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Muztagh Ata (7546m) is the second summit of Tian-Shan according to the altitude and situated in Kun-Lun range on the territory of Xinjiang province in China. In local languages “Muztagh Ata” means Ice Mountain’s Father. The huge snow mountain-mass raised above the Karakul Lake attracts the mountaineers of the whole world. The climbing way on the top is not difficult technically with the slopes of 25-30 degrees steepness though demands a high physical level of the alpinists. It gives good possibilities to ascent to the top. Muztagh Ata is one of the perfect mountains for skiing after ascent. First tries to climb up Muztagh-Ata were made in 1894 by Swedish geographer Sven Hedin from the West. In two his attempts he reached the same altitude of 6300m.
In 1947 famous British climbers E. Shipton and H. Tillman together with sirdar Gyalzen Sherpa could arrive to the summit dome at some 7000m. The first historic ascent of the Muztagh-Ata summit had been realized in 1956 by Soviet-China expedition led by Eugene Beletsky following the route outlined by Hedin. The way is not difficult technically and good for not very competent mountaineers. But because of high altitudes above the sea level all along the route participants should be well prepared physically.
Islamabad International Airport
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Arrive at Islamabad and transfer to Hotel.
7 hrs drive on Karakorum Highway to Bisham. Overnight at Bisham
9 hrs drive to Gilgit. Overnight at Gilgit.
Drive to Hunza from where cross Ataabad Lake and further drive to Sust and overnight Stay at Sust.
Cross the Chinese border. Overnight at Tashkurgone.
Lake Karakol takes 5-6 hrs goes through a breathtaking scenery of high mountain pastures and snow-capped peaks.
A short drive takes us to Subash Village where we meet our camels and start walking to the base camp with the camels carrying the team’s equipment, we trek over a level plane and then climb steadily through barren hills to base camp, which is approximately a 4 hrs walk. Drifts of alpine flowers clothe the slopes as base camp is approached and screeching marmots call a welcome!
Base camp is at an altitude of approximately 4,350m (14,500ft) so time is needed for adaptation to the altitude. This grassy site is tucked in between a moraine and the foot of the steeper slopes of the mountain – A great place to relax now, and recover later. This is the time to enjoy some excellent fresh food from the flaming woks of the base camp staff. The team splits up into two groups; skiers and those on foot. All equipment and food receives final checks and each group prepares loads for carrying up the mountain.
We use three camps above base camp. The first camp is likely to be close to the snow line. In this case we will use pack animals to transport all expedition supplies to Camp 1. Above this point all team members will need to participate in load carrying between camps. In addition to putting the necessary supplies in place, this also provides essential acclimatization and fitness for the summit attempt. Camp 1 is at about 5,350m: a steep, stony ascent from BC and right on the edge of the glaciers that blanket the upper 2,000m of the mountain.From camp 1, the route is a steady ascent up a snowy and sometimes icy slope, through an area of crevasses and then negotiating a small ‘valley’ in the glacier; this is the steepest part of the whole route. . Above the ‘valley’, a long and unrelenting ascent leads up to the site of camp 2, a small shelf in the glacier at about 6,100m. There will probably be 2 or 3 ascents to camp 2, carrying loads for this camp and the one above. This is great for acclimatization and great for the skiers as there is an 800m run back to camp 1 with an empty sac.It is possible to fix a camp virtually anywhere on the upper part of the mountain. The choice of where to site camps will be made by the leaders taking into account prevailing conditions and the activities of other parties on the mountain. In recent years, the next camp has been placed at 6,450m, Camp 2 and a half. Alternatively, teams may use a camp 3 at 6,800m. Issues such as; acclimatization, load carrying, snow conditions, sleeping comfort and average group speed will be taken into consideration when deciding what approach to use.The route to the summit is straightforward; from 6,800m-7,400m a long, gradual slope slowly eases becoming gentler and gentler. Finally, with the ground appearing almost level, the small rise to the summit rocks appears.
Return to Base camp and back to Karakul Lake.
Return to Kashgar
KASHGAR – ISLAMABAD