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Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek Detailed Route Description

  • Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek Cho Oyu Advance Basecamp. Photo Fergal
  • Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek Trekking hiking up some hill near Nylam. Photo Vicent
  • Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek Yaks are walking near glacier. Photo Ry
  • Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek Curio stuff on the way to Cho Oyu Basecamp. Photo Istvan Toaso
  • Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek Ducks seen near Cho Oyu lake side. Photo Juergen Landmann
  • Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek Kathmandu Sight Seen. Photo Grace
  • Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek Our comfortable Dining Tent. Photo Ry
  • Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek The gateway to Everest National Park. From here it is a short drive up to Chines basecamp at 5200 metres/17,000 feet.
  • Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek Hiking near hill at ThingRi - Photo Vicent
  • Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek Fortified tower reconstructed from the ruined Tingri fort. This is now Tingri main temple
  • Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek Mt. Cho Oyu behind prayer flag. Photo Wiki
  • Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek Grace trying to drive. Photo Max
  • Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek Traditional style of building at Thing Ri- Photo Karen

Please click one of the links below to view that section for the route on the Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek, or scroll down (photo right: Cho Oyu at sunset).


The proposed itinerary allows enough time for proper acclimatization, rest days to explore the Tibetan plateau, and enjoyable stops along the way to basecamp for experiencing Tibetan culture. The weather at this time of year is normally quite good and stable. back to top

Arriving in Kathmandu-

The trip begins in the ancient and colorful city of Kathmandu (you could also start in Beijing). You stay in a comfortable, simple, clean, hot-water hotel, at minimal cost and sample some of the very reasonably-priced tasty Nepalese, Tibetan and Western-Style cuisine, available at the hundreds of local restaurants. During your free days in Kathmandu, while your Chinese visa is being processed, you shall finalize arrangements, purchase and hire the bits of equipment you might be missing at the hundreds of mountain-climbing and trekking equipment shops in the neighborhood (with low prices, as well), and take time out for trinket hunting, with suggested visits to explore the 17th century splendors of the Monkey Temple, the Durbar Square and old Kings Palace, as well as the ancient cities of Patan, and Bakhtapur. 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. back to top

Optional Tour of Lhasa-

Some members wish to add an optional trip to Lhasa before reaching basecamp. If this includes you, most members will fly to Kathmandu first, then to Lhasa. Some people prefer to fly to Lhasa from another city in China and we can also assist you with these arrangements. For those flying from Kathmandu, you take a 1 hour and 45 minute flight in a jet over Mt. Everest and the spine of the Himalaya, arriving in Tibet's capital city. In the past, we have had some fabulous views out of the plane windows during this flight. 

At 3650 metres/12,000 feet of elevation, Lhasa was established around 600 AD on the banks of the Brahmaputra River. The heart of the city is centered around the Jokhang Temple, the most sacred building in all of Tibet. Our simple hotel is not too far from the famous Potale palace, Jokhang palace and the renowned Barkhor Market, where you can shop for exotic handicrafts and religious art from all across Tibet, China, and Buddhist India.

After flying to Lhasa, upon arrival you will rest for 2 nights and one day. It's important that you use the rest day to get acclimated to the high altitude.

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Buddhist pilgrims from Amdo region circumambulating the Jokhang Temple in the Barkhor market. Photo: J. Otto.

It is a three day drive from Lhasa to basecamp. From Lhasa, you will set out in government cars across the Tibetan plateau to meet the rest of the team in Tingri, before reaching Cho Oyu basecamp.

The following morning after your day in Lhasa, you will drive to Shigatse at 3650 metres/12,000 feet, the second largest city in Tibet, with a famous Monastery. The road winds along the massive Brahmaputra River, past traditional warren-like Tibetan farm towns. In Shigatse, you can have a look around and try to visit the 15th century Tashilunpo Monastery, the largest active monastic institution in Tibet. Monks in maroon robes seem to be everywhere, going about their daily chores, praying, and practicing ceremonial music performances.

