Cho Oyu: Towards the Sixth tallest Peak in the world
Cho Oyu is the sixth tallest mountain in the world at an elevation of 8,188 meters above sea level. The mountain lies in China-Nepal border and is the westernmost peak of Khumbu sub-section of Mahalangur Himalaya. The trek is an exclusive one which takes you along the hidden beauty of Tibetan Plateau and walks to high altitude region on good snow-free trails providing the mesmerizing view of many snow-capped mountains including Everest and Cho Oyu.
The name of this sixth highest peak is derived from Tibetan language, which means “Turquoise Goddess.” It also goes by the name of Mount Qowowuyag. Cho Oyu Mountain mainly comprises five ridges in northwest, northeast, southeast, southwest, and west with Jabula Glacier in north, Lanba Glacier in south and Gecongba Glacier. In few kilometers west of Mount Cho Oyu lies Nangpa La at an elevation of 5,716 meters which is a glaciated pass that serves as the main trading route between Tibetans and Khumbu region Sherpas. Nangpa La also separates Khumbu region and Rolwaling Himalayas.
Cho Oyu is also considered as the easiest 8,000 meters mountain to scale because of its proximity with Nangpa La and generally moderate slopes of northwest ridge route. So, if you are dreaming of mounting any of the mountains over 8,000 meters, Cho Oyu is relatively easy. Also, despite being in the list of world tallest mountain, it has the highest success rate among the world’s fourteen peaks above 8,000 meters. The ascent towards the summit of Cho Oyu is short and direct with some technical sections which can be climbed safely using a fixed line.
Cho Oyu expedition has become easier because vehicles take you to close vicinity of Cho Oyu base camp. But, still it is a peak above 8,000-meter elevation, so it certainly requires effort and has risks and dangers en route.
Mount Cho Oyu Height
Originally, the height of Mount Cho Oyu was measured at 8,150 meters,and during its first ascent, it was considered as seventh tallest mountain on earth after mount Dhaulagiri at 8,167 meters. Then in 1984, an estimation of 8,201 meters was made moving it to sixth position. However, in 1996 new measurements were made by Government of Nepal Survey Development and Finnish Meteorological Institute concluding the height at 8,188 meters.
First expedition of Cho Oyu
Cho Oyu is the easiest eight-thousander to scale because of its lowest death-summit ratio and number of ascent. It is the second most climb mountain of the world with a height of over 8,000 meters after Everest (the tallest, 8,848 meters) and over four times the ascent of third most popular eight-thousander, Gasherbrum II.
The first attempt to climb Cho Oyu was made in 1952 by an expedition organized and financed Joint Himalayan Committee of Great Britain,and it included Edmund Hillary as well. The expedition was made as preparation for an attempt on Mount Everest the following year. However, technical difficulties and avalanche danger at an ice cliff above 6,650 meters and a report of Chinese troops made the team to descent rather than continuing the climb.
Then in 1954, October 19, Cho Oyu was finally climbed via north-west ridge. It is also the fifth 8,000-meter mountain to be climbed after Annapurna, Mount Everest, Nanga Parbat,and K2. Cho Oyu was the highest peak climbed without supplemental oxygen until 1978 when Everest was climbed.
Physical Fitness and Acclimatization
Cho Oyu is relatively easy to scale than any other eight-thousander,and it is also marketed as a “trekking peak.” No matter how easy they say, ascending it will need good health, planning, preparation, patient and confidence. Climbers of Cho Oyu has said, it is achievable for climbers with high fitness but low mountaineering experience. So, if you are up for the glory to conquering Cho Oyu, you better start working on your health.
Acclimatization is another serious thing you need to consider. Altitude sickness has caused many casualties in the past, so you must acclimatize, keep yourself hydrated and take plenty of rest. Climbers of Cho Oyu often acclimatize at Lhasa which is at an elevation of 3,656 meters and at Advance Base Camp at 5,600 meters.
Along with taking care of your health in expedition, be a responsible traveller too. You don’t have to take a huge step, taking care of trash, using minimum water, respecting local culture and tradition, taking a bottle to refill in way instead of using many, staying in tented camp and using local products; these are some few responsible acts as a traveler which can educate others and make an impact in long term.
Way to Mount Cho Oyu
The expedition of Mount Cho Oyu takes you to the beautiful Tibetan plateau and the quaint culture and lifestyle of Tibetans. To being this ultimate journey, we will have to fly to Lhasa from Kathmandu. Then after acclimatizing and exploring the beauty of Lhasa, we will take a jeep to the Cho Oyu base camp (4,900 meters). You will visit Tibetan towns, monasteries and gompas. After reaching the base camp, you will further move on to Advance base camp (5,600 meters) at the foot of Nangpa La.
Now from Advance Base Camp starts the expedition to Cho Oyu. You should acclimatize for three or four days and set camps in Camp I, Camp II and Camp III while moving up and down the mountain to enhance strong acclimatization and overall fitness. Ascending the summit and reaching the top you will see a breathtaking view 360-degree view of mountains including Everest, Lhotse and AmaDablam. If you look towards north side, there lies the Tibetan plateau which is highest in the world and south lies many big and small Nepali mountains.
After conquering the sixth tallest mountain, our team will descend towards the camp. Base camp is the cue telling this expedition is almost at an end. From base camp, you will return to where we have started it all, Kathmandu.