Cho Oyu, 8201m, is the sixth tallest mountain in the world, and one of the most attainable of the fourteen 8,000 meter peaks.
Cho Oyu has become a favorite of climbers entering the world of 8000m peaks. The route via the Northwest ridge is a technically strait forward ascent with relatively few objective dangers. However, like all 8000m peaks, the extreme altitudes make it a serious climb even for experienced climbers.
We provide expert Sherpa climbing guides, well organized logistics with a comfortable base camp and ample supplies on the mountain. You will also benefit from oxygen on summit day, as we include two bottles, plus the use of a Summit Oxygen mask.
Cho Oyu stands on the border of Tibet and Nepal; hence the Northwest route is accessed from Tibet. We travel by road from Kathmandu to road-head at the Chinese Base Camp. From here, we trek to Cho Oyu Base Camp, below the North West Face. The route above base camp consists mainly of gentle snow slopes. There is one short but very steep section to bypass a sérac barrier around 6400m. Most expeditions use three camps: Camp I, 6400m, Camp II, 7000m and Camp III, 7400m; however it is becoming common for those using bottled oxygen, to launch the summit from Camp II.
Getting to Base Camp
The yaks that will carry the team’s supplies to Cho Oyo Base Camp arrive at the Chinese (Everest) Base Camp. This is actually the Base Camp for expeditions to Everest North and Shishapangma as well. Once we are acclimatized and our loads organized we load up the yaks and set out towards Base Camp. The trail leads along the flat valley floor and crosses an icy stream and then gradually climbs to a grassy bench high above the east bank of the Gyabrag Glacier, 5200m, the site for the first (of 2) intermediate camps on the way to Base Camp.
From the first camp there is a descent to the Balung Glacier and then a short climb to the Nangpa La Pass. This route is used by traders, yak caravans and refugees fleeing from Tibet. A beautiful view of Jobo Rabzang is on your right. After 5 hours, you reach the site of the second intermediate camp, Dzaporoa, 5450m. Accessible glacier and ice cliffs opposite the camp are ideal for training.
We use the time at Dzaporoa to acclimatize and revise climbing techniques, like crampons, ice axe, fixed ropes for ascent and descent and abseiling.
From Dzaporoa it is only a 2 hour hike to Base Camp, 5650m, following the crest of the moraine that turns east towards the great north-west face of Cho Oyu.
The Cho Oyo Climb
The itinerary is a purely tentative schedule to set a reasonable time frame for the expedition. The actual climbing schedule will be determined by situations as they present themselves. Variables such as the health of the team, weather, and condition of the route cannot be foreseen.
Following the principle of "climbing high and sleeping low" And keeping a sensible pace is the best possible way to avoid AMS. The rotations follow this principal of acclimatization; We reach the next camp, and return to the lower camp to sleep. Finally, we return to base camp for a rest of about four days in preparation the final summit bid.
Base Camp to Camp I, 6400m: The trail crosses a flattish glacier for about 5km and then there is a stiff climb on steep loose scree, rock and sometimes snow. Camp 1 is sited on a broad saddle of snow at the base of the north-west ridge.
Camp I to Camp II, 7000m: This is the hardest section on the route as it involves climbing steep snow/ice at high altitudes. Above camp I, the northwest ridge leads easily to a series of ice cliffs one being a 50m ice wall of 60º to 70º at around 6700m. This is basically a straightforward climb with fixed ropes, but nonetheless a challenge to face each time we cross this section. As our acclimatization and familiarity with the route increases, it becomes slightly less daunting.
Above the ice cliffs, there are several large crevasses to navigate before we reach the large flat plateau, the site for camp II, 7000m. Depending upon the snow conditions, it takes 6 to 8 hours to reach Camp II.
Camp II to Camp III, 7400m:
The distance to Camp III is straightforward and only takes about 2-4 hours, but at this altitude everything is challenging. Camp III is located on a flat space beneath a rock band on the northwest ridge-face.
The stunning view from Camp III takes in the peaks of Nepal to the south and, the arid Tibetan plateau to the north.
It’s also possible to go for the summit from camp II, but whichever camp you make the final push from it is crucial to be properly rested, nourished and hydrated to give yourself the best chance of a successful summit.
Camp III to Summit: There are a few easy 4-meter rock ledges that lead through the rock band above Camp III. The mixed snow slope gradually eases onto the broad windswept summit plateau. There is still a long traverse to reach the little bump that marks the summit. If the weather is clear there is a magnificent vista Everest, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu, Gaurisankar, Shishapangma as well as the Khumbu Himal range.
The climb to the summit takes 5 to 8 hours from camp III or 7 to ten hours from camp II
Descent is by the same route, with nights spent at one of the higher camps and camp 1.
