Breaking: Purja Changes Plans and Hits Cho Oyu First

In a sudden tactical change, Nirmal Purja has abandoned Manaslu Base Camp, where he had already reached at least Camp 1, and has switched to Cho Oyu, hoping to summit before the mountain closes to foreigners on October 1.

Although news broke today, Purja had been airlifted on Saturday to the Tibetan border and arrived at Cho Oyu’s Advanced Base Camp today. Already in place was Gesman Tamang, whom he identified as his climbing partner, and Esteban Mena. Everything seems ready for Nims to climb to Camp 1 tomorrow “and play as it comes,” as he noted on Twitter.

Nirmal Purja at Cho Oyu Advanced Base Camp with his climbing partner Gesman (left). Photo: BremontProjectPossible

As usual, Purja provided no details about logistics or style. Nevertheless, if the route has been already fixed, he could be ready to launch a summmit push right away. In that sense, climbing with supplementary O2 would mean a major advantage on the 8,201m mountain, whose huge summit plateau involves an exhausting two-kilometre push to the highest point. Climbers know they’ve made it to the top when they can clearly spot Everest, and they usually make sure their summit pics include the “Big E” in the background.

As for the rest of the season, Purja has confirmed ongoing plans for a triple-header, Chinese Authorities permitting.

“My intent is to summit both Cho Oyu and Manaslu by the end of September, hoping that the Chinese government would allow me a special permit on Shishapangma this year so that the mission would be complete,” he reported.