Cho Oyu Expedition
Cho Oyu stands along the Nepali-Tibetan border about 18 miles west of Everest, tied to it by a long ridge with five summits over 23,000 feet. Cho Oyu is the world's sixth highest peak but has the highest success rate of all the 8000 meter peaks because of the quality of its route, the good conditions typically found there, and its ease of access. This expedition is a joint AAI/Adventure Consultants undertaking.
Cho Oyu from base camp near the Nangpa La. Arthur Collins
Cho Oyu Expedition
Trip Structure and Itinerary
Expedition team members meet in Kathmandu, Nepal, and after recovering from our international flights, we fly to Lhasa, Tibet. There we meet staff from the Tibetan Mountaineering Association, do final organizing of our gear, and enjoy some sightseeing in this beautiful city while acclimatizing to the 11,614-foot altitude. Our touring will include the Potala Palace, the Jokhang temple, and the Barkhor bazaar.
After two nights in Lhasa, we board Chinese vehicles for the journey across the Tibetan Plateau to the Himalaya. We spend three nights on the plateau and take one full day for rest and acclimatization before reaching road's end at 15,750 feet. From there it is just a two-day trek, with yaks carrying supplies to our base camp at 18,375 feet. This is a spectacular spot below the famous Nangpa La pass, the ancient trade route between Tibet and the Indian sub-continent.
Our route is on the west ridge and northwest face, and it begins with a climb up moraines of the Gyabrag Glacier and a tributary glacier on the west side of the mountain to Camp 1 at 20,340 feet. From there our route offers excellent snow and ice climbing on a ridge before reaching a small icefall that we pass to a broad plateau where we place Camp 2 at 23,625 feet in a football field with great views up to the summit. This section of the climb will involve front-pointing on steep terrain and the use of fixed ropes.
On the summit of Cho Oyu!
Above that point we have climbing on 30-degree snow and ice to reach Camp 3 at 24,935 feet from which we will mount our summit bid. The climb to the top will take at least twelve hours round trip and will involve a rock band just above camp (more fixed ropes), varied snow and ice climbing, and a final snow couloir to the summit plateau.
Our climbing plan involves several trips up the mountain as far as Camp 2 for acclimatization, with some rest days at the base camp between the forays. Two bottles of oxygen will be available for each member for the summit climb, and a small team of our Sherpas from Nepal will accompany the expedition to provide extra carrying power and ensure the high camps are well stocked for the summit climb. But even with that help, this will be a very strenuous ascent requiring solid alpine skills and excellent fitness. Like most big climbs, the rewards match the effort required, and having achieved for yourself the chance to stand on Cho Oyu's summit is a tremendous accomplishment.