Cho Oyu Expedition-45 days
Starts from: Kathmandu
Best season: Spring and autumn
Duration of trip: 45 days
For anyone who has ever dreamed of climbing one of the world’s 8000m mountains, Cho Oyu offers relatively easy access. Despite being the 6th highest mountain on the planet, Cho Oyu has the highest success rate among the world’s fourteen 8,000m Himalayan peaks. The ascent to the summit is short and direct with a few small technical sections that can be climbed safely using fixed lines. The normal route may not be called a technically difficult climb. The access becomes easier also because of the fact that the base of the mountain can be reached by four-wheel-drive vehicle and one can walk to the camp I in hiking boots. However, climbing Cho Oyu is still a demanding undertaking due to the difficult altitude.
Cho Oyu lies about 20km west of Mt. Everest on the Nepal-Tibet border. The mountain is also known as Mt. Qowowuyag and is situated in the middle section of the Himalayas. An Austrian team first climbed Cho Oyu in 1954 followed by the Indian and German teams in 1958 and 1964 respectively. Cho Oyu consists mainly of five ridges – Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and West with the Jabula Glacier on the north, Lanba Glacier on the south, and Gecongba Glacier.
Detailed expedition Itinerary:
DAY 01: Arrival in Kathmandu – 1300m/4264ft
Upon your arrival in the Kathmandu airport, you will be greeted by a representative from All Trekkers Team (ATTm). After completing your custom formalities (Visa, etc) you will pick up your luggage and exit the airport. On the other side of the door you should look for our representative. They will be holding an All Trekkers Team display board or a board with your name written on it. You will then be transferred to your hotel. After checking in you are free to rest, take a stroll around the city or visit our office. In the evening we will organize a Welcome Dinner at an excellent traditional Nepalese Restaurant where you will enjoy a Nepalese cultural program and a fine meal.
DAY 02-03: Kathmandu Sightseeing and Preparation for Cho Oyu Expedition
Today, we are making preparation for Everest Expedition and sightseeing. While the leader attends a formal briefing in the Ministry of Tourism, we will explore the fascinating city of Kathmandu. We will visit famous Stupa, Boudh Nath and the popular Hindu pilgrimage site, Pashupati Nath Temple. In the late afternoon, the leader will check everyone’s equipment before flying to Lhasa. Chinese Visas for entering Tibet will be acquired from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. We will also get introduced with fellow expedition members and Guides. Overnight at hotel.
DAY 04: Fly to Lhasa 3,600m/12,000ft
Today, we fly to one of the highest capitals in the world: Lhasa of Tibet. We savor the extraordinary views of the Himalaya, including Everest, Makalu and Kangchenjunga and the Tibetan valleys. Upon our arrival in Lhasa, we will be greeted and escorted to a good standard hotel in downtown of Lhasa. We make Lhasa our base for acclimatization to the high Tibetan altitude.
DAY 05-06: Acclimatizing and discovering Lhasa
While we acclimatize with the high altitude, we also visit important landmarks in Lhasa including the Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace. Lhasa life certainly offers glimpses into one of the most preserved ancient cultural heritages.
DAY 07: Drive to Shigatse 3,900m/12792 ft: 6 hrs
Today, we depart Lhasa for Shigatse, the Tibet’s second largest city. We even reach to the banks of the Tsang Po, which becomes the Brahmaputra River in India. We further drive up-stream for a while before turning southwest through barren desert-like valleys. Overnight stay in a Shigatse hotel.
DAY 08: Drive to Xegar 4,000m/13120 ft: 8 hrs
While continuing along the Tibetan highway views of the Himalaya unfold with a spectacular panorama of peaks including Everest. We stay overnight in a hotel outside the main town of Xegar. If time allows, we pay our visit to the downtown of Xegar and its hilltop monastery.
DAY 09: Acclimatization Day
We acclimatize well before gaining height toward the Chinese base camp. At this juncture, we visit to the main town and engage on a gentle hike up to its hilltop monastery.
DAY 10: Arrive Chinese Base Camp
We further continue our drive to the Chinese base camp. While turning south along the bumpy track, the road leads us to the road-head below Cho Oyu.
DAY 11: Organization at Chinese Base Camp
Today will be an important day for sorting out our equipment. Yaks arrive in the afternoon. Yaks carry out the loads to the base camp the next day.
DAY 12-15: Trek to Cho Oyu Base camp
We resume our trek up the long valley to base camp. For proper acclimatization, we spend 3 nights at intermediate camps at 5,200 and 5,450 meters before continuing to base camp. Move into the base camp. We engage the afternoon organizing climbing equipment for use on the mountain.
DAY 16-40: Climbing the northwest face of Cho Oyu
At this juncture, we try the lower part of the mountain on the first day. We try to get as high as possible and have a good look at the route and the conditions on the mountain. At the evening, we return to base camp. After proper acclimatization, we climb higher and reach camp 1 and camp 2. Upon arrival at these sites and a good period of rest we make our best attempt for the summit. Return to the base camp by day 40.
DAY 41: Return trek to road-head
Next, we return trek to the road-head with yaks carrying our equipment. Upon this trek, road transport awaits us. We spend the last night in tents.