Day 1 : Arrival in Kathmandu
Day 2 : Preparation Day in Kathmandu
Day 3 : Preparation Day in Kathmandu
Day 4 : Drive to Kodari on the Tibetan Border, 2300m
Day 5 : Cross into Tibet and drive to Nyalam, 3750m
Day 6 : Acclimatization hikes around Nyalam
Day 7 : Drive to Tingri, 4300m
Day 8 : Acclimatization Day in Tingri
Day 9 : Drive to Chinese (Everest) Base Camp, 5200m
Day 10 : Acclimatization at Base Camp
Day 11 : Trek to Cho Oyu Base Camp, 5650m
Day 12 : 12-36 Climbing the North-West Face of Cho Oyu
Day 37 : Descend to Chinese Base Camp, clean up and board
Day 38 : Drive from Tingri to Kathmandu
Day 39 : Free Day in Kathmandu
Day 40 : Departure from Kathmandu
1. Cargo clearance
2. All related airport / hotel / airport transfers
3. Hotel accommodation in Kathmandu on B&B twin sharing basis
4. Road transport by private vehicle to Chinese Base Camp both for expeditioners and staff
5. Full board service during entire tour except in Kathmandu
6. All transport of necessary expedition supplies: Chinese Base Camp- Cho Oyo Base camp (by yaks and porters)
7. Dining tent with Dining table and chairs in Base Camp
8. Kitchen tent and 2 high altitude cooks for Base Camp including equipment, wages and insurance
9. EPI Gas with burner and cooking pot set
10. Gas heaters in the dining tent & solar panel power available at BC
11. First-rate high altitude food
12. Sherpa climbing guide per climber, including equipment, wages and insurance
13. Climbing Permit and all necessary permits
14. Garbage deposit
16. Radio walkie-talkie set for climber/Sherpa team, including permit charge
17. Single sleeping tents with closed cell pads for entire expedition
18. 2 cylinders of oxygen per climber with mask and regulator set
29. 1 cylinders of oxygen per climbing Sherpa with mask and regulator set
20. Cost of transporting oxygen to Camp III and IV by Sherpa porter
21. Liaison Officer charges including insurance
22. Shower tent at Base Camp
23. Toilet tent at Base Camp & Camp II
24. Gear tent for storage at Base Camp & Camp II
25. Gamow Bag up to Camp II
26. Satellite telephone (per minute rates apply)
Oxygen cylinders hold 1800 liters, which at 3 liters/minute lasts 10 hours. One bottle and regulator weighs about 7.3kg total. You will not carry more than one bottle at a time. Most climbers use oxygen from Camp III, at 1 liter/min. for sleeping and 3 liter/min climbing. This means a total of 2 cylinders are needed for the summit and descent back to Camp III.
Extra oxygen bottles are available for $600 each. They must be ordered at the time of booking.
1. Your travel insurance (Should include helicopter evacuation as well)
2. International air tickets
3. Nepal entry visa (with re-entry)
4. China Visa fee
4. Lunches & dinners in Kathmandu
5. Personal climbing equipment
6. Two sleeping bags, one for Base Camp and one for the higher camps
6. Expenses of personal nature
7. Tips for climbing support staff (See Advice for Tips)
The Best Season to Climb Cho Oyo
Cho Oyo Expeditions are possible in either spring or autumn season. The best time to start climbing Cho Oyo is mid-May, when the weather starts to improve, or in late September/early October before it gets too cold, and there are big snow storms.
Spring has less snow and therefore more danger of avalanche. However, spring can be icy making it a greater technical challenge. Fall can have a lot of snow, depending on the monsoon rains, and starts getting very cold toward the end of the seaons.
Why Climb Cho Oyu with Annapurna Foothills Treks?
We maintain a supply of oxygen at base camp for medical emergencies. We supply a comprehensive first aid kit throughout the expedition, and our leaders are trained in its use. There will be a portable hyperbaric chamber with the team during the journey to base camp and at base camp, where it will be kept during the climb
Sherpas will do all of the cooking/melting at Camp I, II, III, and IV.
For the most part, you will only need to carry the items which you require during the day while climbing. Your Sherpa guide will carry loads (including your sleeping bag and a reasonable amount of your personal gear) between the camps.
Each climber/Sherpa team is issued a VHF hand held radio and satellite phone.
Cell phones and Internet:
The GSM cell phone network may have poor reception. Reasonably priced GSM phones, SIM cards and prepaid calling cards are available in Kathmandu.
Destination : Tibet
Duration : 40 Days
Price : US $12000 p/p
Trip Grade : Alpine Grade 3E
Group Size:2 - 12 Persons
Hotel in Kathmandu:4 Nights B&B plan (Bed & Breakfast)
Accommodation during Expedition:All meals in lodges during Trekking & Camping
Was really impressed with the speed at which they organised a tour for me, and the quality of the tour itself. The director - Ngima - was very responsive and really helpful, meeting me the day before my tour and introducing me to my guide the day of the tour.…Phillippa
Just got back from an awesome trip to Nepal, kindly arranged by Ngima Sherpa from Annapurna Foothills Treks. The organisation of the trip was absolutely flawless, and I can't remember having any problems during my whole month long stay. My Sherpa Dendi (as featured in the new Everest movie),is a…Neil Murphy
My boyfriend and I wanted to trek in Nepal so I found Annapurna Foothills details online - they were amazing from start to finish. Ngima, the Managing Director was really helpful over email in planning the trip and flexible to help us fit in everything we wanted to. Our guide…Meriel Flint