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Cho Oyu • Guided ascent of the Northwest Ridge

Tingri Plateau, Gyabrag Glacier approach

Details

Length:

45 days in Tibet

Climbing Season:

Fall

Climbing Grade:

Cost

$24,000

Climbing Grade: Advanced

This climb requires a high level of climbing proficiency on steep, exposed and technical terrain above 8000 meters. Class 5.6 rock climbing is required. Excellent physical conditioning is requisite for this expedition. Climbers must provide climbing resume including high altitude experience.

Climbing Grade: Advanced Intermediate

This climb requires a high level of climbing proficiency on steep, exposed and technical terrain at high altitude. Class 4 ice or 5.8 rock climbing is required. Excellent physical conditioning is requisite for this expedition. Climbers must provide climbing resume including high altitude experience.

Climbing Grade: Intermediate

This climb requires snow and ice climbing skills with proficiency on steep and icy terrain. Strong backpacking and excellent physical conditioning is requisite for this expedition. Prior climbing experience is required. High altitude experience is beneficial.

Climbing Grade: Advanced Beginner

Prior climbing experience is beneficial. Basic snow and ice climbing skills are introduced during the program. Above average physical conditioning is requisite for this climb. No high altitude experience is required.

Climbing Grade: Beginner

No prior climbing experience is required. Strong hiking skills and good physical conditioning are requisite.

Trekking Grade: Easy

No experience required.

Trekking Grade: Moderate

This trek requires 4-6 hours of hiking per day with a small pack. Elevation gains of 1000-2000 feet per day. Strong hiking skills and good physical conditioning are requisite.

Trekking Grade: Strenuous

This trek requires 6-8 hours of hiking per day with a small pack. Elevation gains of 2000-3000 feet per day. Strong hiking skills and great physical conditioning are requisite.

If you have further questions about our climbing or trekking grades; or about your qualifications for a particular expedition, trek, climb or course, please contact us.

We also offer Manaslu, the 8th highest peak in Nepal. Join owner Dennis Broadwell this coming fall on Manaslu.

Expedition Overview

The sixth highest mountain on earth, Cho Oyu is located a mere twelve miles west of Mount Everest and lies on the border between China and Nepal. This beautifully sculpted peak is known by locals as the “Turquoise Goddess“ and is approached from the north by way of the Tibetan Plateau. Our fully supported expedition ascends the moderate Northwest Ridge or the normal route. While considered one of the more modest eight thousand meter peaks, the route is long and poses some significant difficulties including a series of steep ice cliffs. Cho Oyu is a great introduction into high altitude climbing or for those eventually seeking to climb Mount Everest. The mountain while not posing substantial technical climbing difficulty, does require a high level of climbing proficiency on steep and exposed terrain at high altitude.

Mountain Gurus offers a world class expedition. Kili Sherpa, Director of Nepal Operations is base in Kathmandu and is a highly respected expedition organizer, leader and mountaineer. He has organized over 150 expeditions in the Himalaya and takes great pride in managing our ground operations and working with our highly experienced team of Sherpa guides and expedition staff.

Cho Oyu Expedition • Northwest Ridge • 45 days

Our expedition begins in the historic city of Kathmandu known for its fascinating Nepalese culture and ancient temples. We have the option of traveling overland to Tibet via the famous “Friendship Highway“ or by air to Lhasa once the traditional seat of the Dalai Lama and home of the remarkable Potala Palace. After arriving in the traditional Tibetan village of Tingri, we approach the mountain from Chinese Base Camp and the Gyabrag Glacier. We trek to Advanced Base Camp located at the base of Cho Oyu and just east of Nangpa La, a glaciated pass that serves as the main trading route between Tibet and the Khumbu Valley. Over the next three weeks our ascent follows an acclimatization schedule of equipment carries and rest days. During the climb we ascend the steep ice cliff at 21,100 feet as our climbing team works to establish a series of three high camps on the upper flanks of the mountain. The views of Mount Everest and the Khumbu region from the summit of Cho Oyu are nothing less than spectacular.