DAY 42: Drive into Nepal
The two days of road travel give passage us to Kathmandu. We drive for Zhangmu on the first day and cross the border into Nepal. Another 6 hours drive from the border all the way escort us to Kathmandu.
DAY 43: Arrive Kathmandu
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, we will return to the welcome haven of the Hotel. Once back in Kathmandu, Himalayan Glacier will host an evening barbecue to celebrate the expedition and as a farewell party to thank the Sherpas for their support and friendship.
DAY 44: At leisure in Kathmandu
A final chance to buy souvenirs or perhaps just to relax by the pool.
DAY 45: Depart Kathmandu:
Fly back to home.
Recommended Previous Experience:
Although Cho Oyu is considered to be less technical than other 8,000’ers, it is simply not cakewalk to climb Cho Oyu. It is also true that getting back from the summit is more important than getting there. The oxygen level over 7,000m is only 40% of what it is at the sea level. The weather is never fully predictable. The climbers must have years of prior experience on rock and ice climbing especially above 7,000m. Climbers also need to feel confident and comfortable ascending or descending on fixed ropes along a steep technical terrain. Moreover, as Jon Krakauer says, while you’re in the “Thin Air” up there, “The consequences of a poorly tied knot, a stumble, a dislodged rock, or some other careless deed are as likely to be felt by the perpetrator’s colleagues as the perpetrator.” Hence, our actions affect not only our own, but welfare of the entire team as well.
Visa and Travel Procedures:
Aside from visas for China, travelers to Tibet must also obtain permits from the Tibetan Tourism Bureau. All Trekkers Team will organize your Tibet travel permit. For this you have to send copy of your passport if you are planning to enter Tibet via Nepal as soon as we book the trip. In the condition of your plan to enter Tibet via China, you need to send All Trekkers Team copy of your passport and Chinese visa as soon as you book the trip.
We are climbing above 8,000 meter. Such an elevation could cause AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), which could be fatal. There is 40% less oxygen as compared to sea level above this elevation. The higher the altitude, the less oxygen in the air. Our body needs a few days to acclimate as we reach certain elevations. All Trekkers Team is constantly attentive for signs of AMS. If a climber shows milder symptoms of AMS, All trekkers Team is able to provide a limited amount of medication or escort the climber to a lower elevation for a day or more. All Trekkers Team advises the guest(s) with known heart or lungs or blood diseases to consult doctor before traveling. Mild headaches, fever, loss of appetite or stomach disorder are symptoms of AMS.
The climbing itinerary may vary according to the personal experience. A climbing day involves a steady climbing for 3-4 hours in the morning. After taking lunch, rest and relax, there is a climb of 2-3 hours in the afternoon. However, flexibility in climbing itinerary is necessary as climbers climb at own pace and respond individually to the stresses of climbing. All Trekkers Team ensures the ratio of climbers and Sherpa guides focusing on high safety measures so that each individual climber is able to progress at their own rate.
The Base Camp (5,200 m/17,500 feet)
We follow the regime “climb high, sleep low”. Being below the snowline at 5700m, the weather at base camp is generally good. It gets cold at night with dry but changeable wind conditions are expectable. There is no vegetation at this point and no human habitation. From base camp we will take daily hikes to higher elevations. We head for advance base camp (ABC) once the team is acclimated. For this advance we have to forge the ice cold Ra Chhu River and set up intermediate camp. The following morning, we trek to advance base camp (5700 m) and camp next to the Nangpa La.
Base Camp to Advanced Base Camp to Camp 1 (6,400m/ 20000ft):
ABC lies at 5700m surrounded by high peaks. There is also the high pass called Nangpa La nearby that has been used for a long time as a yak track and trade route between Nepal and Tibet. The advanced base camp will serve as the main base camp for the rest of expedition. From the ABC, we will be several hours of walking over moraine-covered glacier. One can even walk to the Camp 1 in hiking boots! Camp 1 lies on a ridge at 6400m. It is soft and easy for climbing in the beginning.
Camp 1 to Camp 2 (7,000 m/ 22960 ft)
Our actual mountaineering begins from camp 1. As we climb up, the ridge broadens out, so we fix ropes whenever necessary. The route is along crevasses but it should not be too difficult. The route follows the northwest ridge and then opens out onto the northwest face of the upper mountain. Most of the route between camp 1 and 2 will be fixed with rope. The most technical section is the ice cliff at 6750 m / 22,145 ft which consists of a vertical 60º to 70º slope for 50 m. Above lies a large plateau leading to the last steep slope below the camp 2.
Camp 2 to Camp 3 (7,400 m/24272 ft)
From camp 2, we can see the base camp below and a handful of 7000 m peaks above. Further east lies the Shishapangma. Camp 3 is located at the height of 7,400m. Some climbers even attempt the summit from camp 2. However, it is always better to assess our condition before getting tempted. Camp 3 is established at about 7450 m (24,500 ft) to maximize the chance of success on summit day.
