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About the Mountain


Muztagh Ata (24,636 ft) is uniquely located at the convergence of several major mountain ranges, including the Pamirs, the Hindu Kush, the Kunlun Mountains, the Tien Shan, and the Karakoram Range. It borders the Taklamakan Desert, the greatest desert in Central Asia, and is crossed by the famous Karakoram Highway, running from Kashgar to Gilgit. Between its fascinating geography and the low-cost of expeditions there, it’s no wonder Muztagh Ata is becoming increasingly popular among foreign mountaineers. This is especially true given that the mountain has consistently good weather during its peak climbing season. As with almost any peak of this height, though, you’ll need basic mountaineering skills (crampons, self-arrest, roped travel, etc.) and excellent fitness to reach the summit.

“From the drop off at the Karakoram Highway at its base, the nearly 13,000 vertical foot rise starts immediately. Mustagh Ata is huge.”

- Mike Marolt

Muztagh Ata, which means the ‘Father of Ice Mountains’ in Uyghur, is considered one of the safest and most straightforward peaks to climb above 7,500 meters (24,600 ft). It can be accessed by either Bishkek or Urumqi, which are both jumping-off points for the closest city to the Base Camp, Kashgar. Some people like to make the journey to Kashgar over land, following ancient Silk Road routes between Central Asia and Tibet. However, flights to Kashgar are frequent and inexpensive, and they will save you upwards of 15 hours of travel. If you like ski mountaineering, it’s worth bringing your specialized equipment along for the ride. Muztagh Ata has excellent slopes for skiing, and you’ll have pack camels, mules, and porters (as desired) to help you carry the extra load.

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