Cho Oyu Climbing Expedition News Autumn
Cho Oyu Climbing Expedition News Autumn
As I write this, we are resting in a broad icy-rocky glacial valley at Mount Cho Oyu advanced basecamp (ABC) at 6400 metres, 21,000 feet. Located in Tibet near to Mt. Everest, and known as the 'Turquoise Goddess', right now mighty Cho Oyu is living up to her beautiful name, as it is a gorgeous sunny morning and the world's 6th highest mountain, bedecked in garlands of snow, towers above our little yellow tents, fluttering prayer flags, drying laundry, and our comfortable large dining tent with a tv, lights, music, heater, insulated floor and walls, comfortable chairs and tables, all powered by two efficient solar panels. We are down here after our 4-day foray to the summit at 8200 metres / 26,000 feet. Our strong and loyal Sherpas led us up there, helping us to set up warm high camps, and fixed stout ropes through deep snow and attain a gorgeous summit. After being away for nearly a week, the relative luxury of ABC spoils and lays us back in certain ways, yet with each glimpse over our shoulders at the hulking white mountain above, a powerful recollection of thin air and high snowy ridges mentally draws us straight back up to where we just were. Back to top
Dan Mazur on the summit. Photo Juergen Landmann. Matt Olsen on summit morning. James Grieve Photo.
Matt, James, and Jangbu with the Flag of Scotland on Cho Oyu. Matti Sunell Photo.
Juergen Landmann on the summit. Dan Mazur Photo. James Grieve on the summit. Everest Massif, including Nuptse and Lhotse in the background. Matt Olsen Photo.
- 30 September
- 29 September
- 28 September
- 27 September
- 26 September
- 25 September
- 24 September
- 23 September
- 21 September
- 20 September
- 19 September
- 18 September
- 17 September
- 16 September
- 15 September
- 14 September
- 13 September
- 12 September
- 11 September
- 9 September
- 8 September
- 7 September
- 6 September
- 5 September
- 4 September
- 3 September
- 2 September
- 1 September
- 31 August
- Team Roster
Looking down from camp 3 to camp 2, camp 1, abc, and the vast sweep of the Gyebrag glacier below. Jangbu Sherpa Photo. JJ crossing the vast summit plateau of Cho Oyu. Matti Sunell Photo.
Dan abseiling down to camp 3 in a blizzard. Juergen Landmann Photo. Dan climbing to the summit with camps 3, 2, 1, Abc, Bc, Gyebrag glacier, and Mount Shishapangma in background. Juergen Landmann Photo.
Today we walked down from camp to 2 to camp 1, and then all of the way back down to ABC.Back to top
Today we left camp 3 at around 1:50 am and reached the summit between 9am and 11am, then after summitting. went down to camp 3, and then down again to camp 2, where we spent the night. As expected, the summit plateau was long and challenging to cross. It took the most out of the members. The members who chose to use oxygen were stronger and faster, and had their wits more about them. The members not using oxygen claimed to experience some hallucinations due to the hypoxia which accompanied them throughout the summit plateau hike. One member imagined he was arriving at a tourist centre. Another thought he saw animals morph out of the snow. One member confused empty oxygen bottles stuck in the snow with a fellow climber. Our earliest summiters got a rare view of the Everest massif and the many high and sharp peaks on the Nepal side. It takes a few minutes when you walk across the summit plateau to realize that you really are seeing Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse, so unusual is the viewpoint.
Kangchenjunga can be seen far in the east. The climb back down Cho Oyu was certainly challenging. Wending our way all of the way back down to Camp 2 made for a challenging day out. Back to top
Today's Tweet from Expedition Leader Dan Mazur:
- Cho Oyu team has returned safely to C2. It was tough going down from summit. Was it a blizzard? Yes. Was it exciting? Yes!
- SummitClimb team now standing a top Mount Cho Oyu. Warm with light wind. Starting to snow, time to descend!
Written by Juergen Landmann: Tag 26 Ich habe sehr unruhig geschlafen. Den halben Vormittag bleiben wir froestelnd und doesend im Schlafsack. Dann wird gepackt, nach dem Mittagessen starten wir zum weiteren Aufstieg. Teschnisch recht einfach, aber ungehaeuer anstrengend geht es quasi gerade hoch auf einen kleinen Grad in Camp3. Erst um 19.00 sind wir auf 7555m."Todeszone!" Hier graben wir Terrassen fuer die Zelte in den Schnee. Die Sherpa, besonders Jangbu arbeiten unglaublich. Bis 22.30 schmelze ich Schnee, damit wir ach ja genug zu trinken haben. Back to top
Climbers just below the summit plateau early in the morning. Juergen Landmann Photo. Dan and Juergen Landmann with Tibetan Plateau in the background on summit morning. Juergen Landmann Photo.
Looking out across Tibet on summit night. Mount Shishapangma in upper left, Mount Jobo Rabzang in lower right. Juergen Landmann Photo. JJ climbing to the summit. Juergen Landmann Photo.
Today we woke up and had a sunny morning breakfast, then Jangbu Sherpa and Ang Pasang came down from preparing the route to the summit and together we packed up everything and climbed up the steep hill from camp 2 to camp 3. Upon reaching camp 3, we set up tents on the steepish snow slope in a terrace-wise fashion, then started melting snow and getting ready for a midnight wake-up and start.
Today's Tweet from Expedition Leader Dan Mazur:
- We are in camp 3 @ 7500 mtrs / 24,000 ft. Heading for #summit @ midnight. Calm, no wind. Wish us luck!
- SummitClimb's Cho Oyu team is now in camp2 @ 7100 m / 23,000 ft. Going for camp3 and summit 2nite. Watch us!
