Moderate To Strenous
Hotel / Lodge
The sixth highest peak of the world (8201m/26906ft) Cho Oyu stands for' Turquoise God’ which means the turquoise color of the peak in the afternoon sun from the Tibet side of the mountain. But in Nepal it is known as Qowowuyag by the Sherpas. The mountain lies in the Himalayas and is 20 km west of Mount Everest, at the border between China and Nepal. Though the expedition attempt was made by Eric Shipton in1952, an Austrian Herbert Tichy made the first successful ascent of Cho Oyu in 1954 with fellow Austrians Sepp Jochler and Helmut Heuberger.
Our sensitively designed Cho Oyu Expedition offers you an excellent opportunity for the climbers to extend their experience to extreme altitudes and is highly recommended as a first 8,000m Peak. Climbing Cho Oyu is one of the best practices for attempting the Everest. This is also one of the best attainable of the among world's highest mountains due to the lack of objective dangers in comparison to the other mountains. The terrain for this is uncomplicated, which makes the climbing accessible.
Upon arriving at at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu, you will be received by our airport representatives who will warmly greet you and transfer to the hotel on a private tourist vehicle. We provide 3-star accommodation in the city and we arrange for a trip briefing with dinner in the evening.
A professional guide and vehicle are provided for a day of sightseeing in and around Kathmandu city. We visit some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city along with other interesting cultural monuments that dot the valley. These include Boudhanath Stupa (the largest Buddhist shrines in the world), Pashupatinath (the holiest Hindu temple in the world), Durbar Squares (Palaces and fortresses of medieval Kings), along with other popular cultural attractions. We get to observe the lifestyle of Nepalese people, holy sadhus and monks, fascinating history as well as awe-inspiring architecture.
Formal briefing at the Ministry of Tourism. The expedition leader will check that everyone’s equipment is in working order. Overnight at Kathmandu hotel.
Final opportunity for last-minute purchases.
Early morning transfer to the Kathmandu International Airport for the hour-long flight to Lhasa. This stunning flight takes us directly across the main Himalayan range, providing magnificent mountain views. After landing at Gonggar Airport and meeting our Tibetan guide, Lhasa is a further two hour drive. The remainder of the day will be left unscheduled for participants to rest and adjust to Lhasa's higher altitude. Overnight at Lhasa hotel.
After breakfast at the hotel, the group will visit the popular and awe-inspiring Potala Palace, Lhasa’s most famous attraction. From its construction in 1694 the Potala was the seat of the Dalai Lama until 1959, and serves as the final resting place for many of them. Today it is a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will also visit the Jokhang Temple, the most respected religious structure in Tibet. We may also see Norbulingka Palace, the summer home of the Dalai Lamas, and Drepung monastery. Overnight at Lhasa hotel.
Today includes a long drive across the Tibetan plateau. Soon after leaving Lhasa, we reach the banks of the Tsang Po, which becomes the Brahmaputra River when it enters India. There we will visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, built in 1447. This is the residence of the Panchan Lama, the second most influential religious figure in Tibet. Overnight at Shigatse hotel.
As we continue our drive along the Tibetan highway, the northern edge of the Greater Himalaya comes into view, providing a spectacular panorama of peaks, including Mt. Everest. If time allows, we may be able to visit the main town and its hilltop monastery. Overnight at hotel outside Xegar.
This day will be spent as a rest and acclimatization day, in preparation for the high altitude of the Chinese base camp we will reach tomorrow. Participants are advised to avoid overexertion, but a visit to the main town and the gentle hike up to its hilltop monastery (4,200m) are highly recommended.
Today we complete the drive to the Chinese base camp. Leaving Xegar, we turn south along the bumpy track that leads to the road’s end below Cho Oyu. Overnight at tented camp.
This will be an important day of preparation for the trek. Loads will be sorted out and readied for transportation, and the yaks that will carry them will arrive in the afternoon. Overnight at tented camp.
