July 19, 2010
We have received three updates from our guides on Mustagh Ata. Alex, 13, dove into the climbing world when he was 8 years old by summiting Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Adams and it has been difficult to keep him off the mountains ever since. He has climbed various peaks in the Western U.S., Canada, Bolivia and Peru. Joining him on this adventure is his father and guide, Shayan Rohani who among other objectives, led Alex and his dad to the summit of the beautiful Toclaraju in Peru's Cordillera Blanca. Alex has been in good hands all along and trained hard for these spectacular climbs.
Clair reports from the Base Camp of Mustagh Ata:
Most recent update from July 18:
"Hello Mountain Madness, this is Clair calling from Mustagh Ata Base Camp. The weather here continues to be good. It’s warming up really well during the day and the winds have been generally light. The snow line is receding quickly now and the runoff near Base Camp is a running stream during the day. John, Alex and Shy just spent one night at Camp One and then two nights at Camp Two. They came down today to Base Camp and they will now spend two nights here before they head for the summit. The climbing to Camp One is mostly in boots with snow shoes being used up higher. The snow conditions change a lot during the day, getting pretty soft in the afternoon. The first climbers on this route made the summit yesterday, helping everyone’s optimism about their own chances at the top. I’ve now got some very important Kyrgyz words to work with; I’ve been talking with the Kyrgyz people here. I’ve got “spoon”, “sheep”, “thank you”, “goodbye”. The English words that they have picked up have been limited to “hi”, “beer” and “thank you” - we’re doing what we can. The marmot population here is extremely happy; all the marmot moms are out during the day with their babies all day: it’s pretty cute. Everything is good, we’re staying healthy. I hope things are going well in Seattle. I will let you know how things go in the next few days."
The view from Base Camp
To read more about the beginning of their trip, see below:
"We hiked a few hours into Base Camp yesterday. We saw golden colored marmots, baby birds hatching, rabbits and a fox. Everyone is feeling good and the weather has been beautiful; sunny and warm, with cool, clear evenings. Before arriving at base camp we took in the sites in Kashgar and spent two peaceful nights camping at Karakul Lake, with outstanding views of Mustagh. We have been invited into a few courteous yurts along the way, including one on our walk to Base Camp yesterday, where some of us sampled hot, salty, yak tea, which we drank with a little prayer that our intestines would fair better than the sheep’s intestines sitting in the wall beside us in the yurt. We are resting and acclimatizing at base camp today, and we’ll soon start making carries to Camp One. It is a heavy snow year so the route looks like it got some snow a little earlier this year."
A local yurt
"John, Alex and Shy just returned to Base Camp for much needed rest after spending two nights at Camp One. They missed a fighting, tempered flair between the locals about who is allowed to rent donkeys for carriers. All is resolved now, however. There have been some afternoon and nighttime snow flurries but the mornings continue to be fairly clear and calm. The wind is starting to pick up a little bit. One member from another group went home today after one night at Camp One, with a tropical beach vacation on their mind. He is in good health and good spirits, just too much sitting around in the cold to be worth it to stay. There is also a Swedish woman who has arrived today and will be attempting an alpine-style solo ascent to the mountain. I keep saying that it sounds like it is cold above Camp Three but she says “For a Swede, it is nothing.” Tomorrow will be a rest day and the next day Shy, John and Alex will head to Camp Two for a couple of nights. For now they will be enjoying the luxury of hot showers at Base Camp and the visits from the goats and sheep that cruise through the camp daily on their grazing paths."
Check out some photos from our previous Mustagh Ata trips:
Approaching Camp Two
Setting up camp
Local camels in abundance