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Often Spelled: "Cho-Oyu, Chooyu, Choyu, Qoyu Wag, Choy Oyu, Cho Oyo, Choyo, Choy Oyo"

We welcome you to visit our new Cho Oyu website. There is more thorough information about the trip, slideshows, photo galleries, video clips and much more. Thank you.


new site


World's sixth highest, and one of the most accessible 8000 metre peaks. Located in Tibet, near Everest.

Please "click" the photo above to see short clips from the new dvd.

Cho Oyu, seen from 5250 metres (photo taken from just above Chinese base). The route climbs gently through the right hand face, and the true summit is on the left center of the photo, across the summit plateau. Photographer: D.L. Mazur


This page is linked to the Shishapangma Page. Please "click" here to go to the Shishapangma page.

May 2006: Our Cho Oyu expedition just returned from the mountains. 8 members and five sherpas from 8 countries summitted. Congratulations! For more about our just finished Cho Oyu expedition, please check the news:

 Please be sure to return when you are done. Thanks.


Johan Frankelius (Sweden) reached the summit with our team Sherpas in September of 2005. He has also climbed Ama Dablam with our team and took this black and white photo with a self timer. Andy Sloan from Sussex on the summit of Cho Oyu in September 2005. He is holding a good luck card his Mum gave him (Photo by our very strong and friendly Tibetan Sherpa Lobshang). Doug Cote from Colorado on the summit in September of 2005 (The photographer was Herve Coron from Paris). Tunc Findik (Turkey) on the summit in September 2005. He has climbed Pumori and Cho Oyu with SummitClimb (Thierry Auberson, Switzerland).

Now accepting registrations for our 2008 and 2009 climbs. 

Climbing Cho Oyu would qualify you for Everest. Please see our Everest link for further information. Thank you.

When you see the high level of service we provide, as well as low budget options, you may agree that the cost is affordable, inexpensive, even cheap.


The most difficult part is the 10 metre ice step at 6600 metres, between camp 1 and 2. Here Tim Boelter from St. Paul and Phil Crampton from Nottigham and Houston and John Arnold from Alberta approach it on strong nylon ropes we fixed (Photo: Dan Mazur). Ben from Colorado and Thierry from Switzerland are ascending on solid anchors (Tunc Findik). A climber from a Chinese team ascending the ice step (Andy Sloan).

Our October 2004 Cho Oyu expedition safely reached the summit. 9 members and 4 sherpas from 8 countries climbed the peak. We put the first Nepalese woman Maya Sherpa on the summit in 2004, the 50th anniversary year of the peak' s first ascent. Please read the news: News Button.

You may also wish to combine this with our Shishapangma expedition.

Interested? Please contact us:

* Our “full-service” expedition includes: 

1. Leader: Arnold Coster, accomplished and friendly leaders who have led successful expeditions to the summit of Cho Oyu and Everest. Phil has been to Cho Oyu 5 times. Arnold's last expedition placed 9 of 11 members and 4 Sherpas on the summit of Cho Oyu;
2. Organizer: Jon Christian Otto, fluent Chinese speaker, Tibet and China Expert, with 10 years Himalayan expedition organizing experience;
3. Climbing Sherpas for the group;
4. Transport to base camp for you and equipment to/from Kathmandu, including accommodation and meals on the road;
5. Yak transport of all equipment from the road to and from advanced basecamp;
6. Three hot meals per day in base camp. Comfortable tables and chairs and dining tent;
7. Skillful base camp cooks;
8. All mountain, and base camp food;
9. All permit fees and liaison officers;
10. Use of group gear and supplies: rope, ice, rock, and snow anchor protection; base camp and altitude tents; cookers, fuel, high-altitude food, walkie-talkie radios, etc;
11. Emergency equipment and supplies: medical oxygen, gamow bag, base camp medical kit, high-altitude medical kits, etcetera;
12. In addition to our top-quality high-altitude tents, we now provide an individual tent (1 tent per person) in base camp.