With yaks carrying the expedition's supplies, we trek up the long valley to the base camp. Three nights will be spent at intermediate camps rising respectively 5,200 m and 5,450 m before continuing to the base camp. The benefit of acclimatization will be greatly appreciated when we finally reach the camp, our home for the duration of the climb. We arrive at the base early on day 15 and spend the afternoon organizing climbing equipment. Overnight at tented camp.
From the base camp we climb along the glacier toward the mountain and Camp 1. Because of the high altitude, this first trip up the Gyabrag Glacier and onto the mountain itself is for familiarizing participants with climbing and their equipment. It provides an excellent opportunity to view the route that will be taken and assess the mountain conditions.
Once the expedition leader is happy with the team's acclimatization, we begin (weather permitting) to climb the mountain in earnest. In order to reach a position from which we can make successful summit bids, Sherpas will make sure that all camp stores and food are taken care of. The expedition leader will check to be sure that everyone is in good health and properly adjusted to the altitude.
Throughout the climb, the leader will use a method that adjusts team members to the ever-increasing altitudes. This will be achieved by "climbing high and sleeping low," until each person feels suitably well-adjusted to make the next move up to a higher camp. At each camp, the team will climb high but then return to the lower camp to sleep. Finally, the team will return to the base camp for a prolonged rest of at least four days before moving up to occupy Camp 3 in preparation for the ultimate climb to the top. Mountain camps are situated as follows:
Camp 1 - 6,400m
Camp 1 is at 6,400 meters and five to eight hours from the base camp. The camp is reached by a steep climb from the head of the glacier at 6,100m. From here, the route follows steep scree, which improves as height is gained. Camp 1 is located on a broad shoulder of snow, which leads up to a ridge above the camp.
Camp 2 - 7,000m
Above Camp 1, a snow ridge leads to a series of ice cliffs. The way through these involves climbing a steep 50m ice wall at over 6,600m. Although straightforward, this is the hardest climbing on the route, requiring great effort to climb the steep ice at such an altitude. Improved acclimatization and greater familiarity make the prospect of subsequent climbs through the ice cliffs less daunting, but the challenge remains physically strenuous with each journey to Camp 2. Throughout this section, fixed ropes are placed in conjunction with other teams operating on the mountain at the same time. Above the ice cliffs, there are several large crevasses which we make our way around until they finally give way, giving access to Camp 2 at 7,000m. Depending upon the snow conditions, this can be a very demanding day of six to eight hours.
Camp 3 - 7,400 meters
Camp 3 is at 7,400m and roughly four hours above Camp 2. This camp is located beneath a rock band that cuts off the snow slopes of the upper basin. As we rise above the beautiful Nangpa Gosum peaks, the mountains of Nepal can be seen to the south, and the arid Tibetan plateau to the north. Although the distance to Camp 3 is short and easy, the high altitude makes the path more demanding.
Once at Camp 3, we must make every effort to prepare for the following day. This means eating, drinking, and resting. To function effectively on Summit Day, it is vital for climbers to drink as much as possible in order to replenish the calories and fluids lost during the climb. This can be a challenge, because the altitude makes even slight physical work difficult, and the task of boiling water slower than usual.
Summit Day begins early, as it takes several hours to make breakfast, hydrate properly, and fully prepare equipment before embarking. The camp faces west, so there is plenty of time for preparations before we depart as the sun rises. Once on our way, easily navigable snow and rock ledges lead through the short rock band above the camp. Gradually the angle of the slope relents until we emerge onto the broad windswept back of the mountain. Now it is only a matter of putting one foot in front of the other to slowly gain the towering distant summit of Cho Oyu, overshadowed only by Mt. Everest. The magnificent vista surrounding us as we cross the vast summit plateau toward the peak includes Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Nuptse, Menlugtse, Gyachung Kang and Gaurisankar, as well as the peaks of the Khumbu Himal. We reach the summit five to eight hours after leaving Camp 3.
For the descent the same route will be followed, with nights spent at Camp 3 and Camp 1.
On day 40 all climbers should be back at the base camp with belongings and equipment. Packing up the base camp is always time consuming, and everyone will need to help ensure that we leave no trace of our passing.
