Mustagh Ata Ski Mountaineering Expedition 2011

Mustagh Ata 7546M

Ski mountaineering in China can be a life changing experience and this opportunity is not to be missed. If you are a intermediate skier or snowboarder you will revel in the amazing feeling of descending a 7500M peak in the remote wilds of eastern China. Ganesh Adventures is offering our 2011 Mustagh Ata Expedition as a fully guided climb and ski trip. Your safety is our first priority and we spare no expense to ensure you are very well taken care of during your 2011 Mustagh Ata Ski Mountaineering Expedition.

Dates: Aug 10 – Sept 4, 2012

Prices: $7590 usd

Spaces Available: 8 of 8

Notes: This expedition is open to Skiers and Split-board Snowboarders with previous back country touring experience. We are not offering a snowshoe expedition at this time.

Mustagh Ata 7546M Ski Mountaineering Expedition Introduction

Muztagh Ata, or Muztagata (Turkic ‘ice-mountain-father’,Chinese: 慕士塔格峰; pinyin: Mùshìtǎgé Fēng), is the second highest (7546 metres) of the mountains which form the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau (not the second highest of the mountains of the Tibetan Plateau). It is sometimes regarded as being part of the Kunlun Shan, although physically it is more closely connected to the Pamirs. It is also reputedly one of the easiest 7,000 m peaks in the world to climb, due to its gentle western slope and the comparatively drier weather of Xinjiang.

Muztagh Ata lies just south of Kongur Tagh, the highest peak of the Kunlun Shan. Together they form a somewhat isolated group, separated from the main chain of the Kunlun, and also separate from the Pamir Mountains to the west. (Both peaks are sometimes regarded as being in the “Chinese Pamir”, and are more closely connected to the main Pamir group than the main Kunlun group.) Not far to the north and east of this group are the lowlands of the Tarim Basin and the Taklamakan Desert. The Karakoram Highway passes very close to both peaks as well as Karakul Lake, from which the mountain is conveniently viewed. The closest city is to the mountain is Tashkurgan, the westernmost town in China and very close to the border with Pakistan.

The Swedish explorer and geographer Sven Hedin made the first recorded attempt to climb Muztagh Ata, in 1894. Additional attempts were made in 1900, 1904 and 1947, the last by the team of Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman who came very close to the summit but were turned back due to cold and deep snow.The first ascent of the peak was in 1956 by a large party of Chinese and Russian climbers, via the west ridge, which is now the standard route.

Since the first ascent, many ascents of Muztagh Ata have been made. In 1980, a party led by Ned Gillette made a ski ascent/descent of the standard route, the first ski ascent of a mountain over 7,500 m (24,600 ft). An ascent of the much harder south-east ridge was made in 2000, and a secondary route at the west side of the mountain was first climbed in the summer of 2005.

The Tash Route on Mustagh Ata 7546M

Mustagh Ata offers a number of climbing routes. Ganesh Adventures chooses to climb the Tash Route as opposed to the standard route which nearly all other commercial operators offer. In our opinion and that of our local outfitters, the Tash offers a more pristine, safe and exciting experience on this 7546M giant. The Tash offers a more sustained ski descent as well as having far fewer crevaces. We will use the following camps during this Mustagh Ata expedition:

  • Base Camp: 4500M
  • Camp One: 5400M
  • Camp Two: 6150M
  • Camp Three: 6800M

There are almost no technical difficulties on the Tash route on Mustagh Ata. It is possible to skin from base camp to the summit and ski all the way back. Although many teams choose to use snow shoes, we feel that the ascent rate on skis is far greater and it is not possible to offer sufficient guidance and support to members using these 2 different methods of ascent. Therefore, we are only offering this expedition to skiers and snowboarders.

Experience Required

Mustagh Ata’s Tash route offers nearly no technical climbing and the route is essentially one long skin at grades between flat and 30 degrees. Ganesh Adventures is also offering this expedition as a fully guided ski ascent. Your experienced guides are high mountain veterans with decades of ski experience. We will be traveling as a tight, cohesive unit and at no times on the hill will you be left alone. There are also some sections on the Tash route of Mustagh Ata that require roping up to protect each other from potential crevace falls. With all of the above considerations in mind, we recommend the following basic skill set for our members:

  • Intermediate level alpine ski experience
  • Extensive outdoor hiking and camping background
  • Competence with roped glacier travel
  • Previous high altitude experience up to at least 6000M
  • Mental fortitude and a strong will to succeed


Climbing any high mountain is a major investment of time and money. The stresses and challenges on an expedition is enough to crack even the most seasoned mountaineer. It is very important when choosing your expedition you ensure your personal needs will be not only met but exceeded throughout the climb.

Ganesh Adventures offers first class base camp facilities that will ensure you are very comfortable, well fed and healthy during your Mustagh Ata climb. Base Camp facilities and staff will have the following amenities all members at all times:

  • Cooks and cook assistants to prepare and serve meals
  • Dining tent with tables, chairs, drinks, condiments, snacks & lighting
  • Three full meals per day consisting of imported and local food
  • Heated Marmot Lair comms dome tent with lighting
  • Hot Shower
  • Equipment storage and packing tent for members and staff

Medical and First Aid

Ideally, we will have a medical doctor experienced in high altitude medicine on our expedition. The reality however, is that it is difficult to find doctors that are experienced with the unique set of conditions presented on a high altitude expedition such as Mustagh Ata. Although we will try our very best to include a medical doctor on our expeditions, we can not make the guarantee of having one.