Manaslu Expedition • 45 days

Above Basecamp: The route up to Camp 1 involves climbing over grassy slopes, rock slabs and moraine, followed by a crevassed glacier with occasional small ice steps to Camp 1 at 5700 metres/18,700 feet.

From Camp 1: The route to Camp 2, at 6,200m/20,341ft, is considered the technical crux of the climb with some steep sections fixed with ropes and occasionally ladders. The terrain features long 40 degree snow slopes with a few vertical ice steps where front-point cramponing is required with the aid of fixed ropes.

From Camp 2: Above Camp 2 the slopes ease off with fixed ropes on intermittent steep sections but in general the route to Camp 3 (6900 m/22,637ft) is relatively straightforward.

From Camp 3: There is 1800ft of climbing to Camp 4 at 7,450m/26,781ft.

Itinerary

Flight Schedule: USA – Bangkok (BKK) – Kathmandu (KTM)
Expedition begins and ends in Kathmandu, Nepal

Day 1 • Arrive Kathmandu
Transfer airport to hotel. Our trek begins in the historic city of Kathmandu, known for its fascinating Nepalese culture and ancient temples. The hotel is located in the popular Thamel district jammed with restaurants and shops selling Nepali handicrafts.

Day 2 • Kathmandu
We have an expedition orientation and equipment check. This will be followed by dinner in one of Kathmandu’s fine restaurants.

Day 3 • Kathmandu
After breakfast we start our day with a walking tour of Kathmandu’s world heritage sites. Among them we visit Durbar Square a complex of palaces, courtyards, Hindu temples and home of the Living Goddess, Kumari Ghar. Next and always a favorite we visit the Monkey Temple known as Swayambunath, situated on a small hill that offers panoramic views of the city and very curious monkeys. The next day we have an expedition orientation and equipment check.

Day 4 • Zhangmu
Our expedition departs the Kathmandu Valley, driving through the Nepali countryside and along the Friendship Highway to the border towns of Kodari and Zhangmu. We cross the Bhote River passing the international border of Nepal and China.

Day 5 • Nyalam
We drive across the Tibetan Plateau to Nyalam.

Day 6 • Nyalam
Rest and acclimatization in Nyalam.

Day 7 • Tingri
Drive to the small trading town of Tingri.

Day 8 • Chinese Base Camp • 15,000ft
Today we drive through the scenic valley leading to Chinese base camp.

Day 9 • Chinese Base Camp • 15,000ft
Rest and acclimatization days.

Day 10 • Trek to Intermediate Camp • 17,000ft
After breakfast we will depart on the two day journey to advanced base camp. We cross Ra Chhu River and trek to intermediate camp.

Day 11 • Arrive in Advance Base Camp • 18,500ft
We trek along the moraine of the Gyabrag Glacier to Advanced Base Camp located at the base of Cho Oyu and just east of Nangpa La; a glaciated pass that serves as the main trading route between Tibet and the Khumbu Valley.

Day 12-41 • Climb of Cho Oyu
Over the next three weeks our ascent follows an acclimatization schedule of equipment carries and rest days as our climbing team works to establish a series of three high camps on the upper flanks of the mountain. From base camp, the route goes up a meandering glacier till below the Northwest Ridge, a steep, loose slope leads to camp one.

Camp 1 – Ice Cliff – Camp 2 • 21,300ft (6,500m)
The route continues up the ice and snow covered Northwest Ridge, passing a short but steep ice wall, which is one of the technical cruxes of the route.

Camp 2 – Camp 3 • 23,300ft (7,100m)
From camp 2 to camp 3 the route climbs more steeply up the West Face.

Summit Attempt • 23,300ft (7,100m)
On summit day, the route climbs directly above camp 3 to a short but steep headwall of rock and ice, the second crux of the route. Above this obstacle, the route continues up the West Face, till the summit plateau is reached. A long but gradual climbs then leads to the top.