If we are successful in completing the climb ahead of schedule, we will leave the base early and head back to Kathmandu. However, past experience has shown that we will need all of the allotted days unless mountain conditions and the acclimatization process go exceptionally well.
After finishing our trek we will descend back to the road-head with yaks carrying our equipment. Our road transport will be waiting for us. Final night spent in tent.
Although the road from Lhasa to Kathmandu is in good condition, we have broken the fourteen hour drive into two days. Overnight in Zhangmu hotel.
Once back in Kathmandu, we celebrate over barbecue and drinks as a chance to celebrate the expedition, say farewell, and thank the Sherpas and team members for their support and friendship throughout the trip. Overnight at Kathmandu hotel.
The trip concludes today. You will be dropped at Kathmandu's Tribhuwan International Airport by our airport representative for your flight departure from Nepal.
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Whilst on the trek, the Nepali guides and porters will ensure that you are well looked after. Every trek has an English speaking guide, known as the Sirdar, who is in overall charge. It is his responsibility to organize the trek en route and manage the guides and porters and deal with the local peoples and they are experts in trek organization, as well as being able to discuss the local culture, religion, and landscape. In addition there will be other guides, sometimes referred to by the generic term Sherpa, who will be your walking companions on the trek and will assist the Sirdar in organizing the logistic of the trek. On camping treks there will be full kitchen crew who are responsible for all aspects of catering. And finally there will be porters who are the transportation system of the Nepali mountains. They will carry the duffle bags and other equipment as necessary.
On camping treks, all food is prepared by the trek cook - an expert in preparing delicious camp food. And most importantly, special care is taken to provide well - boiled, purified drinking water. On lodge treks, food is provided in the lodge and this ranges from delicious local specialties to common western dishes. If necessary, bottled water can be purchased from the lodges for a small fee, although many trekkers prefer to use fresh water with the added precaution of a purifying agent. You could bring some Chocolate or special energy drinks for yourself as these are hard to get in the Himalayas.
A typical trekking day
A typical day revolves around the Nepal sunrise and sunset. The day starts with an early wake up call. You then pack up your gear and enjoy a rousing breakfast before starting your morning's walk. The Sirdar will already be organized loads to porters and or animals, and your group will then set off on the trail at a leisurely pace, enjoying the view and stopping to take photographs. After 2-3 hours walk you stop for lunch. This lasts for about 90 minutes which gives you time to relax, or explore the local village. The afternoon's walk is usually shorter and we arrive at the campsite or tea-house in plenty of time to relax and savour the surroundings. Later in the evening dinner is served, giving you an opportunity to sample the delicious food, talk over the day's events, and look forward to another special day on the trails of Nepal.
Health and safety on the trek General
Anyone can be affected by Altitude Sickness. However, our itineraries are specifically designed to minimize the risks associated with trekking to high altitudes by building in acclimatization and rest days. In the event of any symptoms we will ensure that the individual descends to a lower altitude to gain a quick recovery.
And finally……….. It must be stressed that whilst trekking in the Nepal Himalaya is challenging and rewarding, you must be prepared for he occasional inconvenience or discomfort. The correct mental attitude to trekking is as important as being physically prepared.
All equipment and food, and your own personal backpacks are carried by the porters or pack animals. It is only necessary to carry a camera or small daypack ! On camping treks all necessary camp equipment is provided - this includes dining tent, dining table and chairs, toilet tent, foam mattresses, and all cooking equipment. The only kit that you will need to bring is your own personal equipment and clothing.
Recommended Trekking Kit
The following is a list of clothing and accessories that we recommend that you take with you. This is not intended to be a comprehensive clothing and equipment list, rather it is intended to act as a reminder of those items that we feel are essential for your comfort and convenience. However we recognize that you may have your own personal preferences for clothing which may be equally as suitable.
Recommended Mountaineering Kit
In additional to the items mentioned above for trekking the following is a list of the additional specialist items which are required for the trekking peaks.