August 26 – October 9, 2019
45 days in Tibet
The sixth highest mountain on earth at 8,188 meters, 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.
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 (18,753 ft), 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.
Climbing Cho Oyu is not an easy task. This is an expedition that requires nearly two months in Tibet, as well as prior training. It takes more than a few months to develop the climbing experience and skills needed to participant in this adventure. For many, summiting an 8000 meter peak can be a culmination of years of preparation and training, both mental and physical.
Before you consider participating in a Cho Oyu expedition, you should have four to five significant climbing expeditions under your belt. These may include Denali, Aconcagua, Mount Vinson, or other Himalayan peaks such as Island Peak. Only seasoned climbers will be accepted for the expedition group so if you are just starting out, please consider taking one of our mountaineering courses or Seven Summits climbs.
Peak physical conditioning with advanced technical skills are required to be eligible for this climb. A brief roster of the skills you must have include: extensive high altitude climbing experience, advanced mountaineering and technical skills, crampon techniques, glacier travel, fixed line use, ice axe skills, experience with ice axe self-arrest, crevasse rescue, rope knowledge including knots and anchors, and extreme weather camping. Read our The Four-Legged Stool blog post for a better understanding of what skills are required to climb an 8ooo meter peak.
If you aspire to climb Cho Oyu and are new to climbing, check out our Northwest climbs and courses to get you started developing the basics. From there, we can recommend incrementally challenging expeditions to set you on a road toward developing the skills you will need to summit an 8000 meter peak such as Everest, Manaslu or Cho Oyu.
Day 1 • Arrive Kathmandu
Day 2-3 • Kathmandu
Day 4 • Zhangmu
Day 5 • Nyalam
Day 6 • Nyalam
Day 7 • Tingri
Day 8 • Chinese Base Camp • 15,000 ft
Day 9 • Chinese Base Camp
Day 10 • Trek to Intermediate Camp • 17,000 ft
Day 11 • Arrive in Advance Base Camp • 18,500 ft
Day 12-40 • Climb of Cho Oyu
– Camp I • 21,000 ft
– Camp II • 23,100 ft
– Camp III • 24,500 ft
Day 41 • Summit Day • Cho Oyu • 26,906 ft
Day 42 • Chinese Base Camp • Tingri
Day 43 • Kathmandu
Day 44 • Kathmandu • Contingency Day
Day 45 • Depart Kathmandu
Our Cho Oyu itinerary remains flexible. We seek to gain adequate acclimatization managing our exposure at higher elevations.
Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport, Nepal (KTM). 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.
We have an expedition orientation and equipment check. As we have time we will visit local historical sites in Kathmandu.
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.
We drive across the Tibetan Plateau to Nyalam.
Rest and acclimatization in Nyalam.
Drive to the small trading town of Tingri.
Today we drive through the scenic valley leading to Chinese basecamp.
Rest and acclimatization days.
After breakfast we will depart on the two-day journey to advanced base camp. We cross Ra Chhu River and trek to intermediate camp.
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.
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.
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.
From camp 2 to camp 3 the route climbs more steeply up the West Face.
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. Then a long and gradual climb leads to the top.
This morning we trek from advanced base camp and once again arrive in Chinese base camp, we transport to Tingri.
Drive to Zhangmu, after crossing the international border we return to Kathmandu.
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.
Transport to Tribhuvan International Airport for flights home. (B)
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 needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
$10,000.00 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application.
Balance due 90 days prior to departure
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.
Note: Please read our Mountaineering Boot and Crampon guide for more information.
Begins and ends in Kathmandu, Nepal
Passport must have six months or more validity remaining at the time of entry. American citizens may obtain a visa prior to travel or upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. 90-day multiple-entry visa ($100)
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:
Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), Kathmandu, Nepal
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the countries destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.
Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.
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.
Climbing Grade: Advanced
As one of the highest points in the world, this climb requires significant physical, mental, and technical skills. Previous experience at altitude and expedition style climbing is a must. Be prepared to carry 40 lbs. packs at altitude, including supplemental oxygen tank. Experience with fixed lines, and steep snow / ice climbing are essential to making this trip a safe and enjoyable climb.
Here’s a suggested progression of climbs before attempting Cho Oyu.
Most cell phone providers will work in Tibet, check your provider for overseas rates before you leave. Cell phone and wifi service is not available at advanced basecamp and above. Thuraya satellite phone service and wifi is available at basecamp and above at higher camps ($100-$500 depending on usage).