Day 42 • Chinese Base Camp • Tingri
This morning we trek from advanced base camp and once again arrive in Chinese base camp, we transport to Tingri.

Day 43 • Kathmandu
Drive to Zhangmu; after crossing the international border we return to Kathmandu.

Day 44 • Kathmandu • Contingency Day
An additional day is scheduled in the event of delays. The day remains flexible depending on the desires of the group. There are many opportunities to tour Kathmandu’s world heritage sites. Pashupatinath Temple one of the most famous Hindu temples in Nepal, the Buddhist temples of Boudhanath and the temples in the city of Patan south of Kathmandu are recommended. Some in the group may simply want to relax and shop in Thamel.

Day 45 • Depart
Transport to Tribhuvan International Airport for flights home.


Itinerary Notes: Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the particular needs of the group. Please request a detailed itinerary for a list of scheduled and non-scheduled meals.

Details

Land Cost
Price per person: $24,000 (based on minimum of 2 climbers w/ American guide)

Lhasa Overland w/ Everest Northside extension: $4000


Deposit and Payments
$10,000 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application.
Balance due 90 days prior to departure


Services included
Climbing permit and fees, Liaison officer
Overland transport from Kathmandu to Cho Oyu Base Camp
All scheduled land transportation in Nepal
4 nights Hotel Yak and Yeti accommodations in Kathmandu (5 star)
Sightseeing tour in Kathmandu
Tibet lodges or Tea House trek and single tented accommodations at Base Camp
Expedition leadership from American mountain guide
Professional English-speaking Sherpa climbing guide, high altitude porters
Base Camp coordinator and expedition cook and staff
Dining tent w/ gas heater and hot shower, toilet tent
Solar charging, communications
Scheduled meals during the expedition
Oxygen bottles, mask and regulator, Top-out system
Porter and Yak service
Baggage transport (2 duffel bags 20kg – 44lbs)
All group equipment for the expedition (including tents, stoves, group climbing gear, fixed ropes)


Services not included
International airfare – USA – Kathmandu
Non-scheduled meals
Helicopter service
Communication charges
Snack food during the expedition
Personal gear
Trip cancellation insurance
Medical and evacuation coverage
Summit bonus for climbing Sherpa
Staff gratuities

Gear List

8000 Meter • Cho Oyu

Head and Face:
• Warm Synthetic/ Wool hat: One that covers the ears.
• Heavyweight Balaclava
• Neoprene Facemask
• Sun Hat or Baseball cap
• Sunglasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Bring a high quality pair designed for
mountain use. Attachable side shields are necessary, glacier glasses. Plus an extra pair
• Ski Goggles w/ 100% UV protection
• Sunscreen: SPF 40 or more.
• Lip Balm: SPF 20 or more.
• Bandanas: Tied around neck they give good sun protection.
• Climbing Headlamp: Bring plenty of batteries.

Upper Body:
• Upper Body Layers: We recommend you have three warm layers for the upper body.
Items must be made of synthetic or pile. Make sure all layers fit comfortably
over each other and supply good insulation. A good combination is a long
underwear top, a sweater, and a pile jacket. Cotton items do not provide
adequate insulation and are completely useless when damp.
• Synthetic Fleece Jacket and/or Pullover: Medium weight
• Shirts: Two synthetic shirts are best for trekking. Two or Three cotton shirts
for camp or lodges. Two or Three synthetic long sleeve shirts for climbing.
• Hard Shell Jacket w/ hood: Snow and high wind can be common. GORE-TEX© or
waterproof nylon that has been “seam sealed”.
• 8000 meter Expedition Down Parka or Suit with insulated hood: 700+ fill down
• Insulated Synthetic Jacket or Vest: Medium weight
• Wind Shirt: A nylon wind shell (not waterproof)

Handwear:
• Lightweight Synthetic gloves: Two pair (capilene is recommended)
• Heavyweight Synthetic gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)
• Shell Gloves w/ insulated removable liner: One pair
• Expedition Shell Mittens w/ wrist straps: One pair