* Our "basic climb" includes: 

1. Leader: Arnold Coster, an accomplished and friendly leader who has led successful expeditions to the summit of Cho Oyu and Everest. Ryan's last expedition placed 9 of 11 members and 4 Sherpas on the summit of Cho Oyu;
2. Organizer: Jon Christian Otto, fluent Chinese speaker, Tibet and China Expert, with 10 years Himalayan climbing experience;
3. All permit fees and liaison officers;
4. Transport to base camp to/from Kathmandu, for you and personal equipment only (boots, ice axe, clothing, sleeping bag), including accommodation and meals on the road;
5. Yak transport for personal equipment only (boots, ice axe, clothing, sleeping bag) from the road to and from advanced basecamp;
6. Emergency equipment and supplies: medical oxygen, gamow bag, base camp medical kit, high-altitude medical kits, etcetera;
7. Access to team fixed ropes and camps (sites, not tents), coordinated with our own "full-service" climbing team.
8. Other necessary services and supplies (ie: extra yaks, trek services, basecamp meals, high altitude services and equipment), may be purchased and hired at minimal expense. We offer basic climb "packages" as noted below, or, we can furnish individual items such as tents, stoves, gas, food, etcetera.

Add the following services to the basic climb:

Basecamp kitchen, cooks, meals, dining, and sleeping tents: $2450, £1150, €1750.

High altitude leaders, sherpas, tents, equipment, walkie-talkies, food, stoves, fuel, etcetera: $2450, £1150, €1750.

Leadership: Arnold Coster, an accomplished and friendly leader who has led successful expeditions to the summit of Cho Oyu and Everest. Arnold's last expedition placed 9 of 11 members and 4 Sherpas on the summit of Cho Oyu. He is a relaxed, considerate and thoughtful person, and a highly-skilled professional who specializes in getting people to the summit and back down in 100 percent safety. For more about Arnold, please "click" on the Leadership link above.


Ryan Waters, one of our leaders, climbing up to the North Col at 7000 metres. Ryan has led one of our teams to the summit of Everest and another to the summit of Cho-Oyu (Ryan Waters). Arnold Coster from Rotterdam, our Cho Oyu leader in advanced basecamp at 5600 metres, Caroline LeTrange from Paris in advanced basecamp at 5600 metres (Roland Debare).

Organization: Your expedition is organized by Jon Christian Otto, fluent Chinese speaker, Tibet and China expert with ten years experience in organizing expeditions in Tibet. Jon is an excellent communicator,  an international diplomat, extremely well organized, with superb attention to each and every detail.  For more about Jon, please "click" on the Leadership link above. 

Our awesome Tibetan Sherpa team with Tunc (pronounced "toonch"). He is a strong friendly climber from Ankara. Here is what SummitClimb leader Phil Crampton has to say about the photo: "The names are from left to right: Wangdu (from Lhatze, Tibet), Tsering Dorje (Nyalam), Tashi Tsering (Shigatse), Tunc Findik (Turkey) and Aden (Shegar). Tunc has climbed Pumori, Broad Peak, Cho Oyu, Everest and guides on Elbrus. All the Tibetan climbers came from the Tibetan Mountain School in Lhasa and have climbed Everest at least once with Tashi making the summit three times. SummitClimb have been supporting the school since day one."

Sherpas and Equipment Transport: Our expedition includes transport of all of your equipment from Kathmandu to advanced basecamp, and returned to Kathmandu. We could also bring you to basecamp from Lhasa, Tibet. More and more members are choosing to take the Lhasa option. While climbing on the mountain, we DO NOT ask our full-service members to carry heavy group equipment (although it is an option if you really want to), such as tents, rope, fuel, food, etcetera. We employ climbing sherpas, and high-altitude porters, to carry group equipment and supplies. For a minimal expense, we can also provide personal sherpas and climbing-guides to individual members who wish to have their own private sherpa or personal climbing-guide. We now encourage members to hire a 1/4 of a sherpa, to help with high altitude equipment transport, both up and down the mountain. Please visit our Sherpa link to learn more.

Chinese truck taking our equipment to basecamp, which we drive to, at 4700 metres (Roland Debare).