Written by Juergen Landmann: Tag 25, 7.00 wecken, etwas essen gegen 8 beginnt das Aufstehen. Die Sonne scheint, aber es ist eisig. Die Steigeisen anderer knirschen draussen vorbei. Wir brechen bei wechselhaftem Wetter 9.45 auf mal schwitzt man mal ist fast die Daunenjacke zu kalt. Die Steilstufe am Seracabbruch kennen wir ja schon, die stellt heute auch keine groessere Schwierigkeit dar. C1.5 ist leer, weirer im Rechtsschwenk auf "Jangbus Way" nach oben. C2 auf 7180m erreichen wir mit Sonnenuntergang. Schlagartig ist es arschkalt und einige sind nicht mehr in der Lage, die Zelte aufzustellen. Aber wir sind ja ein Team! Ploetzlich wieder die Meldung: Wir duerfen in stehende Zelte, nicht schlecht! Also unsere eigenen wieder einpacken und "haeuslich niederlassen"
Danke fuer die Gastfreundlichkeit. Wie schmelzen Unmengen Schnee, kochen etwas , trinken viel und fuellen die Flaschen fuer morgen. Eine weitere kalte Nacht beginnt. Back to top
Hot Shower tent in advanced basecamp, Cho Oyu summit in background. Matti Sunell Photo of Juergen. Juergen Landmann takes a break while abseiling down to camp 3. Juergen Landmann Photo.
Today we walked from camp 1 to camp 2. Having been to camp 2 before, on ropes fixed by our own Sherpas, we knew it would be a long walk. When we reached camp 2 we went to sleep immediately. The weather was good. During the night, two of our Sherpas, Jangbu, and Ang Pasang, joined forces with 2 Sherpas from another group and fixed ropes to the summit at 4am.
Today's Tweet from Expedition Leader Dan Mazur:
- After 3 days of rest in ABC, we are back up high again, in camp 1, and headed for camp 2. Please wish us luck!
Written by Juergen Landmann: Tag 24, nachdem wir 3 Tage im ABC mehr oder weniger geruht haben, sollen wir uns ab heute wieder mehr bewegen. Zu meinem Erstaunen hat irgendwer schon mal das Fruehstueck um 20min vorverlegt. Als ich mich, noch halb steif, aus meiner Behausung pelle, steht der immer gut gelaunte Jimmy da und wollte mich eben wecken. Wir fruehstuecken reichlich wie immer, es gibt Porridge, Eier, Brot, Gebratene Wurst und Kaese. Es fehlt an nichts.
Die Rucksaecke sind gepackt. 10.15 brechen wir auf. Dass es ernst wird, merken wir an den angezuendeten Raeucherstaebchen und an Jimmy. Der sitzt da und hat fuer jeden Opferreis parad. Wir nehmen ein wenig davon in die Hand und werfen ihn in Richtung Choerten, jeder fuer sich allein. Ich denke, jeder macht dabei irgendwie seinen Frieden mit dem Berg. Ich bitted arum, die Gruppe gut hoch und wieder runter zu lassen.
Nacheinander umrunden wir den Turm aus Steinen und marschieren los. Bei 7Grad und stahlblauem Himmel finden wir einen guten Rytmus und erreichen nach 2h den Killerhang, schon wieder. Also hoch, dem staendigen Bombardement aller Kaliber ausweichend. Ziemlich fertig sind wir um 14.40 auf 6265m. Als es an Zelte aufstellen geht, kommt von irgendwo her die Nachricht, wireiner anderen Expedition nutzen. Sherpas machen so etwas praktischerweise untereinander aus, cool! Jimmy und Jangbu versorgen uns mit Tee, Keksen Wurst und Kaese, waerend wir uns fuer eine Nacht einigermassen einrichten.
Zu Abend gibt es dann nochGemuesesuppe und Spagetti in Tomatensosse. Back to top
Predawn panorama showing Mount Cho Oyu on the left and unnamed peaks in centre and on right, across the Nangpa-La Pass. Photo Juergenn Landmann.
Preparing to pack up camp 3 and descend in a blizzard after summiting. Juergen Landmann Photo. Mera, Numbur, and Kwangde Peak seen at sunrise on 26 September. James Grieve Photo.
Juergen Landmann back home in ABC in his personal sleeping tent. Photos of his family on the wall over his shoulder. Juergen Landmann Photo. Dan hoists a yummy celebration cake baked skillful advanced basecamp cook Dorje. Juergen Landmann Photo.
Path from camp 2 looking up to camp 3 and summit above. Matti Sunell Photo. Path from camp 2 looking up to camp 3 and summit above. Matti Sunell Photo. Time for a refreshing beverage in ABC. Juergen Landmann Photo. Hope Juergen's trekking boot makes the trip out ok. JJ Photo.
Today's Tweet from Expedition Leader Dan Mazur:
- Rest in ABC after summit. Hot showers, tasty food, drink, new friends. Happy 4 return to loved ones. We'll miss beautiful Tibet! Back to top
JJ, Matt, and James preparing their kit in camp 2. Photo Matti Sunell. Jangbu and Dan putting up tents in camp 3 on summit night. Photo Juergen Landmann.
Preparing for the summit attempt on this date, and weather has played a big part in our calculations. We have looked at several weather reports and studied these intensely, checking on the best date to leave so that we may have enough of a window to leave ABC, (advance base camp), and reach the summit then return safely. Our decision was made and we left on the morning of Monday the 23rd. All our preparations were made the night before and we set off early and headed directly towards camp 1 at 6400 metres / 21,000 feet. Where we had to climb the scree hill, (or horrible hill), before we reached camp 1 and we were very glad to make camp and rest before our next part of the summit climb the next day. Everyone has seemed very fit and very strong, and the plans are going very well. Back to top
- Written by Juergen Landmann: Tag 21 Haben wir alle geschlafen, wie die Babys, mollig warm und butterweich. Jen ach Wetterbericht werden wir nun 2-3 Tage regenerieren, uns der Koerperpflege witmen und dann erneut den Aufstieg angehen. Ich fuehle mich gesund und kraeftig, viele liebe Gruesse nach Hause, euer Lander
Today's Tweet from Expedition Leader Dan Mazur:
- Safely returned from C2 to Advanced Basecamp. All are ok. It's snowing and windy here. After 3 days rest, we hope to try for the top!
Friday 20th September - Rest in 'ABC'
Today we awoke to the usual sound of the morning "drums", let me explain, in the morning we have a light dusting of snow and ice over every tent from the snowfall during the night and the noise of a drum like sound can be heard as everyone tries to clear their tents from the inside and get rid of this unwanted cold ice and snow.