Lower Body:
• Quick Dry Hiking Shorts: One pair. Good for hiking at lower elevations in the mountains.
• Long Underwear Bottoms: Two pair. Synthetic, no cotton
• Heavyweight Long Underwear Bottoms: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton
• Pile/Fleece Pants: One pair that fit loosely and comfortable. These are
essential to be worn over the long underwear bottoms. (full side zips)
• Hard Shell Pants: Bring a good pair of rain/wind pants of GORE-TEX© or waterproof
nylon that has been “seam sealed”. (full side zips)
• 8000 meter Expedition Down Pants or Suit: Outer shell must be windproof DryLoft©
• Trekking/Camp Pants: Two pair for light trekking or camp
• Climbing Pants: Synthetic, comfortable to climb in and provide good
warmth on cool misty days, dry fast and prevent sunburn. Schoeller© fabric is recommended.
• Gaiters: One pair of high gaiters to keep dirt and snow out of boots.
• Undergarments: Enough for the duration of the program.

Footwear:
• Double Plastic Climbing Boots w/ high altitude liners or Millet Everest
• Insulated Overboots: Not needed if using Millet Everest
• Lightweight Socks: Four pair of synthetic liner socks to wear under heavy socks.
• Trekking Socks: Three pair synthetic medium weight
• Heavyweight Socks: Four pair of synthetic socks to wear for warmth with climbing boots.
• Hiking Boots or Trekking Shoes: One pair medium weight hiking boots/shoes large enough
to be comfortable with one liner sock and one heavy synthetic sock.
• Camp Shoes or sandals: These are to wear in camp or lodges.
• Down Booties (optional)

Sleeping:
• Sleeping Bag: Mountain temperatures can get below zero degrees Fahrenheit
so bring a warm bag (rated to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit).
• Sleeping Bag: Second bag for base camp (rated to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit).
• Sleeping Pad: Two pads, one closed-cell foam pad and an inflatable THERMA-REST© pad.

Packing and Backpack:
• Backpack: One lightweight medium size (3500-4000 cubic inches) comfortable pack with some
support, adequate to carry personal gear. The pack should fit properly and have a
good waist belt. Carry gear between 35 and 50 pounds.
• Trekking Backpack: optional for trek.
• Duffle/zip Bag: Two large size, transporting gear via yaks or porters.
• Duffle/zip Bag: One medium size, store non-mountain gear during the expedition.
• Travel locks, nametags, and contact information written directly on the duffels.
• Bags: (5) large plastic bags (5) large Ziploc bags (2) stuff sacks
• Passport with three extra photos (photo for the Nepal Entry Visa)

Climbing Gear:
• Trekking poles: adjustable and collapsible
• Ice axe w/Leash: 70cm recommended
• Crampons
• Alpine Climbing Harness w/ adjustable leg loops
• Carabiners Non-locking: Two lightweight (BD Hotwire)
• Carabiners Locking: Two large pear-shaped, screw gate
• Ascender: Left or right handed
• Prussik Cord: 40 feet, 6mm perlon
• Rappel/Delay device: Figure 8 recommended

Drinking:
• Water Bottle: Three, one liter wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©
• Water Bottle Insulators
• Water Treatment: We recommend you bring two bottles of “Potable Aqua” or a “Polar Pure”,
crystal iodine in a bottle, to treat drinking water.
• Water Flavoring: Lemonade, Tang, Gatoraid, etc.

Personal Health and First Aid
• Small personal first-aid kit and medications
• Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and Lexan spoon
• Personal Items

Gear: A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Travel

International Programs • Nepal • Tibet, China

Program start time & location: begins and ends in Kathmandu

Visa/Entry Information: A passport and visa are required. American citizens may obtain a visa prior to travel or purchase 15 day multiple-entry visa ($25), 30 day multiple-entry visa ($40), or 90 day multiple-entry visa ($100) upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.

A valid passport and visa are required to enter and exit China and must be obtained from Chinese Embassies or Consulates before traveling to China. Since visa policies change often MG will update you once your application and deposit are accepted.

