Muztagh Ata, second ascent of southeast ridge, alpine style. In order to be well-acclimatized for their alpine-style attempt on Shivling during the autumn, 26-year-old Kazuya Hiraide and 33-year-old Kei Taniguchi climbed Muztagh Ata (7,546m), making the second ascent of the southeast ridge. This elegant line above the so-called Potterfield Glacier was first climbed in July 2000 by Americans Walter Keller, Dan Mazur, and Jon Otto in an eight-day alpine-style push, after they had first climbed the Normal Route. Hiraide and Tanaguchi initially acclimatized on the Normal Route (west flank) and then reached base camp at 3,900m on August 29. They established an advanced base camp at 4,500m on the 31st and then four high camps on the ridge as the two made their alpine-style push: Camp 1 at 5,400m on September 1, Camp 2 at 5,850m, Camp 3 at 6,450m, and Camp 4 at 7,200m. On September 5 the pair reached the summit at 3:30 p.m. They descended the Normal Route, on the far side of the mountain, as far as 6,800m (usual site of Camp 3). On the 6th they reached the standard west-side base camp. Hiraide had carried skis up the southeast ridge and was able to use them to descend the west flank.
The two then crossed the Kunjerab Pass into Pakistan and made their way to the Indian border at Wagah, eventually reaching Delhi on September 19 and starting the second phase of their expedition.
Kazuya Hiraide, Japan