Then it is tea and hot water in our tents, helpfully supplied by our very good SHERPAS. After this we are summoned to the canteen by the cook where some delicious food has been prepared for us, such as pancakes, eggs, and so on. Truly for the altitude and the facilities that the cook has at his disposal then I must admit we have a great breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After breakfast we are free to acclimatize at our own validation and we then we can have a lovely hot shower, (after so many days, week), I cannot tell you how good this feels. We shave, wash clothes, and fortunately the weather is on our side and we can hang our wet, washed clothing out to dry in the breezy yet very sunny air. Now that we are back in ABC, (advance base camp), we are able to SKYPE, check e-mail, and we are very fortunate to have these rest days.
The whole team seems to be acclimatizing well, and off course our gaze is forever looking upward towards the CHO OYU and the summit or ultimate goal.
Many teams pass our tents as we are resting and eating, they are heading to camp 2, where we have already been to, and off course we shall proceed there once again shortly.
So back to our daily routine of preparing and acclimatizing, we have lunch, (once more a delicious affair), then dinner, (again equally superb). After this we watch some movies on our DVD player, and then it is a good night to everyone and on with the head torches to make our way off to our individual tents. A few pages of a book and night has befallen us once more. We await another day ! Written by James Grieve from Edinburgh, Scotland. Back to top
- Written by Juergen Landmann: Tag 20. schon 6.30 gibt es Tee und Porridge. Das Lager wird abgebrochen und nur ein Depot mit Sachen fuer C1 zurueckgelassen. Wir brechen im totalen White-Out auf, weiter nach oben. Den Weg zu finden ist schwierig. Schade um die erhoffte Aussicht. Dazu kommt die ueble Schinderei im immer wieder unter den Fuessen knietief einbrechenden Schnee. Die Sherpa, die die meisten Lasten schleppen, ( ich habe 16kg, die Jungs mehr als das doppelte) leisten uebermenschliches. Camp 2 auf etwa 7000m erreichen wir gegen Mittag, kurze Rast, Depot mit allen Zelten und persoenlichen Dingen und Nahrungsmitteln verstauen und schon beginnt der lange Abstieg.Leider sind die Sichtverhaeltnisse immernoch bei teils 10m. Das Wichtigste ist jetzt, die immer wieder zugewehte Spur nicht zu verlieren. Zurueck am Depot im C1.5 die boese Ueberraschung, Raben und Kraehen haben sich auf der Suche nach Fressbaren ueber unsere Hinterlassenschaften hergemacht. Alle Saecke sind angehackt, aufgerissen und das Innere nach draussen gezogen. Zum Glueck haelt sich der Schaden in Grenzen. Wir verstauen also unsere Habseligkeiten im Rucksack und steigen weiter zu C1 ab. Hier kann die schwere Bergausruestung und die Steigeisen abgelegt und ein weiteres Depot errichtet werden. In leichrerer Montur geht es hinunter zum ABC, was wir erst um 20.00 erreichen, ein langer Tag. Jimmy empfaengt uns mit heissem Saft un als alle da sind, kredenzt uns unser Koch Dorje ein leckeres Abendessen. In der Nacht zu Back to top
Thursday 19 September - camp 2 to advanced basecamp.
This was to be the hardest day physically of the expedition so far. Our plan was to climb up to camp Two @ 7100 metres / 23,000 feet, leave a deposit of expedition equipment, to be used later and then descend all the way to ABC.
We started the new route towards camp 2, steep at first, then more walking than climbing. During the day the clouds closed in, so we had only the little flags and footprints of a previous climber to lead us to the camp.
There are many false "final" slopes before the climber really arrives at camp 2.
After leaving the things we would later need higher on the mountain to camp 2, we went down. We picked up the rest of what we had left in camp 1.5 and continued. The ice wall needed three short but easy rappels. In camp 1 we left the high mountain gear and went on to walk down the horrible hill. It started to snow and while we were on the glacier it became dark. Walking in the light of headlamps and on snowy rocks was much slower than in normal conditions, but we finally arrived in ABC, had dinner and slept solidly after our completed acclimatization round. Written by Matti Sunell from Helsinki, Finland. Back to top
- Written by Juergen Landmann: Tag 19 ist wieder ein Ruhetag Wir versuchen die Sonnestrahlen zwischen den Windboehen zu geniessen. Gestern sind hier 4 Sherpa beim Verlegen der Fixseile von einer Lawine runtergeraeumt worden, gluecklicherweise nur 3 Verletzte. Einem leisteten wir Erste Hilfe. Jangbu und Ang Pasang, unsere beiden Sherpa haben heute einen neue Route, weiter rechts, laenger aber dafuer viel sicherer Seilversichert. Back to top
Today's Tweet from Expedition Leader Dan Mazur:
- Golden sunset. super Sherpas Jangbu & Ang Pasang made route to C2 @ 7100m-23,000ft. Condolences to injured yesterday avalanche.
- Camped @ 6800 m / 22,000 ft. Light wind-sun-cloud. Sherpas from diff group hit by avalanche. We gave first aid.
Wednesday 18 September - rest in camp 1.5 From camp 1.5 the route to camp 2 rises steeply to the right among seracs.
