American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Muztagh Ata and Unnamed Peak Ascents

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1996

Muztagh Ata and Unnamed Peak Ascents. The summer of 1994 found me in Kashgar, Xinjiang, on the way to West Tibet. My companion, Paula Quenomoen, and I decided to do a side trip into the Kunlun Mountains before heading to Mount Kailash. We established a basecamp at Janbulak Village below the west peak of Muztagh Ata. Paula and I climbed together to about 5000 meters, at which point she returned to the village. I continued alone, climbing a spur on the west face of the west peak. I rested for a while, then finished the ascent in a continuous push, crossing the deceptively long Janbulak glacier to the Main Peak, where I climbed directly to the summit from the west. I returned via the same line. The route offered no real technical difficulties — it was a steep hike on snow. Later, Paula and I made the pilgrims' circuit of the holy Mount Kailash in a slow five days, enjoying the remarkable scenery and interesting people along the way. Above and south of the Drolma La (the high point of the circuit at over 18,000 feet) we climbed a 6000-meter peak. The ascent involved rock scrambling, easy mixed climbing and a final headwall of hard snow. The summit afforded tremendous views of Kailash. Most peaks in the area have been climbed by pilgrims; this summit, though, appeared unclimbed. We later climbed another very attractive 6000-meter peak to the southeast of Kailash. This peak is quite obvious as one descends the pilgrims’ path from the Drolma La. From a high camp at 17,000 feet we climbed the sweeping hanging glacier and snow slope on the north face, arriving on the summit before sunrise. This peak appeared to have been unclimbed before as well.

Charlie Fowler, unaffiliated

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