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  Cho Oyu the 6th highest mountain in the world

  • Cho Oyu: 26,906 feet; 8201 meters!

  • GPS: Latitude 28; 06' N   Longitude 86; 39' E

  • How Big ? The 6th highest mountain in the world.

  • 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.

  • First climbed on October 19th 1954 by the Austrian Herbert Tichy, with Sepp Jochler and Pasang Dava Lama.

  • The History: Time line

BACKGROUND ON CHO OYU: The Mountain: Cho Oyu is the world's sixth highest mountain at 8201 m (26,901 feet), and lies 28 km west of Mt. Everest on the Tibetan plateau. The peak itself straddles the Nepal Tibet border, and the peak can be approached on its south side from the Thame valley of the Khumbu region of Nepal leading up to the Lungsampa Glacier. From the north, the peak is approached from the Tingri Plain, to the Palung Glacier that lies below the peak's north face, and the Gyabrag Glacier that surrounds the Northwest face. Cho Oyu has three main ridges: the Northwest, the Northeast, and the Southwest.

Cho Oyu's impressive Southwest face, that rises up three kilometers high from the Lungsampa Glacier, drew the attention of the first expedition to the Everest Himal organized by the British in 1921. Three decades would pass before it was first attempted, in 1952, by an expedition led by Eric Shipton. They were turned back at 6650 m (22,500') by the ice cliff on the Northwest ridge that proved to be beyond their technical limits. (AAJ 27 1953, p.581). Cho Oyu was successfully climbed two years later in the post-monsoon season of 1954 via the Northwest ridge by Austrians Herbert Tichy , Sepp Johler and Sherpa Passang Dawa Lama, who led the ice cliff that Shipton had described as "obviously impassible." (AAJ 29 1955, p. 178) . That same year, Cho Oyu was attempted by a French expedition that included Mme. Claude Kogan, and although they were turned back at 7600 m (25,000'), her altitude record for women lasted many years.

The Northwest Ridge:
Also known as the Tichy Route, the Northwest Ridge was the route of first ascent and is the route we will climb. It begins from the Gyabrag Glacier at the base of Peak 6446. Advanced base camp (ABC) will be located here, at about 5500 m (18,000') depending on snow levels. The route is predominately 35 to 50 degree snow and ice with a few short bands of rock and vertical ice sections.

The route ascends the scree and firn of Peak 6446, skirting the summit of Peak 6446 on its western side. Camp 1 will be put in at about 6400 m (21,000'), where Peak 6446 joins the Northwest ridge proper of Cho Oyu. From Camp 1 the route follows the Northwest ridge, and then opens out onto the Northwest face of the upper mountain. About halfway between Camp 1 and Camp 2 the ice cliff is encountered, which is a 150 foot mix of short bands of near vertical ice. Most of the route between Camp 1 and 2 will be fixed with rope. Camp 2 will be located at about 7000 m (23,000'). Some expeditions have put in a temporary intermediate camp between C1 and C2, below the ice cliff on the Northwest ridge at about 6600 m (21,600'), especially during the first or second acclimatization trip.

High camp will be placed at about 7450 m (24,500') to maximize the chance of success on summit day. From here, the first obstacle is the "Yellow Band"  (same as on Everest) which is usually fixed with rope, and which requires some strenuous climbing.  Above this, more rocky bands and steep snow put the climbers on the summit ridge snowfield.  Expeditions usually continue up this steep snowfield to the crest of the Northwest Ridge and the false summit.  From here climbers cross a broad plateau, with a very small rise to the true summit of 8201 m (26, 901 feet).  From the true summit it is possible to get an incredible view of Everest.

Cho Oyu Base Camp
(Courtesy of Eric Simonson
Altitech2: Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms. Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032 battery. See more here.

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