Save the Snow Leopard Climb

To benefit Big Cat Rescue and Snow Leopard Conservation


In June of 2007 four Florida mountaineers will attempt to summit 24,758 foot Mustagh Ata in the Pamir Mountain Range of China’s remote Xinjiang province. This range is one of the last habitats of the endangered snow leopard. For this reason the team will be using the climb to draw attention to the plight of the snow leopard and to raise awareness and funding for Big Cat Rescue and snow leopard conservation.   All of the expenses of the expedition are being covered by the climbers themselves, sponsored in part by Adventure Outfitters of Tampa.


Donations will first go toward much needed improvements in the snow leopard “cat-a-tat” at Big Cat Rescue.  We would like to reconfigure this large enclosure to allow us to rotate the two snow leopards, Hercules and Chloe, through the three separate sections of the enclosure.  The intermittent change in location provides a form of enrichment to make their lives more interesting and allows us to better allocate their presence on the tour route.  Funding beyond that will be applied to their ongoing support, with a portion to be allocated to the Snow Leopard Trust for their efforts to protect the wild brethren of Hercules and Chloe.  Donation levels and benefits are explained below.


The team of four will be lead by Leon Watts, Managing Owner of Adventure Outfitters, pictured here with Hercules.  In addition to operating an amazing “gear shop”, Leon leads climbing, scuba and other adventure trips and is a nationally recognized speaker and writer on scuba diving, ship wrecks and adventure travel.  His previous climbs include ascents of Cotopaxi, Imbabura, Ruminahui, Sincholagua, and Gua gua Pichincha in Ecuador,  Aconcagua, Mexican Volcanos,  Cascade summits, the White Mountains as well as the Colorado Rockies, Table Rock, North Carolina, Africa and a couple of low ones in the Himalayas.  Photos from the summits of some of those climbs, like the one here from Cotopaxi, can be seen at  The Florida team has been preparing for the climb for a number of years with ascents of Mt. Rainier in Washington State, El Pico de Orizaba in Mexico, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and a number of other peaks in North and South America.  Expedition members are Tampa residents Leon Watts, Isaac Shaffer, John Pando, and John Hansen.  This climb is a precursor to a 2008 Mt. Everest Expedition.


The mountain was first climbed in 1956 by a Sino-Russian Team. Mustagh is relatively “easily” approached and its gradual western slopes entice many climbers, but its elevation makes ascending to the summit a serious climb.

The climb will utilize a Base Camp and two intermediate camps, Camp One and Camp Two, the latter also known as “High Camp”.  Base Camp is large and well stocked. Camp One is higher up. This is a smaller and less comfortable camp where the team will rest when preparing to go higher and set up Camp Two. Camp Two is usually a small tent in which the team will spend a night or so getting ready for the summit attempt.

The team will go from Base camp to Camp One several times carrying loads and acclimatizing. Then, once settled into Camp One, they will start carrying smaller loads to Camp Two, returning to One for rest. “CLIMB HIGH SLEEP LOW” is the mantra for acclimatizing. Once Camp Two is stocked and established they will retreat to Base Camp to rest, eat, and prepare for the final assault. Then they will move to Camp One and spend one night, move to Camp Two and spend one night, and finally attempt to summit. If the first attempt is unsuccessful, they can retreat to either camp for rest or shelter and begin again.


Snow Leopard MountainSupport levels are based on how much you would like to donate per foot of the 24,758 feet of the climb.  The levels start at one tenth of a cent per foot, or $24.76, as listed below.  At the higher levels you “participate” from home by having your name or company logo on a sign that will appear at media events and in the photos taken at the camps and summit, or at the top level you can even have your name or logo on the climbers’ jackets!  The levels are designed to allow participation by anyone interesting in helping our snow leopards and those in the wild, from the most modest budget to those who are able to have greater impact.  Benefits involving photos and video of the summit are contingent upon successful ascent.  Every donation counts and we appreciate your participation at whatever level your budget permits.

Thank you for considering supporting our snow leopards and snow leopard conservation by donating to the climb!

For more information about snow leopards and the Snow Leopard Trust click here.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *