Cho Oyu- Shishapangma Expedition
Cho Oyu- Shishapangma combined Expedition:
Shishapangma is one of the lovely mountains in the world with an altitude of 8012m.. This Mountain lies in Tibet, the Autonomous Region of the Peoples Republic of China. Only very few people in the world have an idea about the Shishapangma before Chinese opened Tibet to the western summiteers in 1980. The Tibetans regard it as the holy mountain. It is the youngest among fourteen mountains above 8000m. That lies in high Himalayan ranges. Mt. Shishapangma located in central Himalaya and lies totally inside the Tibet. To the east of Shishapangma lies Mt Molamenchen, west lies Mt Xifeng and Mt Nandengri and to the northwest Mt Kangbochen.
Mean while, 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. 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. Mt. 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. Mt. Cho Oyu is climbable during both spring and autumn seasons.
Snowy Horizon Treks & Expedition provides a perfect opportunity to ascend two peaks of 8000m in a same season, due to the proximity to Cho Oyu from Shishapangma, the infrastructure and logistics placed on both mountains by the company. The Chinese offer a modest discount on fees for climbers attempting more than one 8000m peak in a season, but the permit will have to be finalized well before the first expedition. No reimbursement will be made to such climbers for not making an attempt on Cho Oyu or Shishapangma. For climbers considering both peaks, please contact us to determine if it is the right choice for you.
The Shishapangma with Cho-Oyu (49 days) Expedition package with fixed departure dates on spring and autumn of Snowy Horizon is a group joining climbing package. We offer you special discount rates on group joining on this package. Shishapangma and Cho-Oyu Expedition also known as Tibet Combined Expedition which is one of the most popular Expedition trail in Tibet. This Expedition combines technical alpine walking with majestic panorama and a combination of cultures unmatched by any other Expedition in Tibet.
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 Nyalam (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.
Climbing Routes of Cho Oyu:
- 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.
Approaches from Kathmandu to Shishapangma ABC :
- Our standard expeditions start from Kathmandu. We cross the border to Tibet in Kodari. After 2 days of acclimatization at 3400m in Nyalam, we take 5hrs Jeep drive to the Drivers Camp at 4900m. Another possibility is to fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa/Tibet. From Lhasa it takes 2 days to get to the Chinese Camp.
- The ABC is located 18km from the Drivers Camp it takes two days to get to the Base Camp (5400m) 18 km away. From here we execute our climb through 3 camps arrangement
Climbing Route of Shishapangma:
- Shishapangma is usually climbed via Northwest face and North ridge, which is the standard commercial route. This route is considered among the easiest routes to the summit of all the 8000m peaks, and has often been skied. The greatest challenge of this route is traversing from the Central to Main Summits along a knife-edged ridge.
- The climb starts from the Base Camp (5800m) located on the lateral moraine of the Shishapangma glacier. We walk along the moraine and climb 20-30deg skiable and snow bondable snowfield to reach Camp1.
- Camp 1 (6200m) is located on flat snowfield with plenty of space for tents. From C1 we cross a small plateau and climb up to Camp 2 on another-ski able and snowboard-able snowfield.
- Camp 2 (6700m) is also located on a large flat platform. We cross large snow plateau largely flat with some minor up and down slope to eventually reach another 30deg headwall, one is is marginal for skiing due to protruding rocks.
- Camp 3 ((7400m) is located on a protected and safe rock crowned flat buttress at the bottom of the North ridge.
- Summit day is a steep ascend on a snow and rock ridge to the snow knob of false central summit. Most of climbers finish here and do not attempt snowy knife-edge ridge to the real summit less then 15m higher. The view is tremendous from here on Cho Oyu, Everest and number of 7000m satellite peaks surrounding Shishapangma.
Most of the climbing is on ice and snow slopes up to 30 degrees with a few very short sections of steeper rock and ice. This makes it a perfect for ski and snowboard descent. The first ski descent of an 8,000-meter peak was on September 19, 1987, when Polish climber Jerzy Kuczka reached the summit of Shishapangma and then skied down.
Need of Oxygen:
The Shishapangma ascents can be attempted with or without oxygen which depends on the climbers experience, stamina and strength at altitude. The climber should take a final approval from our expedition leader about the needs of oxygen. Apart from, oxygen will be placed at high camp for all climbers, and no refund will be provided if it is not used.
Is Climbing Shishapangma in Spring Better than in Autumn?
On Shishapangma like Cho Oyu (it doesn’t matter), each season has slightly different weather and different attractions but for Shishapangma being lower than Everest the reliability of good weather are roughly smooth.
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 Shishapangma because of objective avalanche danger on its 30deg slopes and the steep North ridge. 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
Expd duration: 54 days (typically)
Climbing duration: 40 days (typically)
Group Size: 02-15 person per Group