The permanent snow-fields on the highest dome of the mountain, the firm basin that feeds the glacier, and the highest regions of the glacier were bathed in the silver light of the moon; but where the ice-stream lay, pitch-dark, in its deep cleft, fathomless shadow prevailed. Thin white clouds floated across the hilly snow-fields, like so many mountain-spirits engaged in dancing. Perhaps they were the souls of departed Kirgiz, with their guardian angels, passing on from the wear and tear of the earth to the joys of Paradise; or the fortunate beings in the enchanted city of Janaicar, who, in the light of the full snow, were dancing round the "Father of the Ice-Mountains.
(Sven Hedin - struggled unsuccesfully to climb Mustagh Ata by yak in 1894. Probably the highest climb on earth at that time).
In 1999, I went for walk up to camp one on the father of all Ice-mountains, Mustagh Ata in West China during a bicycle trip on the Karakoram Highway between West China and Northern Pakistan. This supreme mountain overwhelmed me and I decided to attempt climbing this 7546 meters Pamir giant in year 2000, despite limited mountaineering experience. Searching on the Internet for appropriate information on climbing the mountain, I found a Website made by a Belgian who wanted to make a world record in altitude biking on Mustagh Ata, searched for participants. After some few seconds of intense thinking, my mind was clear - I wanted to join this crazy guy called Siegfried. The group ended up including another biker, Luc, while an American Matamatican, Jim and two young guys from Holland, Peter and Stijn became the core of the group because of their mountaineering skills. We obtained the permit for climbing through the Xinjiang Mountaineering Association, making it possible for the group to assemble in Beijing on 24th July.
- Click on maps to enlarge them in a new page.
(Late November 2002, a mini-serie on this expedition was broadcasted in National Geographic Channel's "game for it" nr. 7 and 8).