Plans For Cho Oyu This Fall? Not so Fast

This fall season, the great attraction for 8,000’er climbers was the opening of the two Tibetan peaks to foreign climbers, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma. But outfitting companies are despairing and clients’ enthusiasm is fading. The permits have not arrived.

Garret Madison and Lukas Furtenbach have canceled their planned expeditions for Cho Oyu. Nepal-based companies are still waiting, but their clients are running out of patience.

Nepali outfitters still hopeful

“Our application was approved but the permit is not yet out. We hope to get the permits soon but it is delayed, so some members for Cho Oyu want to cancel their expedition this year,” Mingma G of Imagine Nepal told ExplorersWeb.

“China is issuing commercial climbing permits for the first time to foreigners after Covid, so they may have changes to some rules and regulations. It is taking a bit longer time than expected but we are optimistic,” Mingma G continued.

The road to Shishapangma across the Tibetan plains.

The road to Shishapangma across the Tibetan plains. Photo: Furtenbach Adventures


This spring, Climbalaya Treks & Expeditions was the only company that obtained permits for Cho Oyu and Shishapangma. Partnering with Seven Summit Treks, they led Kristin Harila, Viridiana Alvarez, Sophie Lavaud, and a small group of sherpa climbers (including Tenjen Sherpa) to the Tibetan peaks. This year, they are keeping their planned expeditions to Cho Oyu and Shishapangma open. “No teams have received permits so we are all waiting,” they confirmed to ExplorersWeb.

The 8K Expeditions team is also in waiting mode. “If we don’t get permission for Cho Oyu and Shishapangma then I think we will postpone our expedition,” owner Lakpa Sherpa told ExplorersWeb.

Manaslu is plan B

Meanwhile, Lukas Furtenbach decided not to wait any longer. “We estimated that the expedition would start too late in terms of seizing the perfect period in the season weather-wise,” he explained.

Madison Mountaineering made the same call. “Because of the uncertainty surrounding if or when Tibet may open, we’ve pivoted and are heading to Manaslu with a small, strong team instead,” they posted on social media.

The consequence will be more climbers flocking to Manaslu, which has been the most popular 8,000’er for the fall season since China/Tibet closed.

Manaslu is also a peak many climbers are “repeating” to reach the true summit. Most recent expeditions did not reach the real summit until drone footage in 2021 categorically confirmed the location. You can check out footage from the real summit below:


Manaslu expeditions are already on the go. The first teams, including from Climbalaya Treks & Expeditions, are approaching the mountain.

As for Tibet, the next question is whether the uncertain situation will extend to spring 2024 and impact climbers hoping to climb a less crowded Everest. We’ll also have to wait and see.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.