STEPPING STONE TO EVEREST
Cho Oyu is the 6th highest peak in the world (26,906 ft / 8201 m) and is part of the Greater Himalaya, where the central Asia plateau meets the Indian subcontinent. Located on the Tibet/Nepal border, you will have a chance to experience the local Tibetan culture. This is considered the best introductory peak for those aspiring to 8000-meter climbs such as Everest.
Our Cho Oyu expedition will fly to the ancient capital city of Tibet, Lhasa, once home to the 14th Dalai Lama who fled to India in 1959 due to the Chinese Invasion. While acclimatizing, our group will tour many of the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and palaces as we journey to Cho Oyu base camp. We will take an alternative overland route back to Kathmandu via Zhangmu.
First summited in 1954 by a small Austrian/Tibetan expedition, Cho Oyu is technically easier than most other “8000’ers,” making it a great first 8000-meter peak for climbers with previous high altitude climbing experience. We will climb Cho Oyu via the West Ridge/West Face, which has two short technical sections. Advanced Base Camp (ABC) will be established at 5800 meters / 19,029 feet, Camp I at 6500 meters / 21,325 feet, Camp II at 7100 meters / 23,294 feet, and Camp III at 7400 meters / 24,278 feet.
The expedition will start in Kathmandu, Nepal. We will meet at our Nepal office to get our paperwork together, organize our gear, and enjoy the local customs & culture of Kathmandu before flying to Lhasa. We take a spectacular route from Lhasa to the village of Tingri, our final rugged and rural village before Cho Oyu base camp. We spend two nights at base camp before we hire yaks to transport our expedition supplies to ABC. On this two day journey we will cross rivers, and hike over rocky moraine before we arrive at ABC, “our base camp” for 4 weeks.
Flights to Lhasa are included in the cost of your trip and will be arranged by our office.
Cho Oyu Day by Day
Travel from your home port to Kathmandu. All flights cross the date line and consequently a day is lost. Mountain Madness representatives will meet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel. Optional sightseeing of Kathmandu. Overnight at the hotel.
Elevation: 4,383 ft / 1336 m
Arrive in Kathmandu on Day 3, where a Mountain Madness guide meets you. We stay at the famous 5‑Star Yak-n-Yeti Hotel. Great food from all over the world, fabulous shopping, and Durbar Square with its numerous temples and markets are nearby.
Elevation: 4,383 ft / 1336 m
We finalize last minute paperwork with the Nepal and Tibet governments. You will have a casual day shopping for souvenirs in the streets of Kathmandu, with abundant photo opportunities along the way. Visit the palaces, Durbar Square, Hindu temples, shrines, and Buddhist stupas or just relax at the hotel. Depending on the schedule, it may be possible to fly to Lhasa.
Elevation: 11,995 ft / 3656 m
We fly to Lhasa and the fascinating world of Tibet. We transfer to our hotel downtown. Elevation at Lhasa is over 12,000 feet / 3658 meters, so we use this opportunity to begin acclimatizing.We have an opportunity to visit the popular and awe inspiring Potala Palace, Lhasa’s most renowned landmark. Since its construction in 1694, the Potala has been the home of each of the successive Dalai Lamas until 1959 and the final resting place of many of them. In the afternoon we will visit the Jokhang Temple, the most revered religious structure in Tibet. We may visit Norbulingka Palace, which was the summer home of the Dalai Lamas, and Drepung monastery, once the world’s largest.
Elevation: 12,467 ft / 3800 m
We travel by 4×4 across the Tibetan plateau. We arrive in Shigatse, the second largest city of Tibet, in the afternoon. There, we tour Tashilhunpo Monastery. Built in 1447, this imposing complex is the residence of the Panchen Lama, the second most important religious figure in Tibet.
Elevation: 14,268 ft / 4349 m
Today will be a long travel day. Lunch stop will be in the town of Lhatse at 13,123 feet / 4000 meters. Our afternoon drive will take us over two passes above 16,404 feet / 5000 meters before arriving at the village of New Tingri.
Elevation: 18,500 ft / 4600 m
We drive through the scenic countryside to base camp. The next morning we will take an acclimatization hike to 18,000 feet / 5486 meters. After lunch we spend some time sorting gear before we head to Advanced Base Camp (ABC) the next day.
ADVANCE BASE CAMP
Elevation: 21,000 ft / 6400 m
After breakfast we will depart on our two-day journey to Cho Oyu ABC. We will forge through the ice cold Ra Chhu River and set up intermediate camp. The following morning we trek to ABC and camp next to the Nangpa La. Camp will be at 19,029 feet / 5800 meters.
Our strategy is to place two more camps at 21,325 feet / 6500 meters and 23,294 feet / 7100 meters while we acclimatize for our summit attempt. This includes spending a night at 23,294 feet / 7100 meters before descending back to ABC. We rest at ABC for approximately 4 days depending on weather and the strength of the team. On our summit push we climb to Camp 1, then Camp 2 and then establish Camp 3 at 23,294 feet / 7400 meters. On summit day we leave at 2 am. Depending on the strength of the team we should summit between 9 – 11 am We will descend to our high camp or Camp 2 for the night. The next day we will descend to ABC.
Elevation: 18,500 ft / 5600 m
Our yaks will arrive in the morning. We trek down to base camp and arrive late in the day.
Elevation: 7,500 ft / 2300 m
In the morning we will have a quick clean-up of the base camp area before the trucks pick us up there. We then make the adventurous drive to Zhangmu on the border of Tibet and Nepal.
Elevation: 4,383 ft / 1336 m
After checking through with the Chinese border patrol and customs, we drive through the lush country of Nepal. The countryside is filled with warm and friendly people, beautiful waterfalls and terraced hillsides.
Depart Kathmandu and fly home.
Note on Itinerary: Although we do our very best to follow the schedule listed, this itinerary is subject to change due to inclement weather, unsafe route conditions, or other reasons beyond our control and in the guide’s best judgement.
- 4:1 client to guide ratio, plus 2:1 client to Sherpa guide ratio
- Climbing permit and China visa fee
- All oxygen equipment — bottles, mask and regulator
- Domestic airfare to/from Kathmandu to Lukla
- Five scheduled hotel nights in Kathmandu at the Yak-n-Yeti
- Scheduled restaurant meals in Kathmandu
- All food and lodging during the trek and climb
- All team climbing gear, tents and cooking gear
- All expedition staff including Sherpa support, base camp personnel, porters and pack animals
- Airport transfers
- International airfare
- Nepal entry visa and airport fees
- Personal climbing gear and clothing
- Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, room service, extra hotel nights, extra meals, base camp showers, etc.)
- Travel insurance with trip cancellation, medical and evacuation policy
- All expenses associated with non-scheduled departure
- Meals, Days 3, 43
- Breakfast, Day 44
- Lunch, Days 4, 5, 44
- Dinner, Day 4
- Alcoholic and bottled beverages
- Guide/Sherpa/Staff gratuities
- $5,000 deposit upon confirmation of your eligibility to join the expedition, which includes a $3,500 non-refundable registration fee
- Balance due 120 days prior to departure
- The balance may be paid by check, wire transfer, ACH or credit card with a 3% convenience fee