Ganesh Adventures Provides The Following Medical Resources On All Of Our Expeditions:

  • 24 hour on call Canadian or American emergency room doctor prepared for high altitude emergency consultation.
  • Wilderness EMT certified mountain guides with very extensive high altitude medical experience.
  • Extensive trauma medical kit at base camp.
  • Extensive airway medical kit with oxygen at base camp.
  • Fully stocked medications kit at base camp.
  • Portable Altitude Chamber (Gamow Bag).
  • Stretcher with spinal immobilization equipment at base camp.
  • Emergency response plan documented for all contingencies.


To minimize the metal strain on our members, we provide individual private sleeping arrangements while at base camp on all of our expeditions.

Each Member Of The 2011 Ganesh Adventures Mustagh Ata Expedition Will Be Provided:

  • Personal Marmot Thor 2 or 3 base camp tent
  • Two sleeping mats
  • Solar powered lantern for reading
  • Bed tea/coffee served to your door each morning


We will have a dedicated communications or ‘comms’ tent. This comfortable, space will be your office away from home and house all of our communications gear along with a comfortable workspace for members to use at their leisure. Please feel free to bring your own laptop but make sure it has a standard ethernet port, we won’t have wi-fi up there.

On All Of Our Expeditions Ganesh Adventures Provides The Following Communications Infrastructure To All Of Our Members To Keep In Touch With Family, Friends And Business:

  • Broadband internet access through a BGAN Inmarsat satellite modem transceiver.
  • Laptop and Printer.
  • Two Thuraya Satellite telephones.
  • VHF radios for communications on the mountain and between camps.
  • Flat screen TV with DVD player for movies at night.
  • Personal Blog website designed by and hosted on Ganesh Adventures’ servers.
  • Solar power grid with battery bank and backup generator.

Ganesh Adventures Equipment on Mustagh Ata

Included in the cost of your expedition is the following high quality, professionally maintained and tested equipment.


Ganesh Adventures exclusively uses Marmot tents and MSR Reactor or Jetboil mountain stoves. Depending on the configuration of the camps and members, either Marmot Thor 2 or Thor 3 tents will be placed at all high camps by the HAP staff. Additionally, each tent will have a minimum of one MSR Reactor or two Jetboil high altitude stoves. We have used both of these cooking systems up to and above 8000M and feel they are the best option for an expedition such as this. If you have your own system you would like to bring please feel to contact us to ensure we have comparable fuel for your kit.


Your Mustagh Ata expedition cost includes all food and non-alcoholic drinks for the duration of the expedition outside of Kashgar. While in base camps, our experienced Chinese cooks will prepare a high quality hygienic set of meals consisting of imported and local foods. Each day you will be awoken with bed tea or coffee by one of the cook staff shortly before breakfast is served. After you enjoy a slow start to your day, the usual banging on a pot will signal the start of breakfast. Typically, a breakfast will include cereals, porridge, eggs toast, hashed browns and baked beans. We also do our best to keep a constant supply of fresh fruit available. Lunch will usually start with soup followed by a heavy lunch of chips, a meat dish, rice, curry or some other creation by our fantastic cook. There is always an afternoon snack of soup and some finger foods followed shortly after by dinner. We strive for variety and dinner can be anything from an amazing Indian feast to Pizza, fried chicken, ribs and much much more. Soup is the standard and also a great way to stay hydrated.

There will be boiled and treated drinking water available at all times in the dining tent with a selection of coco, teas, juice mixes and coffee. We also try to keep a stock of soda drinks on hand and maybe even the occasional can of beer or six.

Above base camp, all members will be provided with a large selection of boil in a bag meals along with soup mixes, coco, chocolate, power bars and candies. It is the responsibility of each member to go through the stores of food and choose their own food for that days excursion. The Ganesh Adventures team will be responsible for delivering all members food and equipment to the higher camps on the mountain.


All personal climbing equipment is the responsibility of the member. Please look at our Equipment list page for exact details of what you will need for this climb. Ganesh Adventures also offers its members discounts on nearly everything on the gear list through our partner companies. A note of caution: it is always best to properly size and test all of your equipment thoroughly before an expedition of this magnitude.

Brands Recommended And Used By Ganesh Adventures:

  • Marmot
  • Camp USA
  • Scarpa
  • Dynafit
  • Intuition Liners
  • Icebreaker


We require all members to have comprehensive travel medical coverage. This coverage must include coverage for high altitude climbing involving the use of ropes. Policies and plans vary greatly from country to country so please contact us for a list of recommended and trusted providers in your area.

Additionally, we strongly recommend and in some cases require all members to have trip cancellation and lost equipment coverage for the duration of the expedition.


Ganesh Adventures requires a usd $1750 deposit to reserve your place on the climbing team. The remainder of the balance is due 90 days prior to the commencement of the expedition. Payments can be made via electronic bank transfer to our Canadian US dollar account. Upon receipt of your initial deposit we will email you a detailed trip file that will help you prepare and train for your upcoming adventure. In addition to the online bookings form we will also request that you complete a medical history form and detailed questionnaire for our records. At this time, we will launch a personal website for you stored on our servers under a sub-domain name of your choosing.


Any expedition to is bound to attract attention from a variety of media and charitable sources. If you feel that your climb is unique in some way of wish to raise money for a charity, Ganesh Adventures is prepared to offer you a discounted price on your expedition. Choosing a guiding company that offers the level of support that we do will definitely make your sponsors sleep easy knowing you are in good hands and your chances of making the summit safely are high.


As a service to all of our members, Ganesh Adventures will build and host a personal blog website for your use before, during and after the expedition. This blog style website will present your personal profile, something about your project, photos, supporters and sponsors and of course a blog section to keep family, friends and sponsors up to date on your personal quest for the top of Mustag Ata. You will be free to add, remove and modify all of the content on your personal climbing blog