Standing 20 km to the west of Mount Everest on the Nepal-Tibet border, Cho Oyu is a true Himalayan giant. At 8,201 m it is the 6th highest peak in the world and an excellent objective, be it for your once-in-a-lifetime 8,000 m peak, or as your final preparation before attempting Mount Everest.
We tackle the mountain via the NW ridge, which is the original route used by the Austrian team who were the first to climb the mountain in 1952. Access to the mountain is notoriously easy, as we drive from Kathmandu, cross the Himalaya and after some acclimatization stops and day hikes, arrive at Chinese Base Camp. A two day trek brings us to Advance Base Camp, from where we tackle the mountain via the placement of three camps. The climbing on the mountain is relatively straight-forward, with the two cruxes being a short but steep ice-cliff between Camps 1 and 2, and a prolonged, steep rock band directly above Camp 3.
Given the extreme altitude, the mountain is a very serious objective and neither the climb nor your preparation for the climb should be taken lightly. You’ll need to be as fit as you can possibly be, and when you’re climbing through the rock band above Camp 3 on your summit push, you’ll understand why! Once we reach the cusp of the summit plateau in the early hours of the morning, you’ll have to summon the energy to cross the wide plateau at over 8,100 m before finally standing on the main summit. If the weather is clear, once you are on the summit the spectacular panorama will make it all worth it. From the top you’ll be able to see Shishapangma, Gyachung Kang, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and of course, Mount Everest!
Why Himalayan Ascent?
Himalayan Ascent has been guiding on Cho Oyu since 2009 and we possess both the technical expertise and logistical know-how to make this a fantastic expedition experience for you. Out of all the 8000 m peaks, Cho Oyu is the one with the highest rate of success, and is thus an excellent option both for climbers looking to extend their experience to higher altitudes and for those training for larger objectives. We’ll take care of all the logistical hurdles of crossing the Chinese border and getting you to our comfortable basecamp, while you can focus on the climb ahead of you. Once on the mountain, our experienced guides will provide you with the support you need for your best chance of success.
This 5 ½ week expedition is suited to experienced Himalayan climbers with previous expedition experience to mountains of at least 6,000 m, but preferably 7,000 m.
- Stunning views of Lhotse, Nuptse, Oho Oyu, Makalu, Shispangma and Makalu
- Colourful Buddhist culture and spirited Sherpa people
- Summiting one of the highest mountain in the world
A Himalayan Ascent representative will collect you from the airport. It’s a free day to recover from your international flight, and to meet your guides and team. Later in the evening, there will be a group briefing and welcome group dinner.Day 2:In Kathmandu
This is a free day for you prepare and check through equipment with your guides. There will be time to rent/buy anything else if needed. We’ll organise your visa for Tibet at the Embassy. Meanwhile, any spare time you can sight see some of the many World Heritage sites Kathmandu has to offer.Day 3-4: Drive Kathmandu to Nyalam (3750m)
Together with the rest of your team, you will board jeeps and start the drive to the Tibetan border at Kodari. It will take us 6 days to drive to BC, and along the way we will stay in lodges, taking a couple of extra days to let ourselves adjust to the high altitude of the Tibetan Plateau. The first night we will stay in the border town of Zhangmu (2300m). We continue on the next day through a series of narrow river gorges up to Nyalam.Day 5: Acclimatisation day in Nyalam
It is critical to the success of an expedition like this to let our bodies gradually acclimatise to the altitude. This will be the first of several rest and acclimatisation days we will take along the way to foster this process. We will spend the day hiking up nearby ridges fluttering with prayer flags to catch a glimpse of Shishapangma.Day 6-7: Drive Nyalam to Tingri, and acclimatisation in Tingri (4300m)
The next day we will continue onto Tingri. We take it easy here as we spend an extra day acclimatising, with fabulous views of the northern Himalayas from the town. Cho Oyu will be the most impressive peak on the horizon.Day 8-9: Drive Tingri to Cho Oyu BC, and acclimatisation in BC (4800m)
From Tingri, we will drive along a bumpy track south to the end of the road at ]Cho Oyu BC. We will spend the next day adjusting to the altitude and camp, and getting our loads ready for yaks to carry up the next day.Day 10-11: Trek to Advanced BC (5650m)
Followed by a train of yaks carrying the expedition’s supplies, we will trek up a long valley to Advance Base Camp. This is when the time we have taken to acclimatise will really pay off. We will break the journey over 2 days and spend these nights in intermediate camps.Day 12-16: Rest, acclimatisation and puja at ABC
Once we’re settled into our home for the next few days at ABC, we’ll rest and allow our bodies to acclimatise. This is also a time for conducting final gear checks and inspecting equipment. Our Sherpas guides will be establishing camps higher on the mountain in preparation for our climb rotations. Tibetan locals and our Sherpa guides have a strong spiritual relationship with the mountains, so in respect and to honour Cho Oyu, a local lama will perform a puja to wish us success and safety.Day 17-25: Rotations to Camp 1 (6400m) and Camp 2 (7000m)
We begin our first forays on the mountain with a series of climbs: half way to Camp 1, then to Camp 1 and eventually to Camp 2. Between climbs we will return to base camp to rest or we will sleep at the higher camps to continue improving our acclimatisation physiology. The route between ABC and Camp 1 is a steep climb from the terminal moraine of the glacier, then up on the moraine to a snow shoulder. The next section, Camp 1 to 2, is the hardest on the mountain. We will follow the snow ridge to ice cliffs and climb up a steep 50m ice cliff at 6600m. This is a strenuous climb so be prepared! Once up the ice cliff, we wander between crevasses to camp at 7000m.Day 26-27: Rest in BC
It is important to rest at a lower altitude before our final push to Camp 3 and the summit. This allows your muscles to recover with higher oxygen levels and improved nutrition from the base camp kitchen. Also relax your mind, climbing a mountain is both a physical and mental challenge. Take this time to reset your mind to prepare you for the mental challenges ahead above 8000m.Day 28-32: Climb to Camp 3 (7400m) and Summit Cho Oyu
Finally, when the conditions are right we will progress back up the mountain, sleeping at Camp 1 and 2 before finally pushing up to Camp 3. Located just below a rock band a short distance from Camp 2, the route to Camp 3 is relatively straight forward. However, with increasing altitude each step is an effort! Camp 3 overlooks the Tibetan plateau to the north and the peaks of Nepal to the south. Summit day starts early climbing first up the rock band and then the summit’s back slopes. We climb up the 40o slope to the summit, when conditions are good, the last stage climb can take 2 hr to reach summit glory! From here the view offers a wonderful vista including Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama dablam and Gaurishankar. On our descent we will drop back to Camp 3 for the night, and then Camp 1 before reaching base camp.Day 33-34: Pack up ABC, trek to BC and drive to Tingri
With the summit complete, we pack up ABC and prepare for the journey home. We trek back across the glacier to base camp and load jeeps to take us to Tingri.Day 35-36: Drive to Lhasa
It’s the familiar road journey back to Kathmandu with a stop at Zhangmu, our last Tibetan town before re-entrying Nepal. Once in Kathmandu, you can enjoy and share your excitement for climbing the world’s 6th highest mountain with friends. We will have a celebratory dinner with everyone!Day 37:Depart Kathmandu
Time to depart crazy Kathmandu to friends and family at home. We’ll see you on your next Himalayan adventure.