Oxygen: You should consider whether or not you wish to use supplemental oxygen. About half of our Cho Oyu team members do. Its not like Everest where oxygen is absolutely necessary, but some Cho-Oyu climbers like it because it gives them a little extra edge of "insurance" that they will be feeling as well as possible when resting in the high camp and on summit day, both climbing up to the summit and on descent. In addition, supplemental oxygen usage has been shown to markedly reduce the incidence of frostbite. Our sherpas will help you carry the oxygen, and two four-litre bottles should be more than enough (1 might suffice), and you also need the mask, hoses, and regulator. Or, you can have the full set of five bottles plus mask-regulator-hoses.  All of the equipment is guaranteed to work well together, and it is easy to use, with simple threaded and snap-on fittings which require no tools. We have a 60% buy back policy bottles on unused oxygen, and masks, hoses, and regulators in good condition. Please visit our Oxygen link to learn more.

Training: Upon arrival in Kathmandu and in the base camp, ALL full-service and basic-climb members are requested to participate in one to two days of orientation to how the trip will be operated, with plenty of time for discussion, question answering and time for equipment review and purchasing, also training will be conducted both in Kathmandu and in basecamp in the areas of climbing techniques, glacier travel, rope fixing, ascending, descending, safety techniques, rappels (abseils), belaying, medical equipment and procedures, communications equipment, camping techniques and high-altitude cooking. For the expert and beginner alike, it is important to review these techniques in order to enhance skills, ensure safety-awareness, and work together as a team.

Safety: BOTH full-service and basic expeditions are allowed access to our extensive communications equipment, medical supplies, first-aid kits, medical oxygen, and a gamow bag in case of emergency. Thank you for being a well-prepared and safe team member!

Group Equipment: We provide a plethora of well-used, top-quality, and time-tested equipment, group gear, and supplies, including: rope, ice, rock, and snow anchor protection; base camp and altitude tents; cookers, fuel, high-altitude food, walkie-talkie radios, bamboo marker wands, etcetera. We now provide each member with their own individual tent in base camp, so you do not have to share. Please see the EQUIPMENT link, to study what we bring for your use and safety.

Cooks and Food: On the road we eat in local restaurants. In base camp and advanced base camp our skillful and hard working cooks prepare three hot meals each day with a very healthy diet of fresh vegetables, cheeses, eggs, and fresh as well as tinned fruits, meats and fish (all meats and fish are prepared separately out of respect for the vegetarians in our midst). They supply you with unlimited hot-drinks, a key to successful acclimatization. We have large weather-proof kitchens and dining tents, with comfortable chairs and tables. On the mountain, above advanced base camp, we provide you with abundant and nutritious locally available quick-cooking food, so that you may prepare at least three meals and lots of hot drinks each day, in our specially designed high-altitude stoves using our butane-propane expedition mix fuel.

Kipa Sherpa, our expert cook, has taken classes at 5-star hotels in Kathmandu. He cooks three delicious hot meals each day in basecamp and advanced basecamp (Roland Debare).

Personal Equipment: Plastic double climbing boots are required, but for Cho Oyu you will most likely prefer "One-Sport" boots which are double-boots made of composite layers laminated together and have a built-in gaiter. Good quality leather walking boots are necessary for the trek ("broken-in" please). You will need to bring your own personal equipment, including boots as mentioned above, as well as rucksack, iceaxe, crampons, harness, helmet,  down/duvet jacket and trousers or a down/duvet suit, wind/waterproof clothing, sleeping bag/mat, etcetera. We ask you to bring your own daily snack-energy food and 4 of your favorite high-altitude freeze-dried dinners for yourself. Please see the EQUIPMENT link, to study what is needed.

Team Member Experience: Our leaders and our team-climbing-sherpas are there to ensure (for our full-service members) you make it up to the summit and back down safely. However, this is not a guided expedition (although you could hire your own personal guide, sherpas, etcetera), and team members are expected to be able to care for themselves in a winter-camping and climbing environment. Although Cho-Oyu is considered to be the world's most accessible 8000 metre peak, there are hazards present, and members must have experience in roped rock and ice climbing techniques (to protect from falling down the mountain or into crevasses), and have winter-condition climbing experience in the greater ranges of the world. It is also required that all members will have an awareness of altitude sickness, frostbite, and the recognition of their symptoms, prevention, and treatment. Once traveling above camp 1, all members must climb with another team member or Sherpa at all times. Neither solo climbing, nor descending, are allowed above camp 1.

