Cho-Oyu is the sixth highest mountain in the world at (8,201 meters/26,906 feet). It is known as being one of the easiest of the 8,000-meter peaks, due to its straight forward approach and lack of objective dangers. Cho-Oyu means “Goddess of Turquoise”, as its stark shadows appear this color in the light of the setting sun when viewed from Tibet. Cho-OyuIt is located about 30 kilometers west of Mt Everest and straddles the border between Nepal and Tibet. Mount Cho-Oyu was first climbed on October 19, 1954, by Austrian Joseph Joechler, Herbert Tichy, Pasang Dawa Lama (Nepal).
There are two climbing routes, one from the south (Nepal side) and another from the north, which is the west ridge and commonly referred to as the normal route. The mountain is semi-technical with short ice cliffs a rock band and several crevasses. We provide both full board and base camp logistic services on Cho-Oyu. We recommend using the full board services for safety, a secure mountaineering experience and your best opportunity to reach the summit. However, some experienced climbers may opt for climbing without support above base camp from a guide or Sherpa.
The team will assemble in Kathmandu and gather any last minute items. Upon arriving in Kathmandu, it will take 2 working days to obtain your Chinese Visa and climbing permit, but we will submit and take care of the details for you. The team will then travel overland via the Friendship Highway to Tibet. The journey takes you across the Tibetan Plateau, where you stop in Tingri and Nyalam along the way to acclimatize, before reaching the Chinese Base Camp. From the Cho-Oyu Chinese base camp, you will trek to middle camp for an overnight stay and next day make the journey to Cho-Oyu advance Base Camp, which sits below the North West face of the mountain.
The route above advanced base camp consists mainly of low-angled snow slopes up to 35° with one short but very steep section to bypass a Sérac barrier at 6,475 meters. Most of the climbers use two or three camps on the mountain before reaching the summit. Camp 1 is located at 6,400m, Camp 2 around 7,100 and the highest camp at 7,450m. Most of the climbers try to summit push from camp two and return to camp two. However, we like to make this decision based upon the health and fitness of the clients during the summit push. We are always flexible and the plan might change due to weather, fitness, illness or other unseen events. Generally, the team will spend 22-23 days committed to the summit objective, with multiple equipment and supply carries and acclimatization climbs to camp 1, 2 and 3, before attempting the summit.
Zambuling Expedition provides top quality service to ensure safety, comfort, and support that will maximize each client’s chances of a successful summit. For us, the quality of the service means, we always use private transportation from Kathmandu to base camp in a comfortable Jeep, we only use experienced and trained climbing guides, an expedition cook and experienced base camp staff. Meals are freshly cooked, with snacks and drinks available 24 hours in your dining room. We only use the highest quality personal tents, a spacious and comfortable dining tent with functional and comfortable furniture and an efficient heater, showers, solar panel for charging and lighting are all part of our advance base camp facilities.
Our Cho-Oyu climbing guides are experienced and qualified. We provide extensive training to our staff in technical western style climbing, as well as English, customer service and Wilderness First Aid. Most of our guides are qualified via TAAN, NMA, and NATHAM. They have many years of experience on big peaks and are highly skilled in all aspects of Nepal mountaineering and all hold a Nepal Government License, Mountaineering Association Accreditation and Summit Certificates of Nepal Himalayan peaks. They have thorough technical training and practical experience in rock climbing techniques, ice and snow techniques, and logistics knowledge and experience to set up and operate high altitude camps, experience in high altitude camping, techniques with fixed rope climbing, belay techniques, use of any type of mountaineering gear, use of Oxygen, high altitude food, avalanche, and high mountain rescue techniques.
Cho-Oyu Advance base camp located below North West face route at an elevation of 5,700m/18,700 feet is very comfortable and scenic. This location is surrounded by spectacular glaciers and peaks with a full frontal view of the entire Cho Oyu route from the tent. The climbing route to the summit is approximately 12 km long with an elevation gain of 2,501m. You will spend approximately 22 days here. Cho-Oyu advanced base camp is generally sunny due to its location with the sun being out early and staying late in the day. There are approximately 7-15 climbing teams each spring and autumn season.
From advanced base camp to camp will take most people 4-6 hours. This trip starts out walking along the Gyabrag Glacier, before moving to a steep scree slope that takes you to the shoulder of a broad snowfield and camps I. While camp I is set in a generally safe location. There are always risks of an avalanche on any big mountain and proper safety precautions and tent set-up are important.
Camp two is located at 7,100m/23,294 feet on a wide snow face just above a prominent 25-meter high ice cliff. To make climbing the ice cliff safer, we will fix a line up the cliff making this part of the trip safer and more enjoyable. From camp, I to camp II will take most climbers 5 -7 hours on mostly 35-38 degree snow slopes.
Camp III is located at (7,500m) which leaves the climbers with a 700-meter push for the summit day. Camp II is located just below the yellow band, which is a rock cliff that must be negotiated to reach the summit and is sometimes covered in snow. The climbing route is a straightforward, but steep snow slope above the yellow band, but very strenuous. Since we will only spend a short amount of time at camp III, this camp does not contain many amenities. Around 45% of climbers will utilize bottled oxygen above camp III. Most climbers will leave camp III for the summit around 0100 hours.
Upon leaving camp III it will take you 7-9 hours of hard work to reach the summit of Cho Oyu. Most climbers will reach the summit between 0700 and 1000 hours if the weather is stable and the conditions are good. After crossing the yellow band, which is not difficult at sea level, but can be challenging at 7,800 meters, the remainder of the summit day is a long steep snow slope that requires climbers to dig deep and keep focused.