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Cho Oyu History


Mount Everest photos Eric Simonson expedition

Climbing above Camp I on Cho Oyu Photo© Eric Simonson Collection

Cho Oyu - the "Turquoise Goddess" in Tibetan - is located at the frontier of Tibet and Nepal. At a height of 8201 meters, it belongs to the Himalayan range, about 30 km west of Everest. It is the sixth highest mountain in the world and was first climbed on October 19th 1954 by the Austrian Herbert Tichy, with Sepp Jochler and Pasang Dava Lama.

"Finally, the peak is reached, the infinite hardships are ended. The last nine hours fighting with the mountain; the time in the death zone above 24,000 foot, the weeks of privations and hardships, even the risk of one's life - is this reward itself really? Yes, certainly! Not because of fame but inner satisfaction: To have found the mountain as friend and have been so near to the sky." Sepp Jochler.

The History: a Time Line

1952: First reconnaissance of Cho Oyu's Northwest face by Edmund Hillary and party.

1954: A small Austrian expedition, under the leadership of Herbert Tichy, make a spectacular first ascent without oxygen on the Northwest face. This new style of climbing big mountains with alpine techniques rewrote mountaineering history.

1958: Second ascent by an Indian expedition. Sherpa Pasang Dawa Lama, who was part of the first ascent, reached the peak for the second time. First death on Cho Oyu.

1959: Four member of an expedition are killed in an avalanche during a failed international women's expedition.

1964: Controversial third ascent by a German expedition. No proof of reaching the summit. Two mountaineers die in Camp 4 of exhaustion at 7600 m (25,000 foot) height.

1978: The Austrian alpinists, Koblmuller and Furtner, succeeds in a spectacular ascent of the extremely difficult and dangerous southeast face.

1983: Reinhold Messner succeeds on his fourth attempt.

1985: First winter ascent by Maciej Baebeka and Maciei Pawlikowski  on 2/12/85. Three days later Andrezej Heinrich and Jerzy Kukuczka summited by the South buttress that has not been repeated on Cho Oyu.

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