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  SummitClimb Mustagata 2004


mustagh ata.JPG (15667 bytes)

Dear EverestNews.com. I hope you are well. Thanks for giving all of us at SummitClimb.com this opportunity to add to the story about climbing and skiing in the Himalaya on 7546 metre Mustagata. Bringing these dispatches to you is a good example of the teamwork that goes on here at SummitClimb.com: 

Jon Otto is out there leading the trip. He is a very strong climber, organized leader, and nice guy, and has made four previous ascents of Mustagata, including a bold new route on the east ridge in 2000. Jon has a degree in physics and speaks fluent Mandarin. He lives in China 50% of the year, and his connections with the mountaineering authorities and all elements of the tourism infrastructure are superb.

The dispatches are being left as voice mails on our Qwest answering system by Jon, who is using an Iridium satphone provided by Vickee Staehler at MVS Satphones.

Mike O'Brien is transcribing these. Mike climbed Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya, and Cho Oyu with us. He is a strong climber, and a good writer with a degree in international relations.

We hope that the team up of Jon - voice-mailing the dispatches, and Mike -writing them, will make for exciting reading for your viewers and bring us many new team members for our Mustagata 2005 and 2006 expeditions, visible at: http://cybernet1.com/himalaya/mustagh_ata.htm

Last of all, this dispatch is being brought to you by Sterling Rope, since 1992, keeping us safe and out of crevasses as we travel across the glaciers of the world's easiest 7500 metre peak: Mustagata, also known as Mustagh-Ata, or Muztagata. Thanks again for ALL you have done, Your Sincerely, from Daniel Mazur, expedition team leader, seven 8000 metre peaks including Everest and K2, and

THANKS from all of us at SummitClimb.com 

ps. Please remember that climbing Mustagata could qualify you for our 2005 Everest expedition: http://cybernet1.com/himalaya/everestnepal.htm  Our last expedition (May 2004) placed 9 members and 16 sherpas on the summit!

Dispatch #1, July 1: Kashgar, Xinjiang, China - 1300 m (4264 ft) The last "big-city".

  The entire team, except the father and son pair (the Wasleys), are assembled. The Wasleys should be arriving at any moment on a plane from Beijing. The weather here is very hot - in the 80s during the day - and it is also hot at night. It is great to be back in Kashgar, I haven't been here in almost 4 years. The changes here are noticeable, with wider streets being the most obvious one. We have an eclectic team of climbers, coming from Denmark, Singapore, China, and the United States. We also have 2 Tibetan "Sherpas" with us on the mountain, Awang Norbu, who  summited Everest in the spring, and also Pemba Tashi. This will be their first climb on Mustagata, but we have worked with them before, and we think that they are excellent leaders and very strong climbers. We are leaving tomorrow morning at 8am for Karakuli Lake, where we will spend the first two nights acclimatizing before proceeding on to basecamp. We just finished loading all the equipment into the truck, and soon we will be going out to dinner to get our last "big-city" meal before heading out tomorrow. That's it for now, Jon Otto, from SummitClimb.com  

Dispatch #2, July 3: Subashi - 3735 m (12250 ft) Acclimatization camp before basecamp  

Flood! This afternoon the banks of the nearby river exploded and a rush of water flowed through camp. We hastily moved tents and attempted to redirect the flow with shovels and stones and by constructing makeshift dams. This is the second time the tents have had to be moved, the first was in the middle of last night because there was constant heavy rain all night long. As the volume of the flooding river kept increasing and it threatened to overflow all of camp, we ended up hiring local Kirghiz people to dig like crazy. We successfully redirected the stream right before the entire camp flooded, and retired to a well deserved dinner. All in all, it was an action-packed afternoon. If I were a kid, the playing in mud with bare feet would've been paradise. The sudden increase in the river's height resulted from the previous night's heavy rain. This rain meant that snow fell high up on the mountain, which today's sun melted. All the small tributaries filled with water by the afternoon, and at the same time it rained in the upstream area, adding to the volume of water. We are now camped at Subashi, also known as 204 Camp, because it is 204 kilometers from Kashgar. Views of Mustagata are stunning! Yesterday we all piled into our 30 seat bus and rode the 6 hours to Subashi. Along the road we stopped at Wu-Per for the best home -made noodles (a local Uighur food) in Tien Shan. A few hours later, the cool, clean air at Karakuli Lake was a welcome reprieve from the desert heat of Kashgar, and the team was excited, as we were finally at the mountain. Most of the team had travelled many hours by train and plane from Beijing to our kickoff city of Kashgar. Kashgar is an ancient Muslim city that is developing quickly. The dominant local ethnicity is Uighur, a proud, friendly, and energetic people. It is great to be back after a 4 year absence. Our team is composed of members from 4 different countries. There is a group of 5 representing Mountain Madness, an expedition company based out of Seattle, USA. We have 4 climbers from Denmark. They will be trying a new way of tackling the mountain, staying in basecamp for one week to acclimatize, then heading for the summit in one push, alpine style. They will be on the same route as we are. Regarding their acclimatization method, there has been some preliminary research into this different approach, and we are all interested in seeing how they do. We also have a father and son from the US, 2 Chinese climbers from Shanghai, and a young Singaporean climber. Last, but not least, our 3 Tibetan "Sherpas" travelled all the way from Lhasa, Tibet. Tomorrow, will will be making the half-day walk to basecamp. Sincerely yours, Jon Otto, from SummitClimb.com

