Muztagh Tower (also: Mustagh Tower; Muztagh: ice tower), is a mountain in the Baltoro Muztagh, part of the Karakoram range on the border of the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan and the Xinjiang Uygur region of China. It stands between the basins of the Baltoro and Sarpo Laggo glaciers.
The Mustagh Tower was made famous by a spectacular but somewhat misleading photograph taken by Vittorio Sella during the 1909 Italian expedition to K2. Taken from the upper Baltoro, due southeast of the mountain, the twin summits were perfectly aligned and the mountain was seen as a slender tooth, and looked impregnable. In 1941, the photograph was featured in a popular book on mountaineering with the caption "The Last Citadel".
First and second ascents
Nearly fifty years after Sella's photo was taken, in 1956, his photograph inspired two expeditions to race for the first ascent. Both teams found their routes less steep than Sella's view had suggested. The British expedition, consisting of John Hartog, Joe Brown, Tom Patey and Ian McNaught-Davis, came from the Chagaran Glacier on the west side of the peak and reached the summit via the Northwest Ridge first on July 6, five days before the French team (fr:Guido Magnone, fr:Robert Paragot, André Contamine, Paul Keller) climbed the mountain from the east. The doctor François Florence waited for the two parties at the camp IV during 42 hours without a radio, when they went, reached the summit and came back to this camp.
Notable ascents and attempts
- 1984 Northwest Ridge 2nd of route, 3rd of peak by Mal Duff, Tony Brindle, Jon Tinker and Sandy Allan (all UK).
- 2008 On 24 August 2008, the Northeast Face was climbed by two Slovenian alpinists, Pavle Kozjek and Dejan Miškovič. They bivouacked on the crest after 17 hours of climbing. They decided not to go to the summit because of strong wind. Just after they started descending, Kozjek fell to his death.