Russians to Attempt Unfinished Nepali Route on Cho Oyu’s South Face

While commercial teams flock to Cho Oyu’s normal route in Tibet, some expert Russians will attempt the mountain from its difficult south side in Nepal.

Led by Andrei Vasiliev, they will target the Southwest Ridge, the route that Nepali teams attempted in 2021 and 2022.

They landed in Kathmandu on Wednesday and are ready to set off for Gokyo, the access point for Cho Oyu’s south side.

the climbers and a civil servan on a low table, filling some forms.

Two members of the Russian team during their briefing at Nepal’s Department of Tourism. Photo: Andrei Vasiliev


The Cho Oyu team includes Vitaly Shipilov, Victoria Klimenko, Sergei Kondrashkin, and Kirill Eizerman.

This expedition includes a second group, which will head instead for Dhaulagiri. It includes Roman Abildaev (involved in Russian attempts on Winter K2), Nadezhda Oleneva, and Rasim Kashapov. Initial word suggests that they will attempt the Northeast Ridge (the normal route).

The double expedition commemorates the 100th anniversary of Russian mountaineering and the Russian Ministry of Sports. Climbers will do both mountains without sherpas or supplementary oxygen.

Small faceshots of the climbers.

Members of the Cho Oyu team. Left to right, Andrei Vasiliev, Vitaly Shipilov, Victoria Klimenko, Sergey Kondrashkin, and Kirill Eiselman. Photo: Russian Mountaineering Federation


Members of the Dhaulagiri team. Left to right, Rasim Kashapov, Nadezhda Oelena, and Roman Avildaev.

The route on Cho Oyu

The Russian team on Cho Oyu will pick its the exact route based on conditions. The overall plan is to pick their way through the seracs on the lower part of the route, then set up an intermediate camp on the big plateau at 6,800m.

From there, the terrain steepens as it mounts the ridge and approaches the crux, a huge rock bastion between 7,800m and 8,100m, right before the summit.  The previous Nepali expeditions reached a maximum height of 7,600m in the winter of 2021-22.

The mighty South Face of Cho Oyu only has four completed routes, all of them extremely demanding, as seen on the map below:

A Picture of Cho Oyu's south side with four routes marked in different colors.

The routes opened so far on Cho Oyu’s south side: 1. Red Route: Urubko-Dedeshko along the south wall. 2 Blue Route: The winter Polish route by Maciej Berbeka and Maciej Pawlikowski, and then Andrzej Heinrich and Jerzy Kukuczka. 3. Green Route: The Austrian route up the SE Face, the first opened on the South Side of Cho Oyu. 4. Yellow Route: The Russian route along the so-called “V” ridge (SE ridge to E ridge).


Thanks to Kris Annapurna for the heads-up!

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.