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Cho Oyu - Join Gary Guller for the 2004 Expedition 8,201m

Tibet - Cho Oyu, the world's 6th highest mountain at 8,201m, is located just west of Everest and Lhotse along the Nepali-Tibetan border. Cho Oyu is a straightforward climb and not technically demanding, an excellent mountain for climbers wanting to scale their first 8,000m peak.

Flying from Kathmandu (1,280m) over the spectacular Himalayan mountain chain, we'll arrive just outside Lhasa, the heart and soul of Tibetan Buddhism, at almost 3,600m. We'll spend our first night in Tibet relaxing and acclimatizing to the significant increase in altitude. While in Lhasa, we'll tour the former winter residence of the Dalai Lama, the Potala Palace, and his summer residence, Norbulingka Palace. We'll visit other notable sites such as Jokhang Monastery, barter for goods at Barkhor Market, and travel just beyond the city limits to watch the scriptural debates at Sera Monastery.

Potala PalaceFrom Lhasa, we begin our overland travel across the plateau and over several high passes for some amazing panoramic views of the Himalaya. We'll make an overnight stop in Gyantse, exploring its ancient fortress, and head on to Tibet's second largest city Shigatse. We'll continue on to Tingri (4,300m) through fantastic plateau scenery with a stop at the Buddhist monastery Milrepa built around a sacred cave. Along the last few miles into Tingri, views of Makalu, Everest, Gyan Kung and Cho Oyu remind us why we're here. Tingri itself is made up of old-style mud and stone buildings with an army base at its rear. Tibetan nomads use the town as a base during their stay in this desolate part of the plateau.

After arrival at Chinese Base Camp, we'll rest, acclimatize and make the necessary climb preparations before making our ascent to advanced base camp at 5,700m. We'll cross through steep moraines to establish Camp 1 at 6,400m, which should take around 4 - 6 hours depending on weather conditions and how we're feeling. We'll traverse a ridge and ascend a 50m headwall to Camp 2 at 7,000m - a hard day taking 6 - 7 hours. Our strong Sherpa time will fix all ropes as required. We'll establish Camp 3 at 7,500m on the northwest Prayer Flags with Frostface, and the following day, set out for the summit. Depending on our fitness, we'll be moving up and down the mountain several times, acclimatizing and stocking the higher camps.

It will require an extra push to reach the true summit peak on the far end of the high snowfield. Summit day, though long and arduous, will be well worth it when the highest peaks in the world are in view.
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