Harila: Still No China Permit, Will Try Cho Oyu From Nepal

Kristin Harila‘s long-awaited permit to enter China to climb Cho Oyu and Shishapangma hasn’t come. If she wants to break Nirmal Purja’s 14×8,000m record, she must do both by November 2.

So she leaves tomorrow to attempt Cho Oyu from the Nepal side, hoping that permission to climb Shishapangma — which is entirely within Tibet — will come at the last minute. So far, Harila has summited 12 8,000’ers in 147 days.

Traditionally, Cho Oyu has been considered the easiest of the 14, but that speaks of the normal route from the Chinese side. Climbing from the formidable Nepal side, via a new route, will be a different matter.

For Harila, a surprising change

For once, Pasdawa Sherpa and Dawa Ongchu — who accompanied Harila on her previous 8,000’ers — will not be joining her. Instead, she has joined forces with Adriana Brownlee and Gelje Sherpa. Two other Sherpas will also accompany them. Seven Summit Treks, not 8K, will handle the logistics.

Thethree people smile on a narrow snowy point.

Pasdawa Sherpa and Dawa Ongchu atop Manaslu. The two guides will not be joining Harila on Cho Oyu. Photo: Kristin Harila/Instagram


The precise route remains secret for now, although Brownlee told ExplorersWeb that they will not follow Gelje Sherpa’s line from last winter. Instead, they will climb from the Thame side, Brownlee said.

Gelje Sherpa at Cho Oyu Base camp last winter. Photo: Gelje Sherpa


The approach from Thame leads to the Nangpa La (the crossing into Tibet) and the SW Face of Cho Oyu. There are three routes on Cho Oyu’s SW Face, and none of them are easy.

Lines showing the three routes up Cho Oyu's SW Face

The three routes up Cho Oyu’s SW Face. Left to right: 1) the 2006 Slovenian route (Pavle Kozjek, Uros Samec, Marjan Kovac, Aljaz Tratnik, Emil Tratnik. 2) the Yasushi Yamanoi’s 1994 solo route, and 3) Kurtyka-Troillet-Loretan’s 1990 route. Topo: Gunter Seyfferth/Himalayan history blog


In fact, Gelje Sherpa announced Thame as their starting point last year, but then the team moved to the Gokyo area.

Meanwhile, on Cho Oyu…

The Pioneer Adventure team is progressing quickly. The team led by Mingma Dorchi Sherpa has already reached Camp 3. Climbers include Sanu Sherpa (who summited Manaslu twice and attempted Dhaulagiri in recent weeks). The team has been unable to send pictures yet, because of sketchy internet.

Pioneer’s team is independent of Harila’s or Gelje’s group.

Sanu Sherpa on his second true summit of Manaslu, which he reached alone last week. Photo: Sanu Sherpa/Facebook

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.