Want to ski on the flank of 7000 meters above sea level?
WILD YAK EXPEDITIONS proposes a ski ascent of Muztagh Ata . It is also called “Father of Ice Mountains” in the local Uyghur dialect. Which follows the distinct flank south of the rocks dropping to the Kartamak Glacier.
Muztagh Ata is part of the northern ridge of the Tibetan Plateau located in the Xinjiang province in Western China. It is in the center of the great mountain ranges of Asia. Having Karakoram to the south, the Pamir to the west and the Kun Lun and Tien Shan to the north.
The Muztagh Ata has the reputation of being a semi technically straightforward 7000m peak to climb also with the skis and an excellent stepping-stone for those who aspire to climb an 8000m peak. It has only few parts, which are technically difficult, in particular between Camp 1 and Camp 2 due to crevasses, the main part of the ascent being on gentle snow slopes. The high altitude, the strong winds, the cold and the long arduous days require strong stamina. However not be underestimated in this remote and fascinating part of the world.
With a combination of WILD YAK EXPEDITIONS’ scheme for a thorough acclimatization process and the clients’ lengthy preparation to arrive with an excellent level of fitness, the chance to get to the Summit of the Muztagh Ata is very likely. Our acclimatization process actually starts from Subash at 3600m, situated at the edge of the Karakorum Highway and part of the ancient silk route and goes on from the Base Camp with the different hikes up and down to our 3 high camps.
WILD YAK EXPEDITIONS’ Team welcomes you in the Himalaya. We organize small groups with high-quality services and security. These are essential for flexibility, contentment and precious exchanges of cultures and traditions with our local Team and local guides. Finally, hospitality to our Guests and economy to locals are part of our aspirations.
The given prices are per person and exclude international flights. Given below are the departure dates available for online booking. If the given date is not favorable then please contact us and we will happily customize your trip on dates more appropriate for you.
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WILD YAK EXPEDITIONS’ philosophy is: as much as possible is included in the quoted price so that customers know the total costs of their adventure Trip in advance!
WILD YAK EXPEDITIONS is focusing on a small group sizes of 6 participants for this trek because our experience have found this to be the best way to have a successful trip while providing excellent services. Furthermore, it creates a pleasant ambiance within the group, including an exchange of cultures and traditions with our team and the local guides.
Last but not least, WILD YAK EXPEDITIONS’ focus on small groups permits more flexibility and support to the participants individually.
Your safety is of supreme concern while traveling with WILD YAK EXPEDITIONS. In case of emergency, the group has a first aid kit, including a 4-litre Oxygen bottle.
Depending on the difficulty of some itineraries, WILD YAK EXPEDITIONS will secure the route using the necessary technical gear, if needed.
Please note that the above-mentioned itinerary information is purely indicative and can likely be modified during the course of the Expedition by our Guide, who has the authority to make such changes if it is deemed necessary (due to safety concerns, etc.). Every effort will be made to keep to the scheduled itinerary; however, as this is an adventure travel in remote mountain regions and at high altitude, we are not able to fully guarantee it as it is necessary to take into consideration each situation as it occurs and consequently to adapt the program in its best way. Elements such as weather conditions, health conditions of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, among others, can all contribute to changes in the scheduled itinerary.
The Guide will try to ensure that the Expedition runs according to the foreseen plan to the benefit of all the participants, but we thank you to be prepared to some flexibility and comprehension if so required.
Please check the degrees of difficulty while choosing a Trip with WILD YAK EXPEDITIONS. The majority of the itineraries proposed in our Programs are in remote areas of the Himalaya and at high altitude, mostly higher than the Alps. A good physical condition is necessary to appreciate the whole richness of this adventure!
Note: In order to participate to this Expedition, it is fundamental to be autonomous in the mountain environment, to have a very good level of skiing and the necessary experience with crampons on glaciers.
Muztagh Ata is one of the “easiest” 7000-meter peaks to access the summit from a technical point of view and highest ski mountain in the world. After the first ski ascent, made by an American Expedition led by Ned Gilletee, it gained popularity as a ski mountain due to the fact that the track is generally covered with deep snow and the flank is perfect for skiing without any major threat. A large group of Chinese and Russian climbers did the first successful ascent in 1956 via the west ridge, which has now become the standard route.
We follow this route by setting 3 camps above the Base Camp (4200m) (see also introduction part).
Once the Base Camp is settled and before the first rotation to the higher camps, some rest days are programmed, which are an important part of the acclimatization process, and during which we do a check and test of all our climbing equipment. Some short and easy hikes around the Base Camp, gaining some altitude and then descending again are likely to be beneficial to improve your acclimatization. Between the climbs, we return to the Base Camp to allow our bodies to recover and regain strength with the increased oxygen of the lower altitude and the good food from our kitchen staff. In the meantime, we are checking the weather forecast for a perfect window for the Summit day, for which an early start is programmed.
Base Camp to Camp 1 (5400m), 4-5 hours
The route to Camp 1 goes straight up from Base Camp towards the rocky and sandy slope on the edge of the glacier, which stretches down from the mountain. After a 2-hour ascent, the trail gets to a gravel/rocky part, where the skiers are usually taking the snow slope route that is on the south east of the flank. Camp 1 is set up just beneath of a snow traverse where the rocky part ends. It is a wonderful place with extensive views over pastures, hills, desert, lake Karakul and Mount Kongur Tagh (7649m). Upon request, donkeys might be available to transfer the loads to Camp 1.
Camp 1 to Camp 2 (6150m), 5 hours
From Camp 1, with a steady ascent our route traverses to the west slope, which is sometimes icy and likely to have few crevasses, until we get upon the big serac, which are heading far above Camp 1. After passing through a small valley, our climb confronts a steep section (50 degrees) of about 80 meters. This is the steepest part of the whole route. Within 2 hours from there we reach Camp 2. During our whole Expedition, 2 to 3 rotations are made to Camp 2.
Camp 2 to Camp 3 (6800m), 4-5 hours
From Camp 2 our route goes on through a wide snow plateau, where we set some route marks in order to avoid to get lost in the event the weather changes.
Camp 3 to Summit, and back to Camp 1 (7546m), 8-10 hours
Muztagh Ata is renowned for its strong winds, and the summit day being the longest day, (8-10 hours), we start very early. The route to the Summit is straightforward, with the slope being usually covered with even deeper snow. A gradual ascent brings us to a vast plateau where the small rise of the Summit rock appears.
From the Summit, we enjoy beyond the huge chasm of the east side of the Mountain, the vast emptiness of the Plateau of Central Asia, interrupted only by the high white ridges of Mount Kongur Tagh and the snowy cap peaks of the Pamir’s. By clear conditions, the giant peaks of the Karakoram Range can be seen to the south.
Please note that the climbing route between the high camps is relatively short (4-5 hours), the summit day being the longest day (8-10 hours). Since climbing at this altitude is extremely demanding, you should prepare this Expedition with appropriate previous fitness training.
Before we choose the mountain to scale, we want to know some important details about its climbing route. Considering the experience of the mountain guides and ascenders, we developed a simple system of grading, which may help you to choose the right Mountain to climb up depending on your aptitude. Our grading system consists of 3 levels, which are I, II and III.
MUZTAGH ATA: GRADE II