We could clearly see were the avalanches had broken the route the day before. The traditional route wasn't safe anymore, so in the morning Jangbu and Ang Pasang , (two of our Sherpas), started to search for a new start for the route to the right of the original. By noon they had found and fixed a line that takes the right side of the steepest section and joins the original where the route turns to an easy walking path. We spent the day at camp 1.5 resting and enjoying the scenery. Written by Matti Sunell, Helsinki, Finland. Back to top
Today's Tweet from Expedition Leader Dan Mazur:
- We had a rest in Cho Oyu's camp 1 @ 6400 m / 21,000 ft. Light winds, bright sunshine, 'warm'
Tuesday 17 September - move to camp 1.5
The team moved up the mountain to 1.5 camp. In the past, expeditions had found the move from camp 1 to camp 2, with an altitude difference of 700 metres and about 8-10 hours of climbing, too challenging and draining the forces of the teams which is why we split up the move in two parts by setting up camp at 1.5 at an altitude of 6800 metres / 22,000 feet. The most challenging part was crossing the large Serac where the snow layer had been removed and the climbers were exposed to ice. We used our ascenders, crampons, and ice axes on the solid fixed ropes. Camp 1.5 has beautiful views of ABC and is a large, flat snowfield. Written by JJ from the Netherlands. Back to top
- Written by Juergen Landmann: Tag 17 besteht in der Aklimatisation. Unsere einzige Arbeit heute besteht im Bau einer fuer diese Verhaeltnisse Drei-Sterne-Toilette.Immer wieder schuettelt uns der Sturm durch, schliesslich ist das Lager wie ein Adlerhorst in einer recht kleinen und noch dazu abschuessigen Eisattelung gelegen. Am Morgen von Tag 18 brechen wir die Zelte erneut ab und beginnen den Aufstieg zu Camp 1.5, ein spannender Weg, weil ueber einen etwa 80m hohen Serac-Abbruch fuehrend. Der Abschnitt ist zwar mir Seilen versichert, aber erfordertdennoch volle Konzentration und technisches Koenne im Eisklettern. Das auf einem ca. 100x100m grossen Plateau gelegenen Camp 1.5 erreichen wir gegen 17.00, sofort bauen wir die Zelte auf, was einen in einer Hoehe von 6700m ganz schoen den Schnauf ausgehen laesst.
Monday 16 September - Rest day in Camp 1 The group spent most of the day acclimatizing to this new altitude of 6400 metres, 21,000 feet, a height record for some of the members of the expedition. Camp 1 is a beautiful camp with the tents set up on a series of ridges with astounding views of Cho Oyu and the surrounding mountains. Some of the members saw a large avalanche on the South-west side of the mountain.
Others enjoyed the time by building a high quality toilet with views of the moraine. Written by JJ, from the Netherlands. Back to top
Camp 1 with Mount Cho Oyu in the background. The route to camp 1.5 follows the left hand ridge. JJ Photo. James and JJ build a toilet from snow in camp 1. Photo by Matti Sunell.
Today's Tweet from Expedition Leader Dan Mazur:
- Our Cho Oyu team reached 6400 m / 21,000 ft in beautiful sunshine. Let the rope fixing begin!
Sunday 15 Sept - half camp to camp 1.
This morning we woke up to good weather and we debated staying at half camp or moving to camp 1. It was not long before we decided to move up the hill to camp 1. The hill from half camp to camp 1 has a famously very loose stone base, this hill has gained it's reputation as "horrible hill" very well. It takes a couple hours to move up the hill before reaching camp 1.
Camp 1 is the first camp that is on snow. We quickly set-up tents and made food and drinks for the night, while our Sherpas went off to fix rope higher on the route. It is considerably colder here, but it can also be very warm if the sun is shining. A few of us are feeling the altitude, but overall the group is doing great. Written by JJ, from the Netherlands.
- Written by Juergen Landmann: Tag 15 Ins Hochlager 0.5 angehen. Genau das erreichen wir am Fuss des beruechtigten Killerhang gelegen auf 5945m gelegen. Hier haben wir genuegend Gelegenheit, die sich schindenden Traeger und Bergsteiger, wie auch unseren morgigen Weg zu beobachten. Nach einer mit wenig Schlaf gesegneten Nacht treffen uns gegen 8 die ersten Sonnenstrahlen. Aufstehen, Tee trinken, Porridge zum Fruehstueck, das uebliche eben. Wir brechen das ganze Lager ab und machen uns an den praktisch nur aus Geroell bestehenden Hang. Einen Schritt hoch und man rollt 2 wieder runter. Und das mit der Last auf dem Ruecken-frustrierend. Nachmittag erreichen wir Camp1 auf 6300m.Unser Sirdar Jangbu hat schon mal die ersten 200m Fixseil angebracht, wir ruhen und gewoehnen uns an die Hoehe. Auch Back to top
Today's Tweet from Expedition Leader Dan Mazur:
- SummitClimb's Cho Oyu team camped under SW face & a golden sunset @ 6000 m / 20,000 ft. Back to top
Saturday 14 Sept. Move to ½ camp
The weather was clear enough today for us to move to camp 1/2. This camp is situated right below the infamous “horrible hill” at 6000 meters / 20,000 feet. The trek to half camp was quick and easy movement over scree and talus moraine. Once we reached half camp we rested and set up camp. The day went by quickly. It felt good to be on the move again. Written by JJ, from the Netherlands.
- Written by Juergen Landmann: Tag 14, Ang Pasang schmueckt schon den ganzen Vormittag den Choerten, einen sorgsam aufgeschichteten und den Berg symbolisirenden Steinturm. Heute findet die traditionelle Puja statt. Ohne diese Zeremonie mit Gebeten und Opfergaben setzt keier der Sherpa einen Fuss an den Berg. Ploetzlich wird unser Kuechen-Boy Jimmy zur wichtigsten Person. Wie sich herausstellte, besuchte er eine Klosterschule und leitet die Puja. Mehr al seine Stunde werden Gebete gemurmelt, Opfer dargebracht und immer wieder wir Bergsteiger einbezogen. Leider verschlechterte sich das Wetter und wir konnten unseren Aufstieg erst am Back to top
Today we all assembled early morning and prepared for the "PUJA", the blessing of our climb that was to come and also the blessing of all of our equipment, such as boots, helmets, crampons, ice axes, harness and so on.
All of the climbers were invited to sit facing the ceremonial alter and share in the blessing ceremony, which had food and drink as an offering to the gods, (see photos), near the Altar, to be shared by ourselves the climbing party and the gods. There were also helpful attendants who prepared the prayer flags and assisted as the prayers were read aloud. We were given rice and offered to throw this towards the ceremonial altar at certain times, in a way of showing our gratitude to the gods that they may see us safely through our climbing expedition. Our equipment was also blessed and some yak butter was used to do this, by the helpers as the prayers were still read aloud. We were also given a variety of food and drink to be shared by ourselves and the gods, therefore some of the food and drink was thrown onto the ceremonial altar. Then as it started to snow very lightly we were entertained further by the local Tingri porters that would carry our equipment to camp 1, they produced a native dance and song routine that was very special and most welcome. All in all I can say that I was humbled by this holy experience and found great solitude in the fact that we had this blessing before our expedition.
