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| Muztagh Ata from the northwest, reflected in
Karakul Lake beside the Karakoram Highway
(photographer unknown)   <click to enlarge>

Muztagh Ata   (Muztagata)
    24757 ft (7546 m)     Highest point ever ascended on skis .
Location: Western Xinjiang, China
Lat / Long: 38.3° N, 75.1° E
Volcanic Type: Non-volcanic
First Ascent: Russian-Chinese expedition, 1956
First Ski Ascent: Ned Gillette, Jan Reynolds,
and Galen Rowell, 1980
First Ski Descent: same
Skiable Vertical: over 8000 ft (2400 m),
perhaps up to 12500 ft (3800 m)



Now more than two decades after its first ski ascent, Muztagh Ata remains the highest peak ever ascended on skis. The mountain is a solitary and majestic landmark along the Karakoram Highway where it passes through the westernmost part of Xinjiang Province in China, just a few miles east of the border with Tajikistan. Muztagh Ata has a very interesting form which clearly reveals its geologic origin as a tilted fault block, for the western and southern slopes form a gentle ramp (divided into several sections by deep glacial troughs) while the east and north faces fall precipitously from the summit ridge for up to 7000 ft (2100 m). More than 20 glaciers drape the slopes in all directions and pour forth from the great eastern cirque, with the lowest tongues of ice extending down below 13000 ft (4000 m). Muztagh Ata has become very popular with climbers and ski mountaineers over the past decade, following the relaxation of travel restrictions in China, and several groups currently offer guided climbs and ski expeditions.



More photos and info about routes, access, etc. may be added in the future ...


Topographic map of Muztagh Ata (1:200,000 scale) from
    Russian military maps J-43-XV (Rangkul) and J-43-XVI (G. Muztagata)
    <click to enlarge>




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Amar Andalkar   Seattle, WA, USA   <About the Author / Contact Me>
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