North West ridge route
Standing 20 km to the west of Mt Everest on the Nepal-Tibet, China border, Cho Oyu is a true Himalayan giant. At 8,201 m it is the 6th highest peak in the world and an excellent objective, be it for your once-in- a-lifetime 8,000m peak, or as your final preparation before attempting Mt Everest.
Our attempt to summit this mountain will be via the (normal) NW ridge route, which is the original route used by the Austrian team who were the first to climb the mountain in 1952.
Subject to conditions prevailing at the time, we will fly to Lhasa to commence the expedition from there, or we will cross the border between Nepal and Tibet, China, by land – either way, the cost is covered in the quoted cost for this expedition.
After we drive to and arrive at Chinese Base Camp, we then have a two-day trek before we arrive at Advance Base Camp, from where we tackle the mountain via the placement of three high camps.
The climbing on the mountain is relatively straight-forward, with the two cruxes being a short but steep ice-cliff between Camps 1 and 2, and a prolonged, steep rock band directly above Camp 3.
Given the extreme altitude, the mountain is a very serious objective and neither the climb nor your preparation for the climb should be taken lightly. You’ll need to be as fit as you can possibly be, and when you’re climbing through the rock band above Camp 3 on your summit push, you’ll understand why! Once we reach the cusp of the summit plateau in the early hours of the morning, you’ll have to summon the energy to cross the wide plateau at over 8,100 m before finally standing on the main summit. Many choose not to go the extra distance to reach the main summit, as the height difference is minimal – but with Expedition Base, we like to complete the mission – therefore across the plateau we will go. If the weather is clear, once you are on the summit the spectacular panorama will make it all worth it. From the summit, you’ll be able to see Shishapangma, Gyachung Kang, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and of course, Mt Everest! This is an amazing climb in its own right, and in addition, it is a great preparation climb before you decide to tackle other higher or more technically challenging 8,000m peaks.
This trip is for experienced mountaineers. The trip will involve challenging trekking, advanced mountaineering, moving on snow, rock and ice, with technical tools, at reasonably high altitudes up to around 8,848m, depending on the mountain. You can expect to experience some serious heights, some ledges, and exposure to steep terrain. For this trip, you want to have an advanced level of fitness, with cardiovascular exercise and own- body weight type exercises (or similar) at least 4-5 times per week for the period of around 6-12 months before this trip, building on your already sound fitness. Weight training is also strongly recommended. Training on uneven terrain is strongly recommended. By registering for this trip, you likely already know what you need to do but wherever we can help, we will.
View the printable version of the short itinerary and detailed trip notes here.
Day 1Arrive in Kathmandu
Day 2In Kathmandu (Personal and team preparation, briefings)
Day 3Fly to Lhasa
Day 4In Lhasa acclimatise
Day 5Drive to Shigatse
Day 6Drive to Gyantse
Day 7Drive to Tingri (4,300 m)
Day 8Drive to Chinese Base Camp (4,800 m)
Day 9Acclimatisation and prepare for higher camp
Day 10-11Trek to Advance base camp (5,650 m)
Day 12Acclimatise and Set up Advance Base Camp
Day 13-22Acclimatise and set up higher camps
Day 23-29Summit push period Cho Oyu
Day 30-31Contingency / bad weather days
Day 32Pack up Advance Base Camp
Day 33Walk to Chinese Base Camp and drive to Tingri
Day 34Drive to Shigatse
Day 35Drive to Lhasa
Day 36Fly to Kathmandu
Day 37Depart Kathmandu
Note: Daily walking hours include a lunch break, and regular rest breaks.