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  SummitClimb Mustagata 2004


mustagh ata.JPG (15667 bytes)

Dear EverestNews.com, Hope all is well, and thank you so much for keeping everyone informed about summer climbs in the Himalaya! Here are the latest Mustagh Ata dispatches from SummitClimb.com, satphoned in by leader Jon Otto and written by Cho Oyu summiter Mike O'Brien.

THE LATEST NEWS: Jon Otto summited with our father-son team: Bill and Bret Wasley! Now the others are trying for the top.

July 11th - Camp 2 (6200m):  A long and rewarding climb has gotten us to Camp 2 at 6200 meters, and we could not have had a better day. No winds and no clouds. Okay, light zephyrs at times. Last night, a cold north wind wind blew in, creating what appears to be a stable front. On the climb up our main problem was avoiding heat exhaustion due to the mid-afternoon sun.

  Eight of us (Bill, Bret, Kah Shin, Ding, "Old Pig", Awong, Pemba, and myself) are now finishing dinner, and then it is early to bed. Bill, Bret, and Ding have their hearts set on making the summit this trip up, which would be the day after tomorrow. Originally, this was only going to be an acclimatization trip, with us going back down to Basecamp tomorrow and resting for a day or two before making our way back up for a summit push. The main reason they wish to attempt the summit now - other than that they're feeling pretty darn good right now at 6200m - is that "the walk to C2 is too !@#!!#@#!!@!X#X#X!! long and we don't want to do it again!" And hey, if that is incentive enough to get to the summit early, then so be it! However, because we are more than a week ahead of schedule, we only have enough tents up here right now to make a summit bid feasible for 4 people. This is also the highest that most of us have ever slept, so we will see how everyone is feeling in the morning.

  Ted Callahan is presently in C1, and will be moving up to C2 tomorrow. I passed the Danes yesterday, they were camped at 5100m, and today they should have moved up the mountain to around 5600m, just below the beginning of the icefall. The sun has now set, and the temperature has dropped rapidly in this rarified air. It's gone from around 15C to below freezing, all in under an hour. Bye for now. Jon Otto from SummitClimb.com

July 12th, Camp 3 (6800m):  Six of us are at Camp 3, and poised for the summit. Given good weather conditions tomorrow (and good health for everyone), we will depart early in the morning, but not too early, as this is an extremely cold mountain, and we will wait until past first light. Ding, Pemba, Bret, Bill, Tah Shin, and myself are here and ready to go. The climb up from C2 today was difficult, and it took alot out of all of us, but that is to be expected at this altitude. Once again we were blessed with excellent weather, sunny skies, and no wind for most of the day. However, in the late afternoon, as we were brewing up on the slopes using the hanging stoves - melting snow and making hot drinks - a storm blew in with 30 kph winds, and visibility dropped to under 200 feet while heavy snow began to fall. It lasted only about an hour and a half or so, and by the time we pulled into camp the clouds had lifted and the sun was shining once again. This evening, as we were setting up the tents and making dinner, we were treated to a spectacular sunset. Now, as my hands begin to freeze up from clutching this satellite phone, I must say goodbye, as we have a very early wake up call for tomorrow morning (5:30am). I hope to speak to you again via satphone from the summit of Mustagata. Cheers for now, and good night. Jon Otto from SummitClimb.com

July 12th, Summit! The call from the summit was a little garbled, but we heard Jon Otto say on the sat phone that it was windy and cloudy but everyone was ok and very happy to be on top. -Mike Obrien from SummitClimb.com

Today at 4pm local time, our father and son duo from the US (Bill and Bret), our Chinese climber (Mr. Ding), and myself stood on the summit of Mustagata. Bret was the first to reach the summit, a nice 27th birthday present for him. We shared the summit with a very nice Swiss-Belgian couple, whom we had gotten to know over the last few days on our way up from C2. (They had offered one of our other climbers, "Old Pig", some mountain tea which, he claimed, revitalized him and got him into C2.) Unfortunately, when we arrived on the summit we had whiteout conditions, with heavy winds and blowing snow. These seem to be common for Mustagata, and can last anywhere from an hour or two to a day or two. She is a very fickle mountain. So, we took the requisite summit photos, then hurried back down to C3. We were the first team in a while to go up the mountain, and so I had wanded the route religiously on the way up. This is important to do on Mustagata, since it is mostly featureless for much of the climb, with no guiding landmarks to give one a good bearing. This helped us tremendously on the way down from the summit, when we had low visibility and had to feel our way from wand to wand, hoping the clouds would part long enough for us to find the next one. The trip to the summit and back took us about 12 hours, and we are all now safely back in C3. Tomorrow we will go all the way back down to Basecamp, and then we will have ourselves a party. We will invite our Belgian/Swiss friends, and we hear there is fresh lamb and plenty of beer, along with Chinese "white-wine", which is the equivalent of lighter fluid, and some interesting pomegranate wine.

  This group made incredibly short work of summitting Mustagata: starting at Basecamp on Day 1, we reached the summit on Day 9. It takes many people up to to 17 days. Our oldest summitter and team member is Bill at 59.

  We were briefly in radio contact with the Danes, but it was unclear as to their progress. It sounded like they had split into 2 groups as of our last communication, but we will find out where they are camped and what they are planning when we see them on our way down to Basecamp tomorrow.  Everyone else will be taking a rest day in Basecamp before attempting their own summits. All the best, and happy dreams. Jon Otto from SummitClimb.com

Thanks for posting these George, and please stay tuned for more exciting dispatches satphoned in by Jon Otto and written by Mike O'Brien. Thank You Very much, Yours Sincerely, from Daniel Mazur and all of us at 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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