Slovenian climber Pavle Kozjek's Cho Oyu debrief: A new route in one day

Posted: Nov 02, 2006 03:41 pm EST

( "Hi, my name is Pavle Kozjek, from Slovenia, and I just returned from Cho Oyu. I have some photos from 30.9. when the incident occured," reported an email to Explorersweb last month.

You might remember it: Pavle and his expedition opened a new route on the SW face of Cho Oyu, in a 14,5 hour single-push ascent from ABC to the top - the only climb outside the normal route this season according to Miss Hawley. But Pavle was also the one to submit the first images of the Nangpa La shootings - effectively killing the Chinese official statements that nothing had happened.

When Pavle first wrote, it was all about Nangpa La. Now, time has come to check out his climb.

Fast, light, new

The new Slovenian route follows a line left of the Yamanoi route, Pavle reported to last week. After climbing for 1100 meters on the face (V, 50-60 deg.), the route joins the Polish ridge for 900 meters.

The crux was an icefall at 7200 meters, just below the Polish ridge, that I overcame by climbing a rock outcrop (V-degree) on its right side."

I set off from ABC at 3:30 am in the morning and reached the Polish ridge before 10:00 am. I climbed extremely light: 3 thermo bottles of drink, 6 power gels, spare gloves, a bivouac sac and a small camera. Once on the ridge my progress was slowed down due to poor conditions (deep snow).I reached the top at 6:00 pm, and then descended via the normal route to C2 (7000 m).

First ever one-day/single-push new route on an 8000er?

I spent a few hours in one of the abandoned tents in C2, and then headed down to BC, arriving there before noon the next day.

According to available data, this is the first single push (one day) ascent of a new route from BC to the top on a Himalayan 8000m+ peak, Pavle says.

Pavle started out on the climb together with his team mates; they however reached the summit one day later, and through a slightly different route of ascent - traversing from the Polish ridge to the normal route on the west side.

Uros Samec and Aljaz Tratnik spent the night in their own tent at C3, whilst Marjan Kovac and Emil Tratnik spent a night in C2 before topping out.

G2, BP, Shisha, Everest and Cho Oyu - Slovenian style

In spite of the 5 big summits under his belt, Pavle Kozjek is not an 8000+ meter peak regular - it's just that all his visits to the worlds giants have ended up successfully, and more.

In 1986 Pavle climbed Pakistan's Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II in a total of five days. In 1989 he opened (with Andrej Stremfelj) a new route on Shisha Pangmas south face, in alpine style; in 1997 Pavle became the first Slovenian climber to summit Everest without supplementary oxygen; and now - on his latest trip to the Himalayas - Pavle has left the above mentioned brand new route on Cho Oyu.

Still, Pavle's favorite playground remains the Peruvian Andes, where he has applied his fast, lightweight style to open a number of hard new routes on Chacraraju, Huascaran, Siula Grande, Chopicalqui, etc.

On October 2, Slovenian Pavle Kozjek opened a new route on Cho Oyu's SW face, in a 14,5 hour single-push ascent from ABC to the top - the only climb outside the normal route this season according to Miss Hawley. Other four team members (including expedition leader Uro Samec) followed part of the new route, eventually traversing to the normal route and summiting on October 3.


"The crux was an icefall at 7200 meters just below the Polish ridge (in the image) that I overcame by climbing a rock outcrop (V- degree) on the right side (click to enlarge).

"My choice "without limits"? Maybe a route in the same style to one of 8000er in Karakorum in other words, Id go for my recently postponed plan. Besides lack of time, considering such kind of expeditions pose also a financial problem for me." Self-portrait on Cho Oyu courtesy of Pavle Kozjek (click to enlarge).
Compiled on an image of Cho Oyu's SW face, Pavle's new Slovenian route is on the left. Yamanoi's Japanese route in the middle (click to enlarge).
Pavles team mates reached the summit one day later, deviating from the new route. Left to right in image: Peter Poljanec, Emil and Alja Tratnik, Uro Samec (leader), Pavle Kozjek, and Marjan Kovaè. All images courtesy of Pavle Kozjek (click to enlarge).