Health & Immunizations: Immunizations are not required for entry into Nepal or China.

Flight Travel Information: USA – Bangkok (BKK) – Kathmandu (KTM)

MG provides land transportation to and from Tibet, China.

International Departures: Our itineraries reflect the date and time you’ll need to arrive in country for a particular program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the countries, destination city. When booking your flight you’ll need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It’s easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you’ll need to arrive.

Meals and Food: All meals are provided as per meal schedule. (see itinerary for meal schedule)

Gear: A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Even the most experienced climbers have questions and if this is your first time on an Expedition, Trek or Northwest Climb you’re sure to have them. We provide information about such things as travel dates, itineraries and required equipment throughout our website. However, if you can’t find the answers you seek anywhere else, we try to provide them here!

Travel & Insurance

When do I need to arrive and depart?

International Departures: Our itineraries reflect the date and time you’ll need to arrive in country for a particular program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the countries, destination city. When booking your flight you’ll need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It’s easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you’ll need to arrive.

Domestic Departures: Regarding Northwest programs our itineraries reflect the date and time the program begins at a particular start location (North Cascades NP, Olympic NP, etc.). When flying to Washington State you’ll likely need to arrive the day before the climb begins in order to meet the group at the program start location. In regards to your departure flight, our return time to the program start location is often unpredictable. We suggest a hotel reservation for the night of the last day and plan to return home the day after the end of the program.

What if I want to arrive early or depart later than the program? Mountain Gurus can assist in arranging accommodations before or after the program. Our Operations Director can recommend things to do if you desire.

Will a Mountain Gurus agent greet me at the airport? For International programs depending on your arrival time, we coordinate ground transportation. We either greet you at the airport or arrange transportation to your hotel. In most cases the program formally begins the morning after arrival day.

Do you recommend trip cancellation insurance? Mountain Gurus highly recommends purchasing of trip cancellation and travel insurance. This comprehensive travel insurance provides coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, travel delays, loss of baggage and travel documents, baggage delays, medical expenses and emergency assistance.

Do I need any other insurance? Make sure you provide yourself adequate traveler’s medical and evacuation insurance for coverage should you have a problem during the trip.

Should I have concerns when traveling internationally? We recommend registering with the United States Department of State when traveling anywhere internationally. Registration is voluntary and is your sole responsibility. Also, the United States Department of State maintains a travel Warning/Alerts list for most countries around the world. www.travel.state.gov

Experience and Fitness

What are climbing and trekking grades? Mountain Gurus provides climbing and trekking grades to help our client choose which programs are best suited for their experience level, knowledge of climbing and overall physical conditioning. Mountain travel can be extremely challenging yet profoundly rewarding. We offer programs of various skill levels and difficulty. Regardless which program you choose we expect our clients to be physically and mentally prepared for the demands of the journey.

Can anyone participate on your MG programs? We feel that anyone in reasonably good physical fitness should be able to join us on many of our programs. Mountain Gurus guides will introduce basic trekking and climbing skills needed during the course of the program. Remember your ability to participate in the program is largely dependent upon your overall health and fitness. An expedition, trek or climb shouldn’t be taken lightly and we encourage you to prepare for it by physically conditioning yourself for the strenuous aspects of the program. We strongly advise anyone who is considering a climb with Mountain Gurus, who may have a medical condition or medical history that may affect their performance, first consult with their physician. If you have further questions or concerns please contact us and our Operations Director can discuss which program is best suited for you.

Domestic & International Programs

How can I find out about necessary visas or entry requirements for the country I am visiting? Mountain Gurus will send you all necessary visa information contained within our pre-departure package. In most case American citizens can obtain a visa upon arrival. It is your responsibility to send in all pre-required visa applications and associated fees. In addition most countries maintain websites that provide all necessary information and application forms.

How can I find about necessary immunizations for the area where I am traveling? As part of your itinerary, we’ll provide you with current recommended/required immunizations for the country where you are traveling. You can always consult the Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov

Can I hire an additional porter? On International programs Mountain Gurus can arrange hire of a personal porter if desired for an additional cost. Please notify MG in advance if you’re considering a personal porter.