It was truly a profound time in the whole of our expedition and we feel lucky and blessed to have witnessed such an event first hand. Written by James Grieve, from Edinburgh, Scotland. Back to top
Written by Matt Olsen in English Language: Today was a fun day of rope skills. We ventured across icy glacial moraines to some ice pinnacles on the glacier. Some ropes were set-up and we practiced fixed rope and rappelling techniques. Last night it had snowed a couple of centimeters, but this almost added to the good day that we had. We learned some of the key skills we will need up higher on the mountain. It is a good idea to practice it down lower, because then it will not be new thousands of meters higher than we are now.
What was somewhat challenging for the not-so-experienced among us was rappelling at 60 degrees and encountering a knot, which entails securing yourself on the jumar while you re-attach the eight to the rope. Tricky stuff but a lot of fun! As usual, we were impressed by the skills of our Sherpa team, Jangbu and Ang Pasang. Overall, we feel this training has increased our self-confidence for the more tricky parts after the high camps.
- Written by Juergen Landmann in German Languge: Ein weiters mal habe ich echt gut geschlafen. Heute, hier im Interiem-Camp bekomme ich zum ersten Mal meinen Guten Morgen Tee ins Zelt serviert. Die Wolken haengen tief und die Yaktreiber feilschen und streiten um die ins ABC zu bringenden Lasten. In 6h marschieren wir in unser neues Lager auf 6505m. Wir richten uns in einem weitlaufig verstreitem Blockgelaende bestmoeglich ein, schliesslich wird das unser Zuhause fuer einige Wochen sein. Tag 12 bringt nicht viel zu tun, wir sortieren die Ausruestungen, versuchen eine Art Ordnung in die Zelte zu bringen und geben dem Koerper einfach Zeit, sich an die nicht unwesentliche Hoehe zu gewoehnen. Immer wieder mehr als erstaunlich ist, was unser Koch Dorje und sein Kuechen-Boy Jimmy so alles zaubern. Es fehlt echt an nichts, wir werden bestens und vielfaeltig versorgt. Abends hat es dann erstmals richtig angefangen zu schneien. Etwa alle 10 min musste der schwere Schnee von unseren Kuppelzelten geschuettelt werden. Tag 13 diente dem Training und vermutlich dem Check unseres Koennens. Wir stapften durch das Gewirr von Eisbloecken, Steinen und gefrorenen Seen zu einem mitten im Eisbruch gelegenen etwa 15m hohen massiven Eisblock. Hier konnten wir klettern abseilen und uns so richtig austoben. Ich denke, alle sind fit genug, morgen weiter aufzusteigen und moeglich jede der kommenden Naechte ein Lager hoeher zu schlafen. Auf die Puja freue ich mich richtig. Ist immer wieder erhebend, bei einem solchen Ritual eingebunden zu sein.
- Writtten by Matti Sunell in Finnish Language: Lumisateisen yon jalkeen valkea aamu ja tekniikkaharjoituksia. On hyva palauttaa mieleen, miten kiivetaan kiinteaa koytta nousukahvan ja jaahakun kanssa, miten siirrytaan ankkuripaikkojen ohi ripeasti ja miten laskeudutaan jyrkkaa seinamaa. Enta jos laskeuduttaessa koydessa tulee vastaan irronnut ankkuri tai solmu? On hyva harjoitella nama asiat alhaalla jaatikolla, ennen kuin lahdetaan tuhansia metreja ylemmas. Back to top
Panoramic photo of ABC by JJ.
JJ climbs the ice pinnacle near basecamp during team ice training, Photo by Matt Olsen. Juergen climbs, Jangbu observes. Ang Pasang Sherpa Photo.
Matt and Juergen discuss abeil technique. Jangbu Sherpa Photo. Putting on gear at ice training session in ABC. Matti Sunell Photo.
ABC after a snowstorm. Matti Sunell photo. Chimi prepares a delicious lunch after a hard day on the ice. Photo by Ang Pasang Sherpa.
James and Dan roping up while JJ and Matti look on. Jangbu Sherpa. James climbs towards the camera as JJ abseils.Juergen Landmann Photo.
James Grieve concentrates on his abseil during ice training in ABC. Jangbu Sherpa Photo. JJ climbs ice while Jangbu Sherpa instructs during ice trainng in ABC. Matti Sunell Photo.
Matt Olsen, Outward Bound Instructor, shows off his pink zinc oxide. Photo by JJ. Our team doing ice training near ABC. Photo by JJ.
Greetings to you from Advanced Basecamp (ABC) at 5690 metres / 18,600 feet on Mount Cho Oyu, the 6th highest mountain in the world, located near Mount Everest. Together with 25 yaks and 7 Tibetan yak drivers, we walked up here yesterday, 10 September, from Gyepla at 5350 metres / 17,500 feet. There was a flurry of snow and mixed sunshine as we crossed the final checkpost and a few young uniformed guards scrutinized our passports from different directions, as Chinese pop music tinkled in the background. We strolled along a newly bulldozed road, crossing glacial moraines and boulder valleys trickling with streams, up over dusty hummocks, while we skirted high above the Gyebgrag Glacier with its parade of ice towers. Eventually the road petered out and we hiked up a snaking ridge, rounding a corner, and suddenly the massive Nangpa La Glacier spread across the horizon, an enourmous smooth snowfield, previously crossed by so many yak caravans and famous fleeing people. A little further along the ridge and first views of the nylon tents of ABC appeared, and then we reached our own comfortable camp, with a spacious individual tent for each person, dining tent with carpet, heater, table and chairs, dvd movie player, kitchen tent, shower tent and toilet tents. This ABC will be our home for the next three weeks, as we attempt to ascend the 'Turquouise Goddess', which now looks a bit more like the 'Snow Goddess', as up to last week, they have had a heavy monsoon here with plenty of precipitation. Today, 11 September, after a big breakfast, we had a good gear review with everyone putting on their harnesses, ice-axes, boots, and crampons, in order to be doubly sure our equipment is right. Tomorrow, 12 September, we plan to head out onto the glacier early, fix ropes with ice screws and snow pickets and set up a ropes practice course near to basecamp, so we can all train and refresh our climbing skills for what lies ahead. Back to top
Cho Oyu in evening light with cloud. Matti Sunell Photo. A just unloaded yak in abc with lots of abc setting up activity going on all around. Juergen Landmann Photo.
