Muztagh Ata, as viewed from the Karakoram Highway
|Elevation||7,509 m (24,636 ft)
|Prominence||2,698 m (8,852 ft)|
|Translation||Father of ice mountains (Uyghur)|
|Range||Muztagata Range, Kunlun Shan|
|First ascent||1956 by E. A. Beletskiy et al.|
|Easiest route||glacier/snow climb|
Muztagh Ata, or Muztagata (Uyghur: مۇز تاغ ئاتا, literally "ice-mountain-father"; Chinese: 慕士塔格峰; pinyin: Mùshìtǎgé Fēng), is the second highest (7509 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 one of the relatively easier 7,000 m peaks in the world to climb, due to its gentle western slope and the comparatively drier weather of Xinjiang, though a thorough acclimatization period and a very strong physical condition are crucial for success.
Muztagh Ata (Turkish: Muz Dag ( modern pronunciation Buz Dag [as in "men" versus "ben"- where Oguz Kaan lost his horse according to the legend) 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.
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. Swedish Anneli Wester camped on the summit in 2011 after climbing the mountain solo and in alpine style.
- "China II: Sinkiang - Xinjiang". Peaklist.org. Retrieved 2014-05-26.
- Note: The footnote in this source states: "The frequently cited 7546m elevation should be replaced by the newer 7509m elevation that appears on Chinese maps, and is more compatible with SRTM.""China II: Sinkiang - Xinjiang". Footnote#9. Peaklist.org. Retrieved 2014-05-26.
- Jill Neate, High Asia: An Illustrated History of the 7000 Metre Peaks, ISBN 0-89886-238-8.
- Himalayan Index
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