Shishapangma Expedition (8012m)
Shishapangma is the 14th highest peak of the world with an altitude of 8012m. This mountain is considered as one of the easiest 8000m mountains to climb. Shishapangma is also the highest peak in the Langtang Himal area. The trademark of Shishapangma is a long, steep, craggy southern face rising over 2000m, makes an imposing sight to all world to climb. The Nepalese name of the peak is Gosaitan meaning “The Holy Place”. The Tibetan name is Xixapangma and it means literally "The Mountain overlooking the grassy plains". Shishapangma is only the peak with the height over 8000m which is totally located in Tibet.
Shishapangma was the last 8000m peak to be climbed. It is the closest 8000m Peak for possible Expedition from Kathmandu even though it lies totally in Tibet. Hsu Ching and his ten-man Chinese climbing team in 1964 had made first successful Shishapangma Expedition reaching to the summit via northwest face of Mt. Shishapangma and it was finally opened to foreign teams in 1980.
Shishapangma Expedition can be made from its South and North faces. This expedition is easier and less technical as well better commercial from Mt. Shishapangma’s North face. Due to a massif 2000m face and few challenging lines the South face of Mt. Shishapangma requires a good level of alpine climbing experience. The south face route is not feasible for the beginners of mountain climbing. There are two separate base camps for Shishapangma Expedition. They are to be used for Expedition Base separately from south and North side. The access to both Base Camps is very convenient by SUV from Nyalam, a considerable and rapidly expanding town and two days of hike to the Advanced Base Camp (5800m) of Mt. Shishapangma.
Shishapangma Expedition 2011 through Snowy Horizon:
Snowy Horizon had organized a successful Shishapangma Expedition Autumn 2011 with total number of 43 members from Hong Kong, China and Romania. The actual no. of expeditors is 12 where as 10 of them were filming group up to advance base camp of Mt. Shishapangma. In this Expedition total 18 members of students and teachers had also participated as the observer of the Expedition up to the advance base camp of Shishapangma.
The Snowy Horizon Shishapangma Expedition Spring 2012 is also scheduled to be operated from 8th Apr 2012 till 26th May. This expedition is designed for experienced high mountain climbers expecting to be a leader and product of our renowned Himalayan Expedition Programs but hopping to work being individual participant. This expedition program is also designed for both natures of climbers willing to have only base camp service or full board service for the Mt. Shishapangma as per our offer. However for both types of clients, it is expected that they/he need to be involved in all expects of climbing activity. Previous high altitude Himalayan climbing or a strong resume of alpine ascents accompanied by moderate altitude climbs is required for this program. If you are a first timer to 8000m peaks, we suggest you that Cho Oyuwould be a better choice for you instead of Shishapangma.
Climbing Shishapangma will bring you the great opportunity to escape the crowds of the busier mountains like Mt. Everest and Cho Oyu while challenging yourself on 8000m peak climbing. Shishapangma Expedition is a beautiful climbing that sees only a fraction of the traffic of Cho Oyu just to the South-east.
Approaches to ABC from Kathmandu:
- 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.
Cho Oyu- Shishapangma combined Expedition:
The Shishapangma 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 Snowy Horizon. 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's the right choice for you.
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: 8,027m (26,335ft)
Location: Langtan Range/Tibet
Coordinates: 28.35°N 85.783°E
First Ascent: Joseph Hsu Ching (China), 1964
Climbing Season: Late spring and autumn
Exped duration: 44 days (typically)
Climbing duration: 27 days (typically)
Group Size: 02-15 person per Group