After Shigatse, you will make the scenic drive to the ancient city of Lhaze (Lhatse), at 4000 metres/13,100 feet . At the western end of town is the small Changmoche Monastery, which you may visit while there. You can see interesting views of the surrounding Tibetan plateaus and hills.

From Lhaze, it is another scenic drive to the town of Tingri at 4,342 meters/14,200 feet, where you will meet up with the rest of the team and continue towards Cho Oyu basecamp. back to top

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The Tashilunpo Monastery in Shigatse, where more than 700 monks live and worship in the Buddhist religion. (Photo: J. Otto)

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A Tibetan farmer brings his goods to market on the road near Lhaze. (Photo D.L. Mazur)

Driving to Basecamp-

After the finalization of your Chinese visa, very early in the morning we set out in a bus for the 4 hour drive to the last Nepal town of Kodari at 1770 meters/5800 feet. We 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.

On the Friendship Bridge, border Crossing between Nepal and Tibet (Bruce Manning).

Upon entering Tibet, the clocks immediately go forward by 2 ¼ hours. Our secondary government liaison officer will meet us in Zhangmu. After clearing Tibetan customs and immigration, a Chinese bus takes us up the windy road through the rolling hills to Nyalam town at 3750 meters/12,300 feet, 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 we 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. We stay over one extra night in Nyalam, to help adjust to the altitude, and during our "rest-day" in Nyalam, we take advantage of the interesting surroundings to walk to the top of local hills and savor the first glimpses of the Himalayan Giants. back to top

Bouldering in Nyalam on our rest day (Felix Berg). On the road to Tingri, Himalayan Giants in the background (DL Mazur). Our sturdy Tibetan trucks carry the equipment, here being loaded by our Sherpas (Tim Spear).

In the morning we continue our bus-ascent into the Tibetan plateau, to the town of Tingri at 4300 metres/14,100 feet. There are superb views of Shishapangma, Cho-Oyu, and Everest as we 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. Our extremely rustic little hotel has an adequate restaurant, and it will be interesting to see if the high altitude has quelled our appetites for tasty fresh food. There are the ruins of an old fortress on a rise above town, and from here we can see the finest views of Everest, Lhotse, Cho-Oyu, and Shishipangma. We will take a rest day the following day in Tingri to adjust to the altitude

A stop along the road near Tingri. There are simple developed hot springs here
(Bruce Manning).

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 4900 metres/16,000 feet. The drive follows a dirt road along the Ra Chu Valley and has spectacular views of the Himalaya. 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). back to top

Preparing our yak loads at Chinese basecamp (Bruce Manning). Blue mountain sheep in the cliffs above basecamp (Felix Berg).

We will spend several days resting, acclimatising, and organizing equipment into yak loads at Chinese base. This is also a great opportunity to meet other international climbing team as they go up to the foot of Cho Oyu. There is plenty to explore in the surrounding hills, doing light hikes as you are adjusting to the altitude. You can participate in a puja ceremony, where a local Buddhist lama blesses all of our team members and equipment for our journey to the mountains. back to top

Trekking to Advanced Basecamp-

You then spend two days moving up to the "advanced basecamp" at 5,600 metres/18,500 feet, which is actually the true base camp for our Cho Oyu climbing expedition. A beautiful trek to the base of the 6th highest peak in the world. This trek is very accomplishable by the average person who enjoys walking. Normally, you never step on snow and there is no climbing, only walking on moraine trails. There are gorgeous views of stunning peaks in the area, including Jobo-Rabzang, and many unclimbed and unnamed 6000 metre peaks. The trek is near the famous Nangpa La, an ancient route through the Himalaya where Tibetan traders carry goods to Namche Bazaar in Nepal and where many Tibetan refugees have fled for their lives (photo right by Samuli Mansikka: Our comfortable advanced basecamp, located at 5600 metres/18,400 feet).

Going Home-

After packing up all of your equipment, supplies, and rubbish, you will make a short return trek and drive to Tingri, have a nice meal in 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! back to top

Thank You for joining our Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek.


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