How To Climb Cho Oyu
There are a number of reasons why we recommend Cho Oyu (26,906′/8,201m) as your first 8,000 meter peak.
To begin with, our unique Rapid Ascent™ pre-acclimatization technique allow us to climb Cho Oyu in just 28 days, that’s less than half the time of a traditional Cho Oyu expedition. Second, the route up Cho Oyu is of a reasonable difficulty, with few technical sections. Third, Cho Oyu’s route has limited objective dangers as compared to other 8,000-meter peaks. There is limited risk from rock and icefall, and avalanche conditions tend to be rare and when they occur, predictable. And fourth, Cho Oyu experiences much better weather than other “easy” 8,000 meter peaks in Nepal and Pakistan. This means we can spend more time climbing and less time sitting in storms in tents.
The mountain is also stunningly beautiful, has incredible views of both Tibet and Nepal from the climb and its summit, and our expedition gives us a taste of both Nepal and Tibet en route to and from the peak. It is also an excellent 8,000 meter ski peak for experienced and fit big-mountain skiers. Contact us to discuss this option.
Cho Oyu Expedition Start:
Our Cho Oyu Expedition begins after arriving in Base Camp (15,750 feet/4,800 meters) via 4wd Landcruisers. The drive from Lhasa is a couple of days, but goes through stunning scenery as we move through the Tibetan Plateau. We spend a day in Base Camp, organizing equipment to go up the mountain. Our Rapid Ascent™ pre-acclimatization means this drive and BC time takes only 2-3 days, instead of a week or more.
Base Camp To Advanced Base Camp On Cho Oyu:
With each member pre-acclimatized, we move from Base Camp to Advanced Base Camp (ABC) in one day. ABC is actually where we spend most of our time on Cho Oyu and our camp, perched in a glacial moraine at 18,530’/5,650m, is comfortable and sunny, and is the home of our full Alpenglow infrastructure – heated dining tents, fully stocked kitchen, heated communications and hangout tent, internet access, and much more.
Advanced Base Camp to Camp 1 & 2 on Cho Oyu:
After some necessary rest and acclimatization hikes around ABC and to the nearby Nangpa La (a famous glaciated pass that leads into Nepal and is often traveled by local traders) we move to Camp 1 (21,000 feet/6,400 meters). The climb to Camp 1 begins easily by following the morainal valley to a small lake, before climbing steeply up a challenging scree slope to camp in a protected bowl on the glacial ridge. We spend at least 3 nights in Camp 1. During this time we also make an acclimatization climb over the short but challenging ice cliff (a steep 20-30 meter climb of firm ice on fixed lines), and across broad glaciated slopes to Camp 2, at 23,000 feet/7,000 meters. We do not spend a night in Camp 2, since we will utilize oxygen above this altitude on our summit push. After this climb to Camp 2 we descend to ABC for rest and to prepare for our summit push.
Camp 3 on Cho Oyu:
Our final ascent of Cho Oyu utilizes Camp 1, Camp 2, and a Camp 3 (24,250’/7,400m). We climb to, and sleep at, Camp 3 on supplemental oxygen to ensure we are strong and healthy on summit day.
Summit of Cho Oyu:
The climb to the summit begins with the route’s technical crux, a short steep rock step. From there the route climbs thirty to forty degree snow slopes up to the summit plateau. The top of Cho Oyu’s summit plateau is almost flat and the route traverses all the way to its far end and the true summit where we are rewarded with views of countless Tibetan and Nepali peaks, including inspiring views of Mt. Everest.
From the summit we descend to Camp 2 where we spend the night, and then continue down to ABC to celebrate our Cho Oyu summit, rest, and prepare for our return to Kathmandu and home.
Interested in joining us on top of Cho Oyu? Contact us today to start a discovery call to see if you are a fit for this expedition!
Revolutionizing High-Altitude Mountaineering: Adrian Ballinger’s Lightning Ascents of Cho Oyu & EverestThis blog encapsulates the groundbreaking achievements and innovative approaches of Adrian Ballinger’s Lightning Ascents, highlighting the transformational impact of these expeditions on high-altitude mountaineering.