Mingma G to Take Clients to Cho Oyu’s South Side

This fall, Mingma G will join other Sherpa teams in a second attempt to open a commercial route on Cho Oyu from the Nepal side. What’s more, he will show his belief in the route by bringing clients.

Mingma G has just returned to Nepal from skiing in Chamonix and is now ready to guide on Dhaulagiri and Kangchenjunga. He has set his sights on Pioneer Adventure’s route up Cho Oyu rather than Gelje Sherpa’s.

“[It] is perfect for a future commercial route on Cho Oyu,” Mingma G told ExplorersWeb.

Pioneer Adventure left from Thame last winter and mounted the SSW Ridge. They reached 7,650m before bad weather and lack of time forced them back.

Mingma G in Chamonix some days ago. Photo: Mingma G/Instagram

 

“I have discussed summit options with Mingma Dorchi [Pioneer Adventure’s leader],” he said. “We can find alternatives if the route gets too technical. Overall, I feel it can be done commercially. I am now working on putting together a team of at least seven foreign clients and 10 Sherpas.”

Mingma has his eye on four or five Nepali IFMGA guides, plus one or both of his partners from among the Winter K2 summiters: Dawa Tenzing and Kilu Sherpa. He is sure that this will attract clients interested in opening a new route up an 8,000’er.

But what about the skills and strength needed to climb Cho Oyu’s extremely long SSW Ridge?

“We’ll just set up more high camps,” he said. “A long route is not a problem unless there’s the risk of avalanche or rockfall. According to Mingma Dorchi, the route is safe.”

The highest point reached by Pioneer Adventure team on Cho Oyu, on February 28. Photo: Mingma D. Sherpa/Pioneer Adventure

 

The next question is, are Mingma Dorchi and his team okay with another expedition joining them on a route they pioneered in winter?

“I talked with him [about it] yesterday,” Mingma G explained. “He said he would be happy if we can complete his project together.”

Mingma Dorchi Sherpa, CEO of Pioneer Adventure and leader of the Cho Oyu South Face expedition. Photo: Pioneer Adventure

 

Recently, Seven Summit Treks announced that they will support Gelje Sherpa, the leader of the second team on Cho Oyu’s south side this past winter, on a second attempt in the fall. But Mingma G’s plans are independent. “I haven’t talked to them,” he said.

Mingma G’s Imagine Nepal team has already nailed down its Cho Oyu expedition dates: October 1 to November 10, 2022. Before that, they have a very busy year of climbing. Imagine Nepal is leading climbs on Dhaulagiri, Kangchenjunga, Everest/Lhotse, and Makalu in spring, K2, Broad Peak, and Nanga Parbat in summer, and Manaslu in September. He emphasizes that, like last year, they will go to the true summit of Manaslu.

Angela Benavides is a journalist specialised on high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news working with ExplorersWeb.com.

Angela Benavides 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 national and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporates, press manager and communication executive, radio reporter and anchorwoman, etc. Experience in Education: Researcher at Spain’s National University for Distance Learning on the European Commission-funded ECO Learning Project; experience in teaching ELE (Spanish as a Second Language) and transcultural training for expats living in Spain.

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damiengildea
3 months ago

“…is perfect for a future commercial route on Cho Oyu.” – but Pioneer only got to 7650m, a long way from the summit, over never-climbed terrain, that is obviously quite technical. How can he, or anyone, make such a statement? Late October on a western aspect at 8000m? Highly wind-affected, very cold, with clients slow on unclimbed technical terrain. Operating late because they used up September doing business on Manaslu. Hmmm… And Angela, as for “…clients interested in opening a new route” it will not be the clients ‘opening’ the route but their paid Sherpas. The clients will merely follow,… Read more »

Mingma g
Mingma g
3 months ago
Reply to  damiengildea

Hi Damien, Why can’t we think positively about it. yes we understand there can be technical parts or easy parts which no one knows so far. You know Kinshofer’s wall on Nanga Parbat, Hillary Step on Everest, so it can be that there can be some of my clients who might put their name on Cho Oyu’s difficult route. It means I may have clients who can be both physically and technically better than me or other sherpa team. We can’t say commercial team’s clients only follow a fixed line. If someone is interested to join us then it is… Read more »

MV Alvarez
3 months ago
Reply to  Mingma g

How much negative comment! Slovenian Pavle Kozjek already climbed the remaining ridge in October 2006 and the conditions were very different. He did it in a single push in 14h and solo, ascending the SE face and conecting with the ridge. The biggest problem he find was deep snow at the top that slowed him down to reach the summit. I do think it’s possible. A long, hard and very beautiful route for “clients” (expert mountaineers who cannot organize these expeditions alone) who like challenges. Good luck!