Advanced Basecamp seen from above. Matti Sunell Photo. Dan and Matti sorting out their equipment in abc, with cho oyu in the background. Juergen Landmann Photo.
Glacier flowers near ABC. Matti Sunell Photo. Glacier Lake beneath a hanging icefall, across from ABC. Matti Sunell Photo.
Jangbu, james, jj, juergen, and matt taking a break along the jeep track walk to abc. Matti Sunell Photo. JJ and Dan fit a crampon to a boot in ABC. Matti Sunel Photo.
Juergen Landmann shows his flag in ABC, with Cho Oyu in background. Matti Sunell Photo. Tents in ABC, with Matt in background. Matti Sunell Photo.
Today our team of 7 members, 3 Sherpas, and 1 Tibetan reached Gyepla at 5350 metres / 17,500 feet. It was a gorgeous walk through rocky river valleys and turbulent glacier moraines. The winds were calm as the warm sun beamed down on us through clouds as we walked the 3.5 hours on a jeep track into the short grass - rocky valley of Gyepla, where a small community of Tibetan teahouses and western mountaineering tents has sprung up. Our little team was accompanied by 25 yaks and 1 large noisy Japanese cargo truck. The yaks went empty, and the roaring truck was bursting with gear and people. Upon arrival in Gyepla, many kind Sherpas came out to help us set up camp. Such gentlemen! We dove into the exotic carpet and cushion lined teahouse tent for a comfortable cup of tea, enjoying a hot drink while perched upon plush sofas around the warm yak dung stove. When we first arrived here in Gyepla, the small valley stream was dry as a bone, then in the late afternoon, it turned into a burbling brook. Finally, as we sat in our team's own dining tent and enjoyed a delicious evening meal of veggies, pasta, soup, papadum, and mango slices, with loads of hot drinks, the sun popped out over Cho Oyu, known by the Tibetans as the "Turquoise Goddess", and the world's sixth highest mountain was draped in golden light, against a brilliant bluesky backdrop. Tomorrow we will quest for the next higher camp. Wish us well!
- Matti Sunell from Finland writes in: After sorting our things into two separate bags, one going directly to the advanced base camp and the other containing equipment we would need in the interim camp, we packed our backpacks very light and started the walk up the road towards the interim camp. The big bags would come by truck. The easy road followed the valley floor near the river, and after about one hour's walk, started winding up the hills of the glacier moraine. We took it easy, but made good progress. Near the interim camp the truck carrying the expedition's equipment and our bags reached us and we were offered a ride, but we decided to walk the rest couple of kilometres because we felt strong.
The iterim camp's field was packed, as there were many expeditions arriving at the same time. As usual, the day ended in a comfortable and crowded teahouse.
- Juergen Landmann writes: Heute habe ich einmal die Gelegenheit, meine geistigen Erguesse kundzutun.Am Abend konnte ich ganz fuer mich allein den Sonnenuntergang auf ueber 5600m geniesen. Ein einzigartiges Erlebnis, welches ich sehr gern mit meiner Frau und meinen Kindern geteilt haette. Bloed war nur, dass ich alle Not hatte mit dem letzten Licht ins Lager zurueckzufinden. Da hat man sich schon maechtig Gedanken gemacht und nach mir gesucht, sorry dafuer. Richtig froh bin ich ueber die Ankunft meiner Ausruestung am Morgen von Tag 11!!! Nun hat der Nervenkrieg ein Ende und ich bin zurueck im Spiel. Herzliche Gruesse nochmal an alle Leser meines Blogs und alle meine lieben zu Hause, Euer Lander Back to top
Cho Oyu glows during dinner in Gyepla. Matti Sunell Photo. Dan, James, Chutin and Mama Chutin staying warm in the teahouse at Gyepla. James Grieve Photo
Gyepla camp. Teahouse on left, dining tent on right, Cho Oyu in the distance. Matti Sunell Photo. Juergen Landmann hitches a ride in a Japanese cargo truck while Hapa, the driver, sips a red bull. Dan Mazur Photo.
Juergen and Matt relaxing in Gyepla. Matti Sunell Photo. Tibetan Dog runs for her supper in Gyepla. Matti Sunell Photo
Massive Japanese cargo truck roars past. James Grieve Photo. Yaks in front of a cloud bedecked Mount Cho Oyu, the 'Turquoise Goddess'. Photo by Juergen Landmann
Chinese fil crew makes a television program in Gyepla. Matti Sunell Photo. James, JJ, and Matt walking along the jeep track to Gyepla. Matti Sunell Photo.
Today, each of us separated our equipment into two duffles: things that we will not need until Advanced Base Camp in one duffle and things that we may want before then into another duffle. Tomorrow we will be going to Intermediate Camp and staying there a couple days before going to Advanced Base Camp.
After, we sorted gear. Most of us went on a stroll and hiked up a "hill" to the south-west of camp. Half the group decided that walking to 5200m / 17,000 feet was good acclimatizing and returned back to Chinese Base Camp.
Three team members decided they wanted to go to the top, so they continued their adventure up the slope to the top at 5400m / 17,700 feet. The three adventurous members imagined an easy hike up to the top of the hill, but ended up scrambling on rocks and loose scree. However, we finally reached the top and had excellent views of Cho Oyu, the surrounding mountains and the mysteriously-coloured Tibetan plains. We could see almost the whole walking route along the Gyabrag glacier moraine to the intermediate camp and the advanced base camp. We met members of another expedition on the top and began running down the hill together.
Then everyone returned to Chinese Base Camp to have an excellent lunch.
