Cho Oyu Expedition
Cho-Oyu Expedition (8,201M)
The sixth highest mountain in the world is Cho Oyu (8201m). Cho Oyu Expedition is a classic Himalayan climb and considered the easiest 8000m peak to climb via its Northwest Ridge, with no technical climbing, big snowfields, and little objective danger. Mt. Cho Oyu is easily accessed by 4-wheel-drive vehicle from Tingri, often guided, and is the first 8,000-meter peak for most climbers. Cho Oyu is located 30km west of Mt Everest and straddles the border between Nepal and Tibet. The peak can be climbed from both Nepalese side up on south face and north-east ridge routes and Tibetan side along the Northwest ridge route with North approach being an easier and a standard route, which was also the route of the first summit. The mountain Cho Oyu is climbable during both spring and autumn seasons.
For climbers that want additional support for Cho Oyu Expedition, Snowy Horizon offering a Personal Sherpa Option to you. We will assign exclusively to you one of our very best Sherpas, who has reached to the summit of Cho Oyu and Everest many times. Who has been trained through the Khumbu Sherpa climbing school, and who speaks English well. In Cho Oyu Expedition as a small, two-person team, you will be able to take advantage of the "best of both worlds" with all the "horsepower" of the main Snowy Horizon team at your disposal in case of emergency. However, Snowy Horizon will also have the additional flexibility afforded by a climbing partner who is committed to climb exclusively on your own schedule, when you want to. Your personal Sherpa will also be available to help carry your personal gear to the higher camps, and if desired, additional oxygen for Cho Oyu Expedition.
To complete expedition of Mt. Cho Oyu, we set up the Advanced Base Camp and
then three high camps in the mountain. Thereafter starts our main attempt to
scale the summit (8201m). The expedition
will be supported by very experienced staff and climbing guides. We supply excellent
mountaineering tents also for the high camps to our climbers of Mt. Cho Oyu.
Approaches to Cho Oyu from North (Tibet):
- From the north, the peak approached from the Tingri Plain, to the Palung Glacier that lies below the peak's north face, and the Gyabrag Glacier that surrounds the Northwest face.
- Typically, it takes 3 days to drive to Tingri (4300m) from Kathmandu with acclimatization stops in Zhangmu (1600m) and Nylam (3700m). From Tingri expedition takes a day rest at Chinese Base Camp (5000m), Middle Camp (5300m) before arriving at Cho Oyu North Advanced Base Camp (5700m). It takes 10 days to reach ABC from Kathmandu.
- Cho Oyu has three main ridges: the Northwest, the Northeast, and the Southwest and impressive Southwest face rising 3000m from the ABC.
- South side of Cho Oyu is a great climbing playground for high altitude climbers because of the cool face relatively easily accessible for skilled climbers.
- In 1994, Yasushi Yamanoi has completed First solo ascent via the South West face. On October 2, 2006, Slovenian Pavel Kozjek speed-climbed a new route on the Southwest Face in a single solo ascent from advanced base camp.
- The crux was a vertical icefall, which was bypassed with 5.6 rock climbing. He reached the summit in 14 hours.
- The Northwest Ridge is also known as Tichy Route. Tichy Route is a normal route for commercial operators and for first time climbers of 8000m peak. It doesn’t require technical climbing skills as it is a less then 50deg snow-field with one very short section of yellow band rock with fixed lines. The route begins from the Gyabrag Glacier at the base of Peak 6395 and the location of the advanced base camp (ABC) at 5700 m (18,700').
- The route skirts first and then ascends the screed and fern on the west side of the slope leading to Camp 1 at 6400 m (21,000') at the bottom of the Northwest ridge proper of Cho Oyu. Camp 1 location is very nice as it is well sheltered from the weather by the ridge itself and the rocks below the base of the Northwest ridge.
- From Camp 1 the route follows the Northwest ridge, and then opens out onto the Northwest face of the upper mountain. About halfway between Camp 1 and Camp 2 there is a steeper 30-50m section consisting of moderate ice cliff. Most of the route between Camp 1 and 2 is fixed with rope because there are hundreds of unskilled mountaineers with huge entourage of climbing Sherpas provided by commercial operators.
- Camp 2 is located at about 7200 m (23,500'). Some expeditions fix an intermediate temporary camp between C1 and C2, just below the ice cliff on the Northwest ridge at about 6600 m (21,600'), especially during the first or second acclimatization trip.
- Most of operators fix a high camp at about 7450 m (24,500') just below yellow bands to maximize the chance of success on summit day but occasional parties do the summit from C2. Usually the yellow bands are fixed with rope, which requires some strenuous climbing. Above this, more rocky bands there are a steep summit ridge snowfield. Expeditions usually continue up this steep snowfield to the crest of the Northwest Ridge and the false summit. From here climbers cross a broad plateau, with a very small rise to the true summit of 8201 m (26, 901 feet). From the true summit there is an incredible view of Everest and Makalu.
- Most of the climbing is on ice and snow slopes up to 50 degrees with a few very short sections of steeper rock and ice. The highest technical section is 6m high and safely climbed with fixed ropes. This makes it a perfect for ski and snowboard descent. The first American ski descent of an 8,000-meter peak was on October 1, 2002, when Montana ski mountaineer Kristopher Erickson reached the summit of Cho Oyu and then skied down.
- Speed climbing is another option on Cho Oyu. On October 2, 2006, Slovenian Pavel Kozjek speed-climbed a new route on the Southwest Face in a single solo ascent from advanced base camp. The crux was a vertical icefall, which was bypassed with 5.6 rock climbing. He reached the summit in 14 hours.
- Is Spring Climbing Better Then Autumn? On Cho Oyu, it does not matter. Each season has is slightly different and has different attractions but for Cho Oyu being lower then Everest the reliability odds of good weather are roughly even.
- Spring starts cold and then warms up so acclimatization is tough but the climb can be pleasant with slightly longer days and warmer temperatures. In spring you wait for transition between winter winds and monsoon snowfall. You don’t want to get big a snow dump on Cho Oyu because of high objective avalanche danger on its 50deg slopes past C3. The visibility in spring is usually not as clear as in autumn. Optimum spring summit usually is in around mid-May.
- Autumn climbing is nice and comfortable. It is easy to acclimatize and you basically wait for the weather transition from monsoon to winter, when winds stop before they change direction. There is lots of snow and high objective avalanche danger, so you basically wait for snowfall to stop and snow to consolidate, and hope for no snow dump just before you ready for your climb. The visibility is superb, crisp and crystal clear. Optimum autumn summit is around end of September and early October before winter cold winds set in.
Elevation: 8,201m (26,906ft)
Location: Nepal/Tibet border, 30km west of Everest
Coordinates: 28°06′00″ N 86°39′00″ E
First Ascent: Joseph Joechler, Herbert Tichy (Italy), Pasang Dawa Lama (Nepal), October 19, 1954
Climbing Season: Late spring and autumn
Duration: 45 days (typically)
Climb duration: 27 days (typically)
Group Size: 02-15 person per Group