damiengildea
3 months ago
Reply to  MV Alvarez

Kozjek did not climb the SSW ridge. He climbed the left side of the SW face to meet the old Polish route on the W ridge which joins the normal NW face route up high. He was nowhere near the SE face.

http://www.russianclimb.com/kozjek.html
http://www.alpinist.com/doc/ALP17/newswire-cho-oyu

You can see all the Cho Oyu routes here: https://animalderuta.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/las-rutas-de-ascenso-del-cho-oyu/#more-12309

MV Alvarez
3 months ago
Reply to  damiengildea

Yes, it was a typing error, I wanted to put SW and I put SE, but the end of the route, which is what I was referring to, is the same. The route the Nepalese are trying is S-SW. Look at the “Animal de Ruta” schematic.

MV Alvarez
3 months ago
Reply to  damiengildea

Actually, it is the 1990 route by Loretan, Troillet and the Polish Kurtyka that comes out on the SW ridge, 100m below the summit, but they do not describe any insurmountable difficulties either.

damiengildea
3 months ago
Reply to  MV Alvarez

Loretan/Kurtyka/Troillet reached the final part of the ridge via couloirs and snowfields on the northern side of the SSW ridge, ie. the SW face.

But the proposed Pioneer route on the SSW ridge comes from a different direction, along a difficult rocky ridge, not this easier terrain. They are very different routes. Any future SSW ridge ascent will have to climb that unclimbed rocky ridge before reaching this final easier part where the 1990 route comes in.

MV Alvarez
3 months ago
Reply to  damiengildea

I see you making affirmations (negative of course) very sure, when we don’t know what the end of the route will be like. Who tells you that they don’t turn left? and if you consider that the terrain is ‘very different’… it’s an absurd discussion. That rocky ridge, we are seeing it in winter and after a month of winds of more than 100km/h. With snow it will look different. As you told me, I recommend you read:
http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/12199101400/New-Routes-Cho-Oyu-an d-Shisha-Pangma

We just think differently. In the end, time will tell who was right, I don’t think it matters much.

Deckard166
Deckard166
3 months ago
Reply to  Mingma g

I lost all respect for Damien (which is sad given he clearly has a wealth of experience and stories) when he decided to go on a rant against Alan Arnette that went from critiquing his site to attacking him personally. Just very off putting.

damiengildea
3 months ago
Reply to  Deckard166

And exactly what are you doing with this post?

damiengildea
3 months ago
Reply to  Mingma g

Hi Mingma, I’m simply saying that it’s not wise to make such a statement about a route no-one has climbed, but that is clearly very difficult. It’s selling a product you don’t have. If clients want to pay their money to be part of your business experiment, that’s their business. I am happy to be proven wrong if you safely guide clients up and down the SSW ridge and I honestly wish you the best of luck. Ed Hillary and Toni Kinshofer were expert climbers, not guided clients. Hillary has the Step named after him because he led it –… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by damiengildea
B G
B G
3 months ago

Is that photo of the unclimbed section they wish to take commercial clients up on a first ascent?

Shivering Yeti
Shivering Yeti
3 months ago

Exposed, mixed terrain, up and down, the Verschneidung at least 70-80 degrees steep and long. A very long way from where he stands. Never ever a commercial route.

Marie
Marie
3 months ago
Reply to  Shivering Yeti

Yes, it sure looks like a recipe for disaster…

Antoine M
3 months ago
Reply to  Shivering Yeti

“Verschneidung” is on the East ridge, not on the SSW ridge.

gian piero
gian piero
3 months ago

For me Damiengildea is right. Just look at the photos to understand that the last part of the ridge, either by following its thread or by looking for alternative routes on the side walls, can never be a commercial route. Surely the Sherpas, with a team work, would be able to climb the ridge, but make it accessible for customers I don’t think. It is not a question of being proactive and optimistic. It is the objective reality! If you really need to look for a commercial route on this south face, I believe that the route used by the other… Read more »

MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
3 months ago

Is anyone else reminded of Mingma G.’s commercial 2019 winter expedition to K2 with Snorri and Rotar? In that case the clients were left bitter and furious. They believed, and publicly stated, that Mingma G. sold them the expedition to do recon and drop supplies for a later expedition, and alleged that Mingma G. had no intention to climb with or lead commercial clients up the mountain. In his response to Damien, Mingma G’s statement that, “so it can be that there can be some of my clients who might put their name on Cho Oyu’s difficult route” sounds like… Read more »