Muztagh AtaFood and Accommodation
Muztagh Ata Food and Accommodation
Getting to, and climbing Muztagh Ata will involve a range of different conditiions in terms of what you eat and where you sleep. We will pass though major Chinese cities, minor villages, on to basecamp and finally on the mountain its self.
In the cities such as Urumqi and Kashgar we will stay in hotels and usually eat in the same establishment. The climate outside can be oppressively hot and humid but the rooms are almost always air conditioned. Generally we will use generously sized twin rooms with ensuite bathroom and shower. The food in the hotels is usually buffet style and you will be able to eat as much as you like. The food is of course Chinese in style and many of the dishes will not be recognisable as the ones that your local Chinese take-away provides. There are lots of noodle and dough type dishes, even at breakfast time!
On our way to the mountain we are likely to to stop at a village or two for food and rest stops. Here there are many makeshift cafes/restaurants by the roadside. There is a range of food but the perrenial favourites are dense flatbreads, fried vegetables and handmade noodles. There is a range of meat on offer too. This can vary from an identifiable morsel on the bone floating in soup to more visually appealing cuts of meat. There is also usually the opportunity to buy fruit and bottled water.
At the roadhead we will stay at the village of Subashi. Here we will sleep in large "Yurts" or "Gers" which are suprisingly warm and comfortable. The floor of the tent is covered by a groundsheet and they will have foam matresses and supplimentary blankets if required. We will eat in another tent and the food will be prepared by local villagers in a small hut or tent adjacent to our encampment. The food is again generous and often takes the form of vegetables and meat in soups, stews or fried with noodles or potatoes. The toilets are usually fairly basic long drops although on occasion there is a dedicated portable toilet trailer.
Our basecamp facilities are provided by a Chinese Alpine Association. We sleep in pairs in domed mountain tents and also have a communual mess tent where we eat and a communual store tent where our luggage can be stored and accessed. Our food is prepared by local staff in a further kitchen tent and is very much the same as at Subashi. There is plenty of it and rest assured that no-one will be left hungry! The toilets at basecamp are shared by all the expeditions. It takes the form of a steel enclosure with an open roof and a series of stalls with long drop openings in the floor. It is sited a little way below the main camp and is basic but functional.
On the Mountain
Above basecamp we will be fending for ourselves. Anything we wear, sleep in or eat must be carried up to our camps. It is obvious therefore that we will be minimising un-necessary weight. We will generally sleep in teams of 3 to each tent, usually North Face VE25 geodesic domes. Bear in ming that you will be pitching your tent and lying on snow so a good quality sleeping mat is arguably as important as a good sleeping bag. We cook on small gas stoves and melt snow for drinking water and cooking purposes. We will buy all of our supplies in bulk at our final city/town, usually Kashgar. In order to minimise weight we are likely to be primarily eating dehydrated meals such as noodles, soups, oatmeal etc. perhaps supplimented by some dried meat & vegetables or tinned fish. We will never be more than a few days away from a huge meal at basecamp so we often keep the meals up high fairly light. We will dig a communual toilet pit for the outgoing traffic.