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Asia, China, Mustagh Ata

Mustagh Ata. In September John Amatt, leader, Lloyd Gallagher, Pat Morrow and I journeyed to the western flank of Mustagh Ata. We ascended the broad “writing-desk” slopes, choosing a route one glacier system south of that climbed in 1980 by Ned Gillette’s party. (See A.A.J., 1981, pages 71-81.) We took camels to Base Camp at 14,300 feet near the Chal Tumak Glacier on September 5 and the next day three of them carried to 15,000 feet. Initial poor weather and a storm slowed progress. Loud thumps as the snow settled kept us nervous. Gallagher, Morrow and I reached the summit in clear but windy weather on September 16. This may be a new route. We ascended and descended on skis; Morrow used nordic skis and we other two, traditional ski-mountaineering skis. Up high, the snow was wind-blown and crusty with only a few feet covering the ice.

Stephen Bezruchka