Cho Oyu Expedition Itinerary

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The itinerary presented here may need to be altered as conditions and other factors require. We present it only as a rough outline of our plans.

Day 1

Depart USA. While there are a number of options, one of the better connections to Kathmandu is on Thai Airways, via Bankok.

Day 2

Arrive in Bankok, overnight.

Day 3

Fly to Kathmandu. Transfer to our hotel.

Day 4

Organize and sightsee in Kathmandu. There is a fair bit of packing that must be accomplished, but normally there is time for to look around and enjoy the sights of this exotic city.

Day 5

Drive to Zhangmu, 7500 feet, across the Chinese border in Tibet. Initially the road is in good condition, but deteriorates as we travel closer to the border. Conditions can vary depending on recent rain and mudslides. The border town of Kodari is reached in about 4 to 5 hours. We'll continue on to Zhangmu where we pass through Chinese immigration.

Day 6

Drive to Nylam at 12,300 feet. This drive is a short day and we expect to arrive in the early afternoon. The road winds along steep mountain slopes and is quite impressive. As we travel further to the north the land becomes increasingly drier.

Day 7

Acclimatization day in Nylam. We'll take an additional acclimatization day in Nylam. From our walk we'll get good views of the peaks of the Langtang Himal and Shishapangma.

Day 8

Drive to Tingi, 14,800 feet. We cross the stony Lalung Leh Pass at 16,500 feet. If it is clear we should get great views of the peaks to the south, and about a little later our first views of Everest and Cho Oyu.

Day 9

Drive to Cho Oyu Base Camp at 15,700 feet. This is a short drive, only about 2 hours. We will have time to relax, and enjoy the views. This camp is also known as the Chinese Base Camp.

Day 10

Rest and organize in Chinese Base Camp. We can take short walks to help us acclimate, but most of our time will be spent resting and organizing equipment for the trek into Advance Base Camp.

Day 11

Trek to an intermediary camp (about 16,900 feet) between Chinese Base Camp and Advance Base Camp. Our equipment is carried by yaks. The route leads along the lateral moraine of the Gyabrag Glacier. Our camp is normally reached in about 4 to 5 hours walking.

Day 12

Trek from the intermediate camp to Advance Base Camp (ABC) at about 18,400 feet. We continue along the side of the Gyabrag Glacier, crossing its huge moraine to reach ABC. Here we have great views of the route on Cho Oyu and the Nepalese peaks behind the Nangpa La.

Day 13-39

ABC, 18,400 feet, will be our base of operations for the next 4 weeks. We will make a number of carries to higher elevations occasionally returning to rest. Acclimating to the high altitudes is a long process that can't be shortened. Our exact schedule will be adjusted depending on the needs of acclimatization, health, and conditions on the mountain.

ABC to Camp I Camp I, 21,000 feet, is located at the top of a ridge above a long scree walk and scramble. While the terrain is easy, it is long and tiring walk. We begin the hike crossing about 3 miles of moraine covered glacier before we start up the steeper scree, following vague paths to Camp I.
Camp I to Camp II From Camp I we follow the snow and ice ridge towards the upper part of the peak. We encounter a few steeper sections which are normally equipped with fixed rope. Above, the Ice Cliff, the steepest part of the entire climb, must be surmounted with the aid of fixed ropes and ascenders. Camp II is located on a nearly level plateau at about 23,000 feet. After we establish Camps I and II, we will most likely descend again to ABC to rest and gather our strength before the final push to Camp III and the summit.
Camp II to Camp III The terrain between camps II and III is gentle glaciates slopes and offers no particular difficulty other than a shortage of oxygen. Camp III is located at about 24,400 feet on a low angle slope just below the steeper upper slopes of the mountain.
Camp III to the Summit From Camp III the route slowly steepens until we reach the Yellow Band. This is a short rocky step, not particularly steep, that is usually equipped with fixed rope. Above this the angle eases again. The actual summit is a long way back on a very gentle plateau. The days starts very early, typically about 1 am.
Camp III to ABC Advance Base Camp can easily be reached from Camp III.

Day 40

Trek from advance Base Camp to Chinese Base Camp.

Day 41 We will most likely have to spend a day in the Chinese Base Camp packing and sorting for the truck ride back into Nepal.
Day 42 On our return to Nepal we will stop in either Kodari, Tatopani, or Zhangmu depending on how far we want to drive.
Day 43

Drive to Kathmandu.

Day 44 Rest day in Kathmandu. There is a good chance we will be finished with our expedition earlier than the above schedule, in which case we will have additional time to explore the Kathmandu Valley.
Day 45 Return to USA.

Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
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