Fitness and Health: To participate in this expedition you must be a very fit and active winter-walker-climber in good health. Prior to joining our group, please see your doctor and obtain the necessary permission and advice, as well as medications for travel in extremes of altitude, and also for exotic locales. Note: You can purchase all necessary medicines inexpensively with no doctor's prescription in Kathmandu. Please make sure you have physically trained yourself very thoroughly before joining this climb of one of the sixth highest peak in the world. We look forward to climbing together with you!

Yak drivers waiting for the loads to be allotted in ABC at 5600 metres. Being a yak driver for climbers has become a pretty good job for a Tibetan farmer (Tunc Findik).

Introduction: Climb Cho-Oyu (8,201 Metres) World's Sixth Highest and Most Accessible... During our last expedition, nine of 11 of our members reached the summit, along with 4 Sherpas. For further information, please CLICK the "News" button. Thank you.

Cho-Oyu has only recently become a popular mountain to climb.  It is now known to be one of the most accessible of the world’s fourteen 8,000 metre mountains.  This is because the ascent to the summit is short and direct, with a few small technical sections, less than 6 metres high, climbed using fixed lines. Additionally, the mountain can be easily reached by four-wheel-drive vehicle, and the trail to Camp 1 at 6,400 metres, is basically a steep walk on talus slopes, often done in hiking boots.  This expedition to Cho-Oyu maximizes our previous successful ascents on the peak itself, plus many years of accumulated wisdom of the high Himalaya, a strong record of reaching 8,000 metre summits, along with an intimate knowledge of the Tibetan and Chinese officials who regulate the permit system.  We must also give credit to the highly experienced and hard-working leaders, sherpas and staff.

Please take a moment to scroll through this page to read the detailed description, and view the itinerary, as well as other information. 

        cho-map.JPG (28335 bytes)      

The route follows the left hand skyline, barely visible in this photo.  (Photo:  J. Otto). Route map, showing the three camps, and the normal route. The fixed rope pitches are just below Camp 2.  (Web Collection). The ice step seen from below (Roland Debare). The ice step is considered to be the crux of the climb, although it is quite easy with no vertical climbing and perhaps 5 metres of ice, which is ascended and descended on fixed lines.

Interested? Please contact us:

Detailed Description

The trip begins in the ancient and colorful city of Kathmandu (you could also start in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, or Chengdu and drive in from exotic Lhasa, and more and more of our members are doing just that). You stay in a comfortable, simple, clean hotel, and sample some of the tasty Nepalese, Tibetan and Western-Style cuisine. During your free days in Kathmandu, you shall finalize arrangements, including your group visa, and take some time out for trinket hunting, with potential visits to explore the 17th century splendors of the Monkey Temple, the Durbar Square and old Kings Palace, as well as the ancient city of Patan.

Early in the morning you set out in a bus for the last Nepal town of Kodari at 1,770 meters.  If you are concerned about the altitude and have purchased Diamox (acetylzolamide), which is inexpensively available with no doctor's prescription in Kathmandu, this might be the time to begin taking it. You clear Nepalese customs and immigration, then hire local porters and vehicles to carry your bags across the Bota Kosi River on the Friendship Bridge, to Zhangmu, the gateway town in Tibet.   Upon entering Tibet, the clocks immediately go forward by 2 ¼ hours. Your liaison officer will meet you in Zhangmu. After clearing Tibetan customs and immigration, a Chinese bus takes you up the windy road through the rolling hills to Nyalam town at 3,750 meters, and a basic "hotel". The smaller towns in Tibet are generally simple and rustic places, and this one is no exception. The topography here is quite interesting in that you are perched in the transitional zone where the Tibetan plateau rams into the Himalaya, then drops into the forested valleys and jungles of Nepal, and finally out into the Gangetic plain of the Terai and India. You stay over one extra day and night in Nyalam, to help adjust to the altitude. During your rest day in Nyalam, you might wish to hang out in the Tashi Amdo teashop, and enjoy a variety of pleasant treks on the hillsides, as well as explore some interesting small Buddhist gompas (temples).


