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Cho Oyu v. Manaslu

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Deep in the Himalayas, Cho Oyu and Manaslu stand as two of the 14 tallest mountains in the world. As the sixth and eighth highest, respectively, these majestic peaks present formidable challenges to hopeful climbers. In this blog, we detail the unique characteristics, allure, and differences between Cho Oyu and Manaslu.

A climber stands with his back facing to the camera with Cho Oyu, the sixth tallest mountain in the world, in the background.

Cho Oyu: The Turquoise Goddess
Rising to an elevation of 26,864’/8,188m, Cho Oyu is the sixth highest peak in the world. Its name, meaning “Turquoise Goddess” in Tibetan, perfectly encapsulates the stunning beauty of this mountain. Cho Oyu boasts a relatively straightforward ascent compared to other eight-thousanders, making it an attractive option for climbers seeking a challenging yet manageable expedition. Despite its accessibility, Cho Oyu’s altitude and unpredictable weather demand respect and careful planning from climbers.

Manaslu is a large, snow covered peak in the Himalaya. It is the eight tallest mountain in the world.

Manaslu: The Mountain of the Spirit
Manaslu, standing at 26,781’/8,163m, earns its moniker “Mountain of the Spirit” from the Sanskrit word “manasa,” meaning intellect or soul. This aptly reflects the spiritual and cultural significance of the mountain to the people of Nepal. Unlike Cho Oyu, Manaslu presents a more technically demanding climb, characterized by steep terrain, crevasses, and avalanche-prone slopes. Climbers tackling Manaslu must possess advanced mountaineering skills and experience, making it a preferred choice for seasoned adventurers seeking a greater challenge.

Comparative Analysis:
While both Cho Oyu and Manaslu offer unparalleled opportunities for exploration and adventure, several key differences distinguish these two Himalayan giants:


Cho Oyu is renowned for its relatively moderate difficulty compared to other eight-thousanders, featuring less technical climbing and fewer objective hazards.

Manaslu presents a more formidable challenge with steeper slopes, technical sections, and greater objective dangers such as avalanches and serac falls that are much more difficult to mitigate, even with advanced training.

Climbing Routes:

Cho Oyu offers multiple climbing routes, including the popular Northwest Ridge and Southwest Face routes, catering to a range of climbing preferences and skill levels.

Manaslu’s standard route follows the Northeast Face, requiring climbers to navigate challenging terrain and high-altitude conditions.


In the realm of high-altitude mountaineering, Cho Oyu and Manaslu stand as bucket list objectives for elite high altitude climbers. Whether you’re drawn to the turquoise allure of Cho Oyu or the spiritual mystique of Manaslu, both mountains offer unforgettable experiences for those willing to embark on the journey. Ultimately, the choice between Cho Oyu and Manaslu depends on your individual aspirations, skills, and appetite for adventure. As guides, however, we choose not to guide Manaslu because of its high levels of objective hazard, with danger factors beyond our control. For those looking to break into climbing at 8,000-meters, Cho Oyu is the perfect first step.

Interested to see for yourself? Check out our Cho Oyu Rapid Ascent expedition and get in touch with our team to see if you qualify to join.