This afternoon many of us are going to relax a little, maybe journal about the amazing time we are having in the dining tent, a tent specially set up for the team members to eat in, charge batteries, and chill.
The whole team is acclimatizing very well, with no one suffering from headaches or any other symptom of altitude sickness. Caution continues to be our motto though and we will continue to ascend to higher camps in a very relaxed pace. Back to top
Matti and Matt looking towards Cho Oyu photo by Juergen Landmann. Weighing our duffles Ang Pasang JJ and Jangbu photo by Matti Sunell
Eagle above Cho Oyu photo by matt olsen. Local person carrying Yak Dung to be burned in a stove photo by James Grieve
Loading a truck photo by Matti Sunell. Eagle above Cho Oyu photo by matt olsen.
We woke early and had breakfast at 8am, then we started our journey to Cho Oyu base camp a little earlier than normal since the vehicles that we were using were needed to bring personnel from Cho Oyu base camp for medical purposes.
We had another wonderful day, very beautiful and very sunny, hopefully a good omen from the turquoise goddess for our future expedition ahead. As we set off on our short journey of between 45 minutes to 1 hour on a nice road for a base camp access, we could see Cho Oyu imposing as it was is in the distance, very clear and very beautiful, standing so excitingly close, almost as though we could climb there today.
After many photographs on our way to base camp, and passing a few motorcycles driven by local Tibetan people, we arrived at Chinese base camp at an altitude of 4900 metres / 16,000 feet, full of anticipation and excitement.
We duly proceeded to unload our backpacks and assist where possible with the setting up of our camp, (home for the next 2 days). The shower room, and the dinning and cooking areas had already been completed by our wonderful Sherpa's, about whom we cannot say too much, these Sherpa's are so dedicated and friendly that maybe without them none of this could be possible.
We then took our large bags and unpacked these in our tents and familiarized ourselves with our new homes.
After setting up camp, we had a very nourishing meal, again prepared by our skillful cooks. We then wondered around our new surroundings and made some new friends, the Chinese team being particularly hospitable. After a few beers and some climbing stories we departed, warmed by the new friendships that we had made.
All of our day today was purely based upon acclimatization, since we had moved from an altitude of 4300 meters / 14,000 feet to a new altitude of 4900 meters / 16,000 feet. Not much you may say but believe me, it takes time to adjust to these new heights. We therefore only did a very short hike in the direction of advanced base camp to 5200 meters / 17,000 feet to stimulate acclimatization.
Slowly but surely we are moving gradually higher in a safe fashion, eating well, sleeping well and getting used to these new soaring heights.
We all had dinner together once more and shared stories of the trip thus far and also of the adventures still to come.
After some libation in a local tea shack we all headed for our tents, head torches on and prepared for sleep, another full and exciting day over, many more still to come. Back to top
A scary painting, a bottle of spirit, and an adorned yak skull watch over a teahouse tent in basecamp. Photo by James Grieve. Charging system in basecamp. Photo Matti Sunell
Juergen Landmann tops out on a 5600 metre high hill above basecamp. Photo by Matt Olsen. Matt Olsen and Dawa in the dining room in Tingri. Photo by James Grieve.
Basecamp at 4900 metres, 16,000 feet. Photo by James Grieve. Yaks in basecamp. Jan-Jilles VanderHoeven Photo
The great Buddhist saint, Milarepa, taught that all life, be it human or animal, should be respected and cherished, and that man should live in harmony with nature.
Today we are in Tingri at 4300 metres / 14,100 feet. Our climbing team of 7 foreign members from 5 countries together with 3 Sherpas are resting here for 2 days, getting used to the high altitude. Under blue skies we roam the streets and walk surrounding hills. Now we are officially on the Tibetan Plateau. The weather is sunny, windy and the temps warmed up for a few hours in the middle of the day. We can see Mount Everest and Mount Cho Oyu (our
destination) from here. The surrounding plateau at the base of the big mountains is very green, with abundant water flowing. We saw quite few ducks wading in ponds during our walk around dusty Tingri yesterday. This town is a trading center for the Everest region. Groups of nomads wander the streets trying to sell fat sheep. Kids skip along the road to and from school.
Shopkeepers load and unload piles of boxes, tools, ropes, food. The chugging sound of one cylinder diesel tractors echoes up and down the street as horse carts trot by.
While having breakfast of pancakes and eggs the team discussed the destination of todey's acclimatisation hike. We decided to walk up a brown hill outside Tingri. Dogs from the villages often follow walkers high up to the hills, but unfortunately we were left without their company this time.
Walking up some 400 metres on gentle scree slopes brought us to the top decorated with prayer flags. Under a clear blue sky we had excellent views over Everest, Cho Oyu and the Tibetan plateau with its fields in countless shades of green.
Tomorrow morning we are excited to drive up to Cho Oyu basecamp at circa 5000 metres / 16,500 feet, so we can begin our attempt to climb the 6th highest mountain in the world. Back to top
Cho Oyu seen from the Qomolangma viewpoint in Tingri. James Grieve Photo. Horse cart in Tingri. Matti Sunell Photo
James Grieve spinning prayer wheels in Tingri. Wild Tingri ducks in front of Cho Oyu. Juergen Landmann Photo.
Milarepa's Cave prayer hall. Matti Sunell Photo. Sheep herding in Tingri. Matti Sunell Photo.
Tibetan cricket at Qomolangma viewpoint. Matti Sunell Photo.Tibetan dog. Matti Sunell Photo. Tibetan cricket at Qomolangma viewpoint. Matti Sunell Photo
A nomad sells a sheep to a restarateur in Tingri. James Grieve Photo. Chinese flag and statues on the roof of Milarepa's Cave. Matti Sunell Photo
Matt Olsen Photo. JJ and Matt walk the hills above Tingri. Matti Sunell Photo
We visited the Milarepa cave on our journey towards Tingri. Milarepa was a Buddhist Saint instrumental in bringing Budhhism to Tibet. As he arrived to the country he settled in a cave (we had the honour to visit the tiny cave) that later became a monastry. Much to our delight, a young monk showed us around the entire monastery.