Yaks taking us to ABC at 5600 metres (Roland DeBare). Walter walking through the moraine to camp 1 at 6400 metres. You can normally do this part of the climb in a good sturdy pair of trekking shoes (DL Mazur). Paul hanging out in front of his tent at camp 1 at 6400 metres (we provide a personal basecamp-advanced basecamp tent for each member, so you don't have to share). Dan from Colorado and Ron from Washington enjoying the sun at advanced basecamp at 5600 metres. (Roland DeBare).

In the morning you continue your bus-ascent into the Tibetan plateau, to the town of Tingri at 4,342 meters.  There are superb views of Shishapangma, Cho-Oyu, and Everest as you drive into Tingri.  The town itself is a very basic one-street hamlet surrounded by the tents of nomadic Tibetans.   About ½ of all ethnic Tibetans living in Tibet are nomadic or semi-nomadic.   Your extremely rustic little hotel has an adequate restaurant, and it will be interesting to see if the high altitude has quelled your appetite for tasty fresh food. There are the ruins of an old fortress on a rise above town, and from here you can see the finest views of Everest, Lhotse, Cho-Oyu, and Shishapangma.

The following morning, after what for many is a relatively sleep-free night, you drive the 44 kilometers to Cho Oyu base camp at around 4,970 meters.  The drive follows a dirt road along the Ra Chu Valley and has spectacular views of the Himalayan.  Chinese base camp is located just below the Jabula glacier, also known as the Kyetrag or Gyabrag glacier (romanisations of Tibetan have not been finalized). You will rest for a day in Chinese base, to allow for packing and acclimatizing.

You then spend two days moving up to the "advanced basecamp" at 5,600 metres, which is actually the true base camp for our climb.  From here, you will complete your climb of Cho Oyu.

Cho Oyu is basically a 10 to 50 degree slope, with a few tiny pitches of steep rock, snow, and ice. The highest technical section is an "ice/snow-step" just six metres high. These sections are 100 percent climbed on fixed lines, with the highest degree of safety.  Camp 1 is located in a saddle at 6,400 meters, at the base of the north-west ridge.  The trail to Camp 1 crosses a flattish glacier, than a hill with loose scree and stone sometimes with snow.  It is often referred to as the: "horrible hill" and is nearly always accomplished in mere trekking shoes.


Camp 1 in a saddle on the ridge at 6400 metres. You can usually walk to camp 1 in just a sturdy pair of trekking shoes . (DL Mazur). Our team of Sherpas and climbers moving from Camp 1 up to Camp 2 at 7000 metres (Arnold Coster). Andy Sloan, Matt Ward, and Nick Williams (Sussex, Birmingham, and London) at camp 2 (7000 metres) on Cho Oyu, September, 2005 (Photo by Phil Crampton from Texas and Nottingham). Camp 3 (our highest camp) at 7450 metres. The peaks in the distance include the nearly 8000 metre Gyachung Kang. (DL Mazur). 

The Northwest ridge opens onto the northwest face, and there is one easy 6 metre high technical fixed ice/snow step, then Camp 2 is placed just above a sloped section at 7,000 meters.  Camp 3 is located on the northwest ridge-face at 7,450 meters.  You shall attempt the summit from Camp 3.  

On summit day, you climb through a few small-easy rock steps (4 metres high) and mixed snow to the wide summit plateau and make the long plateau traverse to the little bump that marks the summit, at 8,201 meters. You know you are on the true summit when you see the inspiring views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu, and the entire Khumbu valley.


Maya Sherpa, the first Nepalese woman to reach the summit of Cho Oyu is a member of the SummitClimb team (Roland Debare). Dan and another one of our sturdy sherpas, Durga Tamang, on the summit, Mt Everest and Makalu in the background. We were lucky that we had very good weather with sunshine and little wind (T. Boelter and DL Mazur).

