Muztagh Ata 2002

Photo: Marcus Haraldsson

Have a look at the old website to get the whole picture about the expedition.

I arrive in Kashi a couple of days ahead of the expedition members. One by one they drop in and the final planning before taking off for the mountain starts. There are loads of things to think about. Where do we find the most suitbable food? How much to bring? Where to get the best fuel and how much should we pay for it? One of the main tasks was to avoid getting completely ripped off by the local climbing organizations. A couple of frantic days before taking off for my first part goal of the season - Muztagh Ata.

tenttest.jpg (169382 byte) The final planning in Kashi. Pitching all the tents, so we could learn how all the other expedition members tents worked as well. Better learn the back yard of Seman hotel, than in a raging blizzard on 6000 m.

"No camping" a passing gardener remarked, when seeing us pitching the tents. :-)


leavingkashi.jpg (141431 byte) Finally!
Time to take off for the mountain. Honza and I decided to make it all the way by bike.
honzabread.jpg (146659 byte) Honza 40 km out of Kashi. 

The bar ends on MTB's are like made for putting the Uighir bread on, or the other way around.

harvesttrick.jpg (195403 byte) The way to get the grain separated from the rest. Around and around...
China is still a poor country in some areas and if oyu don't even have  tracor, you can always chuck the hay on the road and let buses and trucks run it over a couple of times.
There's always a way!
campsubashi.jpg (25485 byte) The wonderful Subashi valley offered us perfect camping and time to acclimatize a bit.
testclimb.jpg (145634 byte) Joey and Tomas heading up a 5000 meter + peak to acclimatize.

The T-A-R-G-E-T looming in the background.





readysubashi.jpg (69546 byte)
Photo: Oscar Fors
I've loaded my bike and is ready for take-off from Subashi. 
cyclingtoma.jpg (25982 byte)
Photo: Honza Galla
On the way towards base camp. You may wonder why I choose to spend so much energy transporting all my gear, while most other people choose to get help. First it's a matter of principe - I wanna do it on my own. Second the price for the transport was outrageous. 

Looking at it in retrospect. It was not at all that hard. 3 hours of cycling and I was there. The last 45 minutes was hard and I wasn't able to cycle that much, but as a whole - a breeze.

camels.jpg (46828 byte)
Photo: Honza Galla
"The High Tech High Altitude Camels".
A very impressive name for a normal camel and the only difference between these camels and the others was the price. The locals in the area offered us to transport the gear with their camels for a very good price, but XMA and KMA officials threatened to fine both us and the local cameldrivers if we used these camels instead of the "High Tech" ones.
charlieriver.jpg (90026 byte)
Photo: Marcus Haraldsson
Charlotte and Oscar over the glacial rivers on the way up to the base camp.

Olle arrives at basecamp with all his gear. He was the only one except for myself, who brought all the gear without any help from camels and porters. 
oscarcharlie.jpg (117092 byte) We were a bunch of people of different backgrounds and different priorities also when it came to the actual climbing.

Some were going to Muztag Ata with bicycles, some ar normal climbers and yet another group within the group had skiing as the main priority.

Oscar and Charlotte at base camp.



cumata.jpg (42420 byte)
Photo: Marcus Haraldsson
Looking up at the looming giant on a sunny morning.

Photo: Honza Galla
The basecamp seen from above. There were a lot of other expeditions there and sometimes it felt too much like a circus, but then again, in that case I was just another clown :-)
settingc1.jpg (154419 byte) Olle and Joey hacking out a platforn on our first haul up to camp 1 at 5500 meters.
blizzicefall.jpg (134625 byte) Sebastien and I were stopped by a blizzard in the icefall. Dumped some of the gear and food there.
bikesup.jpg (174261 byte) The task of getting the bikes towards a new world record started. Gabriel is helping Stefan and Martin to get the bikes in position on the backpacks for an ascent to camp 1.
I wanted to know a bit more about the conditions higher up on the mountain and left my bike behind in base camp. It never got higher than that.
icefallmartin.jpg (45308 byte)
Photo: Marcus Haraldsson
One of the few steeper parts on the mountain. A little icefall 200vert/m over camp 1.
martinbikeup.jpg (37786 byte)
Photo: Marcus Haraldsson
Martin heading upwards.
icewall.jpg (28049 byte)
Photo: Marcus Haraldsson
In the beautiful icefall at 5800m. Walls of ice. Huge crevasses and ice caves.
snowyside.jpg (14692 byte) Marcus have just passed the mid-section of the ice-fall and are getting close to 6000m.
skiup.jpg (48154 byte)
Photo: Marcus Haraldsson
Climbers on their way up on the massive snowslopes.
6100.jpg (93881 byte) At 6100 meters. Sunshine and I'm feeling great! From here on it was all going down the drain for me. The stoves didn't work very well, the tent I had was absolutely useless and on top of that I got sick.
Had no problems to reach camp 2. Snowfall and a really cozy atmosphere up there at 6400 meters. Planned to continue higher the day after, but woke up with a very sore throat and high fever. I get one cold a year and it felt a bit unfair that it was time for the bugger to arrive at one of the worst moments possible.
Well, that's the way it is sometimes.
team.jpg (32687 byte) The expedition members back in Kashi.

We all reached different altitudes and was stopped for different reasons. The only one who wasn't stopped at all was Sebastien, the only one who isn't on this photo, he reached the summit after a long hard walk trailbreaking most of the time by himself.
Congratulations Seb!

It was time for the members of the expedition to go different ways. Most went back to Pakistan, to continue further on towards Sweden. 

For me the warm up was done, the main goal of the summer was awaiting me and I felt an ever increasing feeling of adventure bubbling in my veins.
It was soon time to take off for the Tibetan high plateau and in particular the empty, barren vasteness of the mighty Chang Tang.

Links to other expedition members websites.

Oscar Fors och Charlotte Björkegren.
Gabriel Richert. 
Honza Galla.

Back to main Xinjiang 2002   To Xinjiang Highway, the next part of the journey