Cho Oyu: Ready For The Final Assault

There will be no more rotations on Cho Oyu. Next time Gelje Sherpa‘s team starts up the South Face, they will head for the summit. Meanwhile, Gelje is in Base Camp, preparing for the final assault.

“We have fixed lines up to 7,409m,” he said. “Hence, we have 779m to go to the summit.”

Gelje had hoped to set up their third and last camp at 7,800m, but the expedition meteorologist in Kathmandu warned of worsening weather. The team on the mountain confirmed the change, so Gelye called for a retreat.

Easier than expected?

It is remarkable how fast the team has progressed on Cho Oyu’s difficult and dangerous South Face. Gelje has not revealed the route they are following, although at the beginning of the expedition he mentioned that they would first reach Nangpa La. This col separates Nepal from Tibet and lies close to Camp 1 on Cho Oyu’s normal route. He specified that they would not cross the border into China at any point.

There are also no details about where the climbers started using supplementary oxygen.

“So far, we are sticking to plans and we believe we will make it,” said Gelje.

The second team on the mountain, organized by Pioneer Adventure on a slightly different route, has set up Camp 1. They plan to fix the route to Camp 2 today, according to a post shared this afternoon, Nepal time. It is unclear whether they reached their goal or whether the worsening weather that Gelje Sherpa reported turned them back.

Mingma Dorchi Sherpa, right, before flying to Cho Oyu Base Camp yesterday. Photo: Pioneer Adventure


While his team works on the route, Pioneer Adventure’s expedition leader, Dorchi Sherpa, flew to Base Camp yesterday. So far, each team is working on its route independently. Although a winter ascent is not the primary goal — mainly, they want to establish a commercial route up Cho Oyu from the Nepal side — a winter success would be a bonus. For this, they must move fast, in order to summit before the end of meteorological winter, two weeks from now.

Meanwhile, K2 summit push on pause

Base Camp at the foot of K2. Photo: Summit Karakoram


On K2, winds in Camp 2 forced the lone team to delay their planned summit push. Instead, everyone retreated to Base Camp. At least, Camp 3 is all set up. Outfitter Summit Karakoram confirms that their next push will aim for the summit.