and periods of snow showers. While the success of climbing a mountain is conventionally measured by summit attainment it is simply not possible to "bag the top" every time. Indeed, this knowledge is where part of the challenge comes from. A journey to Muztagh Ata and far Western China is a rewarding life experience in many ways no matter what. 

On our arrival in Kashgar we reunited with Leo who had enjoyed a 10 day holiday here. Over the next three days we will retrace our steps over the majestic Karakoram Highway to Pakistan.  Best Wishes Mike Roberts - Expedition Leader

Update: Adventure Consultants Muztagh Ata 2001 Expedition

15 July to 17 August 2001

Expedition Leader: Mike Roberts - New Zealand

High altitude porter: Gulam Hassan

Team members:  Leo Rub, USA / Peru
                          Takao Arayama, Japan
                          Rommy Codecasa, Italy

Initially we spent 4 days at Base Camp and established Camp 1 with the aid of porters and donkeys. On July 27 we trekked to Camp 1 (5450m) where we stayed for the next 5 days. Over this period the group (Leo, Rommy, Takao, Hassan and Mike) did three excursions towards Camp 2, caching food and equipment progressively higher up the mountain. Conditions in the icefall this season are firm and involved the use of crampons and ice axe. Consequently Mike and Rommy experienced some very hardpack "crunchy" skiing conditions while the remainder of the group opted for crampons rather than snowshoes. July 30th was an enforced rest day due to a storm which brought 50cm new snow to Camp 1 and a very chilly wind.

Today, August 1st, is the first completely clear day we have had. The weather has been quite disturbed and unpredictable so far. This morning Leo, Rommy, Takao and Mike dropped down to the comparatively thick air and warm temperatures of Base Camp(4450m) - not to mention the greatly improved quality of food! Last seen Rommy was having a "bath" outdoors, Takao was snoozing in the sun, and Leo was contemplating his early morning departure to Kashgar. Meanwhile Hassan has elected to stay on the upper mountain and establish C2 - good on him!

Mike, Takao and Rommy will depart Base Camp for a summit attempt on August 2nd or 3rd. Rommy has opted to exchange skis for snowshoes, as has Mike.

My next update will be from Kashgar on August 11/12. Love and thoughts go out to all family and friends.

Mike Roberts - Expedition Leader

The Adventure Consultants Muztagh Ata 1998 climb was tragic. This is a HIGH risk sport. 

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