Can additional gear or clothing be stored during the program duration? In most cases additional items can be stored at the hotel or with our ground operator.

What type of accommodations can I expect?

Hotels: During our stay in international destination cities you can expect to stay in high quality hotels. When available we opt to stay in smaller boutique style hotels that provide a friendly atmosphere and high quality experience.

Camping or Lodges: When camping we provide our clients with high quality mountaineering tents. Depending on the expedition or climb clients participate in setting up tents and help in establishing camp as well as participate in cooking. On Treks and Tours, Mountain Gurus provides our clients with a fully supported experience, your tent will be set up and waiting when you arrive in camp and you’ll be greeted with hot water and a cup of tea. Destinations like Nepal we often opt to stay in high quality lodges (also known as Tea Houses) as an alternative to camping. Due to our local knowledge we choose from the finest lodges available which provide great food and a friendly warm environment.

Do you provide single accommodations? International programs that include hotels, a single room supplement is available for an additional cost if desired. For those traveling alone who do not wish to pay an additional cost for a single room, we will pair you in a room with another same-sex team member. In the event another team member of the same sex is not available for room pairings, you will be assigned a single room. During Northwest climbs single tent accommodations are not available.

How heavy a pack do I need to carry?

On Northwest programs you will be required to carry a portion of the group gear and food, in addition to your personal gear. This should be taken into consideration when deciding what you should bring. Be prepared to carry between 40-65 lbs. depending on the length of the program and group size.

For International programs pack weight varies greatly depending on the type of program. On our fully supported Treks and Tours you will only be expected to carry a small to medium sized day pack with each trekking day’s necessary clothing and essentials. 15-30 lbs. Expeditions will be required to carry a portion of the group gear and food in addition to your personal gear. 40-65 lbs. On fully supported Expeditions we utilize high altitude climbing porters which greatly minimizes the need to carry group gear. 35-50 lbs.

Private and Custom Programs

I have a group of family/friends/colleagues and we have specific dates we would like to climb. Can you customize a program for us? All of our programs can be run on a private basis. The beauty of a private program is you climb what you want, with who you want, when you want. We’ll take care of the entire program. We are also able to provide you with a custom itinerary depending on your interests. We may require a $100 non-refundable deposit for custom program planning which will be applied towards your program cost at the time of reservation.

Equipment

Does Mountain Gurus rent equipment? We do provide limited rental gear on our Northwest programs. All rental gear is limited and needs to be reserved and paid in advance. See Northwest Climbs and Courses for details. Currently we do not rent any equipment for international programs. Also, many local climbing and outdoors stores rent gear for reasonable rates.

Where should I buy equipment? We can help you find a local climbing and outdoor shop where you can purchase the equipment you’ll need.

General

Is it customary to tip your support staff or mountain guide? On international programs where we utilize support staff (porters, cooks, kitchen staff, etc.); it is Mountain Gurus practice to take a group tip and divide it among the support staff. Tipping of Mountain Guides for a job well done is always appreciated.

How can my family get in contact with me when I’m on a on a Mountain Gurus program? After your application and deposit are accepted; you will be provided with a detailed itinerary which will include hotel and ground outfitter contact information for your program. Due to the nature of the wilderness areas we travel it is likely you will be out of contact during the duration of the program. Telephone and internet access is available in some destinations at you own expense.

What if my spouse, family or friends don’t climb; can they still join me on safari? We would be delighted to make arrangements for non-trekking family and friends to join you after the climb. We suggest you extend your safari a few days to take advantage of Tanzania’s remarkable wildlife parks and diverse landscape.

Can my son or daughter join me on the program? What’s the minimum age requirement? Possibly, we would prefer to talk with you about the program you’re interested in and see if it’s an appropriate choice for someone under the age of 18. We accept participants 16 years or older on our regularly scheduled trips, accompanied by a legal guardian.