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Cho Oyu Rapid Ascent and “Lightning Ascent” Updates

Our Rapid Ascent Cho Oyu expedition team, led by Zeb Blais, is currently sleeping at C2 (23,290′ / 7100m) and our “lightning ascent” expedition team, Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington, is currently sleeping at C1 (20,600’ / 6280m). Adrian Ballinger, Alpenglow Expedition’s founder, reported this morning that the current focus is on overall weather but also on a weather window for September 30 – October 1. The weather has kept many teams at Camp 2 (C2), many of which were anticipating to summit on September 28 or 29. This is causing the teams to stack up up high as they are waiting for the best conditions for their summit push. There is currently strong wind at the summit of Cho Oyu.

Cho Oyu, Camp 1The “lightning ascent” team, and most likely the Rapid Ascent team, will plan for their summit push to be on October 1. It is currently 11:00am PST on September 29 as we write this post, their timezone is 15 hours ahead, which makes it currently 2:00am on September 30 in Tibet. This means that when they wake up on the 30th both teams are planning to continue on up to C3 (24,250′ / 7400m). The plan is to sleep at C3 on September 30 and go for their summit push on October 1.

Cho Oyu, Camp 1Adrian reported for Zeb’s team that on their first night at C2 they had a good night sleep, using only half a liter of oxygen, while most people would have used more oxygen to feel that good. We are hoping they have a second night of good sleep and continue feeling strong. Both teams are using multiple resources to make plans and decisions, and as mentioned before all of the factors require ongoing monitoring and flexibility.

Cho Oyu, Adrian Ballinger, Emily Harrington

If all goes to plan, they will climb to and sleep at C3 on supplemental oxygen to ensure they are strong and healthy on summit day. The climb to the summit begins with the route’s technical crux, a short steep rock step. From there the route eases off a bit to thirty to forty degree snow slopes on up to the summit plateau, but continues to be extremely challenging due to the high altitude. Cho Oyu’s summit plateau is almost flat and the route traverses all the way to its far end and the true summit, where they will be rewarded with views of countless Tibetan and Nepali peaks, including inspiring views of Mt. Everest. Stay tuned for more updates soon!