July 9, 2012
MM Guide Ted Callahan checked in this weekend with another dispatch from our Mustagh Ata expedition! Hopefully we will hear from them today or tomorrow with news of having already reached Camp 2. Good luck to the team!
MM 2012 Mustagh Ata Expedition - Dispatch 2
"Here we are at the end of our first rest day after being up on the mountain. We hiked up to base camp on Wednesday, although hiking might be a bit generous of a description – since the bus dropped us off far from the start of the actual hike, we opted to catch a ride up to the last Kyrgyz summer camp (Chaltamak). From Chaltamak, we had a brisk 1.5 hour walk up to base camp. Our local staff had come up the day before and so most of the camp infrastructure had already been established. All that was left to do was to set up a few more tents and await the arrival of the luggage, being carried upwards on the four (Bactrian) camels and one donkey.
(all photos from previous expeditions)
At camp. Ebner/Farnan photo
"The team felt good, largely thanks to our acclimatization motorbike ride/hike the day before, as evidenced by the amount of chicken stir-fry we consumed that night.
"Thursday was a rest day, to allow us to better acclimate to our new sleeping altitude. We distributed food for up on the mountain, double-checked our gear, and discussed a few matters germane to climbing a 7500+ meter mountain. After another delicious dinner, we tucked in early in anticipation of our first trip to Camp 1 the following day.
Moving up to camp. Ebner/Farnan photo
"Friday saw a continuation of the high pressure we’ve been enjoying – warm weather, blue skies, and mild winds. Everyday we’ve tucked into a hot breakfast expertly prepared by our cook, Sandian (from Lhasa, Tibet), and his two able assistants. Friday was no exception: fried eggs, pancakes, and a slice of Chinese mystery meat. Deprivation this ain’t: we’ve got fresh meat and vegetables, an oven (yes, really), and seemingly endless condiments (maple syrup, Tabasco, ketchup and mustard, etc).
"We were moving uphill by 10am. The first part of the route to Camp 1 is on loose scree – not hard, but a pain in the butt in our boots. At around 4900 we hit the snow line and put on snowshoes. Seemed like it might have been the first time for a few of us but luckily snowshoeing isn’t too hard to pick up, so after a couple hundred meters everyone was moving like pros. After about four hours after leaving base camp, we arrived at the normal 4300 meter Camp 1 site. However, owing to a lot of snow this year, we opted to establish Camp One higher, at around 4450 meters. But for our acclimatization, 4300 meters was sufficient, so after caching the gear we had brought up, we slogged downhill back to basecamp were an amazing hand-made, fresh-baked pizza awaited us. Four hours up, one hour hanging around, one hour down.
Approaching Camp 1. MM Collection
"Today, Saturday, was another rest day. None of the team seemed especially tired from the previous day’s exertions but all of us understood that we had to relax and give our bodies a chance to adjust to both the altitude and the amount of energy we are exerting. For the first time, the weather had gone south on us and we awoke to snow-covered tents. We idled away the day, repairing gear, practicing rope-team and fixed-rope travel, and packing for the morrow. By late afternoon, the weather improved and we had spectacular views of the surrounding Pamir Mountains, stretching away into Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Tomorrow we will spend our first night at Camp 1 and then on Monday we’ll head towards Camp 2 to acclimatize before returning to base camp (or possibly another night at Camp 1). So, look for the next dispatch on Monday or Tuesday."
~ MM Guide Ted Callahan