The proposed itinerary allows enough time for proper acclimatization, rest days, and several returns to base camp, where the kitchen and base camp staff can look after all of your needs, and quell your appetite. The weather at this time of year is normally quite good and stable. However, we all know the global weather is changing, and in case of storms, you will note the proposed itinerary includes extra days as well. In previous expeditions, half of those who reached the summit needed every single "extra" day.

After packing up all of your equipment, supplies, and rubbish, you will make a short return trek and drive to Tingri, have a feast at the restaurant and stay in the hotel.  The following morning, you are up early, and drive all the way down to Zhangmu, hire porters to carry everything over the Friendship Bridge, then catch a bus into Kathmandu, where you can enjoy a hot shower and a grand Nepalese western-style feast. In Kathmandu, you can have a day to relax, celebrate, tour the valley, write postcards, and do a bit more shopping, before heading home.  We hope you had a safe, enjoyable, and successful adventure. Thanks for joining in!

At our celebration upon return to Kathmandu. We had quite a welcome home party for the members and staff, who placed these silk scarves, known as "Kattas" around our necks, to honour us and wish us good luck in our return journey to our homes. Arnold, Maya, and Ryan, our leadership team. Roland, Caroline, and Jacques (Caroline and Jacques were married shortly afterward), the Belge and two French. Neil and Mon from England. Dan Blake from Colorado. (Roland Debare).

Suggested day-by-day itinerary for Cho Oyu climb:


Arrive Kathmandu (1,300 metres).  Hotels in Kathmandu at your own expense;

2. Hand over passport to China Embassy, begin processing of Chinese Visa. Training and equipment review at hotel in Kathmandu;
3. Receive processed visa from Chinese embassy. Hotel; We may choose to depart Kathmandu for Tibet on this day;


Begin Expedition! Bus to Zhangmu, Tibet (2500 metres); drive to Nyalam (3,750 m).  Transport, restaurants and hotels in Tibet, at organizer's expense;


Rest in Nyalam (3,750 metres).  Walk in the surrounding hills, hang out in the Tashi Amdo teashop. Hotel;


Drive to Tingri at 3900 metres. Hotel;

7. Rest in Tingri at 3900 metres. Hotel;
8. Drive to Chinese Base, 4700 metres, Camp;


Rest at Chinese Base;

10. Walk halfway to advanced base camp, camp at 5100 metres;
11. Rest day at "interim-camp" at 5100 metres;
12. Walk to advanced base camp at 5600 metres. Rest
13. Rest, training, and organization at advanced base camp;
14. Walk to camp 1 at 6200 metres, return to advanced base camp.
15. Rest in advanced base camp;
16. Walk to camp 1, Sleep;
17.  Explore the route to Camp 2 at 6700 metres. Return to advanced base camp. 
18.  Rest in advanced base camp;
19. Rest in advanced base camp;
20. Walk to camp 1 and sleep there;
21. Walk to camp 2 and sleep there;
22.  Explore the route to camp 3 at 7400 metres. Return to advanced base camp. Rest;
23. Rest in advanced base camp;
24. Rest in advanced base camp;
25. Rest in advanced base camp;
26. Walk to camp 1 and sleep there;
27. Walk to camp 2 and sleep there;
28. Walk to camp 3 and sleep there;
29. Summit attempt;
30. Summit attempt;
31. Summit attempt;
32. Summit attempt;
33. Summit attempt, descend to camp 2;
34. Descend to advanced base camp, pack and prepare to depart;
35. Final packing, walk down from advanced base camp to Chinese base, drive to Tingri and spend the night;
36. Drive from Tingri to Kathmandu;
37. Celebration Banquet. Packing and final shopping in Kathmandu;
38. Say Good-bye to your new friends, Departure for home

Tim Boelter, of Media Ventures, shot a video of the climb, and it is now for sale as a DvD. We are proud to be working with this excellent company. To view some short clips from the video, with sound, please click the photo below:


Tim Boelter filming on Cho Oyu, John Arnold and Ian Hatchett in the lens. (DL Mazur). After you watch the video, be sure to return here, where you can continue exploring Cho Oyu.










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