Today the weather was on our side. The skies were crystal clear with a little bit of cloud cover far on the horizon. After about a half hour's drive from Milarepa's monastry and cave Shisha Pangma appeared in all its magnificent beauty. We had ample opportunity to admire the mountain from Yakri Shong La at 5050 metres. Not long after this spectacle, Cho Oyu, and the smaller mountains in the range imposed on us with no cloud cover and not a bit of wind on the respective summits. The mountains stayed with us as we made our way to Tingri, where we checked in at the Ha Hoo hotel.
We enjoyed a great lunch and went for a short walk to Qomolangma viewpoint, build on the remains of an ancient fort on top of the old Tingri town. Dan guided us through this typical Tibetan town with all its narrow and little streets.
The food we have enjoyed during our journey has been delicious and very appetising, we have consumed very healthy vegetables, meats, rice, etc. Of course during all of our dining experience we have use the traditional chop stick, very easy for some to use and very funny to be seen used by others as well,even Matti has managed to become a graded apprentice in the use of chop stick.
The whole experience of the team sitting together as one around a large table, with the central spinning consoul for the food to be shared more easily, has been a great boost to our team building experience,with the sharing of stories and working out our next days programme as well. If anything the ammount of food that we were given has far surpassed my expectations and I for one would recommend our hotels in Tingri and Nylam to anyone. Back to top
Everest seen from the Qomolangma viewpoint in Tingri. James Grieve Photo. Milarepa's Cave. Photo by Matt Olson
Shishapangma seen from the Yakri Shong La. Photo by Matt. Tingri, a town with one main street. James Grieve Photo.
Ang Pasang Sherpa enjoying lunch in Tingri. James Grieve Photo
Today we rested and acclimated in Nyalam, hiked around on the hills, hung out in teashops, and read books.
The team went on an acclimatization hike above town. We walked up the Mt. Kagali (4300m). Juergen and Matt went all the way to the top. We had a good time. We have a great group pace. Mt. Kagali has many prayer flags on it. It is very asthetic in Tibetan style. The rest of the day we read, relaxed, and went on smaller hikes around town. We enjoyed another dinner at the Snow Land Restaurant and are enjoying Yanjidroka's tea house once again. Back to top
Summit of mount Kagali outside Nylam, Matt and Jurgen, photo by Jurgen Landmann. Yangidroka and matt in yangidroka tea shop photo by matt
Jurgen, JJ, matt, and matti in the Yangjidroka tea shop,photo by Jurgen Landmann. prayer flags photo by matt
Jurgen,JJ, matti, and james, training climb on mount Kagali outside Nylam photo by james grieve. Photograph of Nylam from mount Kagali , elevation 4360 metres, photo by james grieve
Today we drove to Kodari for breakfast, crossed the Friendship Bridge, cleared Tibetan customs and immmigration, drove to Zhangmu for lunch, and Nyalam for dinner.
At five in the morning, the expedition left Kathmandu by bus, people sitting in front and the back of the vehicle filled with our equipment. We drove through the beautiful Kathmandu valley, then the road started to climb up the mountainsides. There had been no bad landslides thus no long waits besides one to get past a fallen truck. We arrived at Kodari after four hours, had breakfast and then crossed the border to Zhangmu, Tibet. The formalities were quick and easy. After a lunch and money changing we jumped into Tibetan jeeps. The drivers took us along a road carved into a vertical mountainside, on the brink of infinitely deep canyons and underneath kilometre-tall waterfalls. The skillful drivers kept an astonishing speed, and we arrived at our first Tibetan town Nyalam in just two hours. We came to enjoy the comfortable beds and warm showers of the Snowland Hotel. After a dinner at the Snowland rastaurant we enjoyed the hospitality of Yanjidroka tea house.Back to top
team without number 6 in yangidroka tea shop photo by matt. Evening meal in the snow land restaurant in this photo are james, matti, matt, empty chair number 6 is missing, dan, JJ, and Jungbu, photo by Jurgen Landmann
Expedition porters at Kodari preparing to receive equipment to take over the Nepal Tibet border,photo by Jurgen Landmann. Matti ,Matt, jurgen, james,JJ in Kodari. James Grieve photo
JJ, matt, matti, jurgen,after crossing the nepal tibet border,photo by james grieve.
Today we finalized all formalities for the Chinese visa application. Contrary to our expectations, we did not get an individual visa, only one paper serving as a group visa. After the visa process we moved onto our team orientation and briefing which was a very informative and helpful affair, lots of team building involved here. We were shown the equipment to be taken on our trip to base camp,paying particular attention to safety and medical equipment,making sure that each member understood everything that was required to be carried in their bags and how the medicines were to be used and further information on the meds were also made readily available to everyone. Considerable attention was made to the medicine called Diamox and it's qualities and possible side effects, with each member given there own choice whether to use Diamox or not.
After the briefing we moved onto individual equipment checks in each members room to make sure that everyone had the required ammount of gear needed for the expedition. Then whole team went off for the last bit of equipment shopping. It is amazing what can be found in Kathmandu, and it is so cheap! From crampons to summit day suits, packs, high altitude boots... Everything. Additionally, the team stocked up on medicine and snacks. We have an impressive amount of snacks with us and Dan is encouraging us to buy even more in Tingri where all the Chinese riches can easily be purchased. We ended the day with pizza in one of the many many restaurants in Thamel, the climbers district in Kathmandu. Back to top
We have been busy packing and are almost all done with all of the group gear. This includes the tents, kitchen and dining tents, solar panels and lots of food. The team is arriving and we will be on our way to Cho Oyu within a few days. The Swayambhunath: Stupa (also called 'Monkey Temple') is not far from us in Kathmandu. We are very excited to get to the mountain!
Matt Olsen, Cho Oyu Leader In Training. Back to top
Packing at Store. Photo Matt Olsen
Cho Oyu Autumn 2013 Team Roster:
- Dan Mazur (Leader), USA/UK
- Matt O.
- Juergen L.
- James G.
- Matti S.
- Jan-Jilles v. d. H.
- Jangbu Sherpa
- Ang Pasang Sherpa
- Dorje Lama Back to top