Kara Kunlun, Dolkun Muztag (6,355m), first ascent. The student mountaineering party of Tokai University Alpine Club was the first to climb an unexplored peak (6,355m) in the Kara Kunlun mountains at the westernmost end of the Xinjiang Kunlun in China. The Kara Kunlun mountains are about 15 km southeast of Mustagh Ata (west 75° 11' 18", north 38° 11' 29"). The summit is not visible from the foot of the mountains, so it was nearly unknown until our party reached the summit.
Our party consisted of climbing leader Yuka Komatsu (student), expedition leader Yoshitsugu Deriha, coach Kazuya Hiraide, Dr. Gen Sasao as our party doctor, and six other students (Taku Kojima, Tatsuya Aoki, Seitaro Ageta, Yusuke Hirano, Hidetaka Saruhashi, Satoshi Nomura). After the aptitude test at the Tokai University Medical School hospital, the low-pressure training at our laboratory of Sport Medicine Science, meticulous preparations were finished, and the party left Japan for the Kara Kunlun mountains on July 30.
On August 2, we arrived in the village of Takuman at the foot of the mountains. On August 4, our party completed setting up our base camp at the end of Cocoshir Glacier at an altitude of 4,500m. We set up the first camp on the glacier at 4,900m on August 7, where suddenly the sharp triangular pyramid summit of Kara Kunlun (6,355m) appeared. We started our real climbing of the mountain from this first camp. We went up higher and higher from the moraine on the glacier aiming at the snowy plateau toward the summit of Kara Kunrun. Our party built the second camp on the snowy field at an altitude of 5,600m on August 12.
The route to the summit was extremely difficult. We struggled long and hard, climbing the ice wall of a steep couloir and an ice/snow wall to get to the ridgeline. On August 14, we fixed the rope 600m up to the ridgeline.
At 6:30 a.m. on August 15, the three climbers of our party, Yuka Komatsu, Tatsuya Aoki, and Kazuya Hiraide, started to climb the peak as the first attempt team and fixed the rope 800m up to the top ridgeline leading to the summit. At 1:10 p.m., they reached the summit after a long and arduous climb. On August 16, the second ascent team, Yoshitsugu Deriha, Taku Kojima, and Hidetaka Saruhashi reached the summit. The weather was changing for the worse and we decided to be satisfied with six climbers in our party gain the top of the peak.
We cleared the second camp in a snowstorm. On August 19, when we got back to the base camp it was covered with thick fresh snow. On August 20 we cleared base camp and began moving down the mountain in heavy snowfall.
Yuka, our climbing leader on this expedition, was the first woman ever to lead a student mountaineering party of Tokai University. She led the entire route. It was an impressive and praiseworthy achievement for a student mountaineering party to reach the summit of an unexplored peak in a greater range of Asia. The main peak of Kara Kunlun mountains had not been named yet, so we named it Dolkun Muztag (Wave of Mountains), whose origin comes from the combination of Dolkun (Wave) and Muztag (Mountain) in the Uighur language.
Yoshitsugu Deriha, Tokai University Alpine Club
Adapted from Japanese Alpine News, Tamotsu Nakamura, Editor