Camp 3 to Summit
Depending on the season and weather (it may be cloudy, snowing, or high wind) we start early in the morning from camp 3. The first obstacle is the “Yellow Band” usually fixed with rope. More rocky bands and steep snow put the climbers on the summit ridge snowfield. We continue up the steep snowfield to the crest of the northwest ridge and the false summit. After crossing a broad plateau with a small rise we will be at the true summit. A breathtaking panorama unfolds as we get to the summit with the magnificent views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Chamlang, Aama Dablam and many other Himalayan peaks. We descend to camp 2 from the summit and continue down to the Advanced Base Camp.
The springtime from March to May and the autumn months from September to November are considered the most favorable weather for Cho Oyu climbing. However, the weather conditions in high mountains are never fully predictable. Temperatures may get as low as minus 20C in summer, but can drop to minus 60C or even lower during winter. The possibility of bad weather such as snow, wind, and cloud should also be taken into account. Similarly, the wind speeds may rise to 80Km/h (50mph). At the base camp the temperature is about 15C warmer than at the summit. The oxygen level around 7,000m is only 40% of sea level.
Experienced and professional mountaineers who have scaled the mountain several times lead our Cho Oyu expeditions. These leaders are supported by the other crewmembers and they have all of the necessary experience and equipment required for a successful completion of the expedition. All Trekkers Team also makes sure that it’s leaders have proven track records in climbing high altitude mountains. The number of guides is chosen according to the team size to maximize every individual climber’s chance of making it to the summit without compromising the safety aspect. All Trekkers Team’s expedition leaders are also equipped with the expertise in handling altitude related problems including Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) symptoms. The crewmembers are experts in setting up tents and camps, melting snow on the route, cooking, and other daily needs.
Team composition is important to ensure safety and comfort of the climbers. All Trekkers pays high attention to the safety standards of the climbers. Hence, for two International Climbers, All Trekkers assigns its accredited climbing leader, high altitudes assistance Sherpa, and cook. For base camp assistance and other necessary trek support, All Trekkers Team supplies crews such as porters, yaks and yak man. Further, to maintain the high safety standard All Trekkers Team’s team members would be added as per the number of international climbers.
The spring season of March to May and the autumn season of September to November are considered the best time for Cho Oyu expedition. The months of April and May and then again October and November are the classic climbing period. The summer months of monsoon rains and the winter months from December to February are considered to be the most unfavorable time for climbing.
Why Expedition with All Trekkers Team?
Going on any adventure trip will require a substantial sum of money to be paid in advance. Yet trusting a company you have no prior experience with involves a risk. We, however, are a fully bonded trek operator authorized by Nepal Government, Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Nepal Tourism Board, Industry Department, Company Registration Office, Nepal National Bank and the Taxation Office. We are also affiliated with such prestigious regulating bodies as NATTA, NMA, TAAN, and KEEP.
A detailed list of our registrations and licenses for operation:
Nepal Ministry of Industry, Office of Company Register
Nepal Ministry of Tourism, Department of Tourism
Nepal Department of Small Cottage and Industries
Nepal Ministry of Finance, Department of VAT/ PAN
Tax Clearance Certificate
Central Bank of Nepal (Nepal Rastra Bank), Department of Foreign Currency Exchange:
Fair Price with Quality:
Service, quality and fair prices – is the motto of our business. The packages we have offer unbeatable value for money. But you don’t have to take our word on it – we just ask our clients shop around to other adventure companies to try to find a similar package at a better price. However, we do not compromise on quality to cut down the costs. Our edge over other international operators is that we are a Nepal based business that allows us to keep our overhead to a minimum. So we can offer the same facilities as those provided by a Western company at literally a fraction of the price. That about 40% of our bookings come from repeat business proves our performance when it comes to client satisfaction.
Sustainable Operation Policies:
All Trekkers Team (P) LTD observes responsible and sustainable tourism practices. The company works closely with all stakeholders including the local communities to protect and conserve natural environment. We ensure that all our adventure programs leave the least possible carbon footprint. We are also aware of the corporate social responsibility; hence we maintain highest ethical and professional standards as well as transparency in our business practices.
Local and Experienced Mountain Leaders:
All Trekkers Team (P) LTD employs and trains local staff so that the local communities benefit from our adventure operations. However, we never compromise on our high safety and quality standards. All of our leaders and guides are carefully selected based on their aptitude, experience, and leadership skills. Most of our guides have been continuously working with us for more than 10 years. Our guides are trained for remote emergencies and are well versed in local politics, culture and customs. Please check out the personal records of our guides who have scaled Mt. Everest several times (and hundreds of other lesser peaks). Thus, we guarantee that all our guides, cooks, and other crews members are qualified and experienced professionals who make it sure that you’re always safe, sound, and happy.
Our website contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you wish to discuss any aspect of this trip or your suitability for it, please contact us by email. If you want to talk to us directly, feel free to call us at: +977-98510-78240, 98122-85346
All climbing permit, land, air transportation and accommodation in lodges/tent during the trek/climb, Food: three times meals in a day, necessary guides and required number of porter(s), other essential equipment, visa for Tibet.
Personal expenses, insurance, tips, emergency evacuation by helicopter, alternative transportation in case of heavy rain, landslide, strike and road blockade etc