Dispatch #3, July 5: Basecamp 4430 m (14,530 ft)

  Hello from Basecamp! It is great skiing on the mountain today! The little bit of skiing I did below Camp 1 was addicting. I took a few turns to get used to skiing in plastic mountaineering boots, which have little ankle support, but my new Kneissl skis performed excellently. There is a lot of snow on the mountain this year 1 metre or more at Camp 1. On all our previous climbs of Mustagata the snow line started just above Camp 1, but this year you have to start skiing, or showshoeing, up about 3-400 meters below Camp 1, making the ski run from the summit 2500 vertical meters (8200 ft). I'm dreaming about what the snow conditions up higher may offer. Today we got 100 meters from setting up Camp 1. An approaching lightning storm necessitated caching the tents and other gear and beating it back to Basecamp. Everyone is acclimatizing well. Most of the team will be taking an acclimatization hike up to Camp 1 and stowing gear there. Other daily activities have included eating tons of food. Our cook has been putting so many plates of different tasty dishes on the table that we cant eat all of it. But, who's complaining, we love our cook! Also, we have been reviewing high-altitude medicine and sickness prevention, giving Gamow bag demonstrations, establishing radio protocol, and showing how to cook up high, using hanging stoves as demonstration. That's all for now, Jon Otto from SummitClimb.com

Dispatch #4, July 6

Here is a note to his family from William Wasley: Poopie: Bret and I are fine, start climb tomorrow, tell Alice all is well, hi to all. - Wm. Wasley ]

We took a rest day at Basecamp today, while some of the others went up to Camp 1 with loads to get a bit of acclimatization. Our 2 Tibetan sherpas, Awang and Pemba, are doing great and have been very helpful. It turns out that they were with us on Nojin Tangla way back in 2000, and they have gained a huge amount of experience since then. We have established Camp 1 today, with 2 tents up, and tomorrow we are going to go up and sleep at Camp 1, then the next day we will try to establish Camp 2. All for now, Jon Otto from SummitClimb.com

Dispatches

The Team

JONATHAN C. OTTO (Leader), USA

EDWARD MANNING CALLAHAN, JR. (guide), USA

ZHU JIN, CHINA (climbing team member)

DING YINGLU, CHINA (climbing team member)

KAH SHIN LEOW, SINGAPORE (climbing team member)

WILLIAM WASLEY, USA (climbing team member)

BRET WASLEY, USA (climbing team member)

HANS BRÄUNER-OSBORNE, DENMARK (climbing team member)

LOTTE ELISABETH OLSEN, DENMARK (climbing team member)

CARSTEN POVL JENSEN, DENMARK (climbing team member)

MARTIN BANK RASMUSSEN, DENMARK (climbing team member)

ROBERT OGLESBY, USA (climbing team member)

JOHN DAVID STEWART, USA (climbing team member)

DENNY BOHANNON, USA (climbing team member)

JAMES WIESMUELLER, USA (climbing team member)

 

Staff: 2 skilled Uighur Cooks, and 2 experienced Tibetan Sherpas.

 

SUGGESTED DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY FOR MUSTAGATA NORMAL ROUTE
1. 1 July Arrive Kashgar or Tashkergan. Sight seeing, logistics. Hotel
2. 2 July Bus to Subashi (3600 metres); Arrive in afternoon, Camp.
3. 3 July Load camels; hike to basecamp (4,500 meters). Camp.
4. 4 July Rest, training, and organization in basecamp.
5. 5 July Walk to Camp 1 (5,400 meters); return to basecamp; rest.
6.  6 July Rest in basecamp.
7. 7 July Walk to Camp 1; sleep in Camp 1.
8. 8 July Snowshoe/Ski to Camp 2 (6,200 meters); return to basecamp via snowshoe/ski/snowboard, walk down from camp 1; rest.
9. 9 July Rest in basecamp.
10. 10 July Walk to Camp 1 and sleep.
11. 11 July Snowshoe/Ski to Camp 2; sleep.
12. 12 July Explore route to Camp 3 (6,800 meters); return to basecamp via snowshoe/ski/snowboard and walk down from camp 1; rest.
13. 13 July Rest in basecamp.
14. 14 July Rest in basecamp.
15. 15 July Walk to Camp 1; sleep.
16. 16 July Snowshoe/Ski to Camp 2; sleep.
17. 17 July Snowshoe/Ski to Camp 3; sleep.
18. 18 July Summit attempt via snowshoe/ski (7,546 meters).
19. 19 July Summit attempt via snowshoe/ski (7,546 meters).
20. 20 July Descend to basecamp via snowshoe/ski/snowboard and walking down from camp 1; rest.
21. 21 July Descend to basecamp via snowshoe/ski/snowboard and walking down from camp 1; rest.
22. 22 July Walk down to Subashi with camels, bus to Kashgar or Tashkurgan.
23. 23 July Departure. Goodbye to all of our new friends!
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