|8,188 m (26,864 ft)
|2,340 m (7,680 ft)
|29 km (18 mi)
|Language of name
|Meaning in English
|Nepal (Province No. 1)–China (Tibet)
|Mahalangur Himal, Himalayas
|Herbert Tichy, Joseph Jöchler, and Pasang Dawa Lama on October 19, 1954 (first winter ascent 12 February 1985 Maciej Berbeka and Maciej Pawlikowski)
Cho Oyu is the sixth-highest mountain in the world. It is one of the eight-thousanders and stands tall at the height of 8,188 meters (26,864 ft) above sea level. This mountain is a prominent part of the Khumbu sub-section of the Mahalangur Himalaya, which is 20 km to the west of Mount Everest. This peak is situated in the China Tibet–Nepal Province No. 1 border, hence being a part of both the neighboring countries. Nangpa La (5,716m/18,753 ft) is a glaciated pass a few kilometers west of Cho Oyu that serves as the main commerce route between Tibetans and Khumbu Sherpas. The Khumbu and Rolwaling Himalayas are divided by this pass.
Cho Oyu is regarded as one of the easiest 8,000-meter peaks to climb because of its proximity to this pass and the fairly easy slopes of the standard northwest ridge approach. Moreover, the mountain gets its name from Tibetan words, Cho Oyu, which means “Turquoise Goddess.” Like these, there are many interesting facts to learn about Cho Oyu; make sure you read till the end of this article to know it all!
How tall is Cho Oyu?
Cho Oyu is 8188 meters or 26 854 ft tall. During the first ascent, Cho Oyu was considered the seventh-highest mountain after Mount Dhaulagiri. But, this calculation was later dismissed, and the mountain was labeled as the sixth-highest mountain in the world in 1984. While the measurement made in 1984 showed that the peak was 8,201 meters (26,906 ft), a measure conducted by the Government of Nepal Survey Department and the Finnish Meteorological Institute to form the Nepal Topographic Maps confirmed that the mountain was 8188 meters tall and proved the initial measurements wrong.
Where is Cho Oyu Mountain located?
Mount Cho Oyu is located on the China-Tibet-Nepal border. In Nepal, it is situated in Province 1, and in China in Tibet. The peak is in the Mahalangur Himal, Himalayas. The south side of Cho Oyu is quite close and visible clearly from Gokyo. Furthermore, to be exact, the mountain is in the Khumbu sub-region of the Mahalangur Himal range.
Who has climbed Cho Oyu mountain?
Many mountaineers have been successful in climbing and even summiting Cho Oyu mountain to this day. However, the first climbing attempt of this peak was made in the year 1952 by an expedition organized by the Joint Himalayan Committee of Great Britain, with the attempt at Mount Everest soon after this one in their minds. The team of this expedition included Edmund Hillary, Tom Bourdillon, and George Lowe and was led by Eric Shipton. This attempt was more like a preparation for the team to climb Mount Everest than anything else. The expedition by Hillary and Lowe was halted due to technical problems and avalanche hazards at an ice cliff above 6,650 m (21,820 ft). An indication of Chinese forces just across the border led Shipton to return from the peak rather than continue his ascent. Hence, this expedition remained incomplete, and the ascent was unsuccessful.
Cho Oyu was successfully climbed two years prior to the first attempt in 1954 from the northwest ridge. The team of successful summiteers included Herbert Tichy, Joseph Jöchler, and Sherpa Pasang Dawa Lama from an Austrian expedition. Among the eight-thousanders, Cho Oyu became the fifth mountain to be climbed after Mount Annapurna, Nanga Parbat, Mount Everest, and K2, respectively. This remained the highest ascent made by mountaineers without any supplemental oxygen. But mountaineers Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler broke this record in 1978 by climbing Mount Everest without any artificial oxygen.
Is Cho Oyu easy to climb?
It is quite surprising that despite being one of the tallest mountains in the world, Cho Oyu is the easiest among the eight-thousanders to expedite. This peak has the lowest death ratio among all the other mountains, that is, only 1/25th of the death percentage of Mount Annapurna.
One of the perks that most inexperienced mountain climbers can get out of Cho Oyu is that you don’t need to have experience, but only a sound health condition and physical fitness are enough to climb the mountain. Cho Oyu is also regarded as a trekking peak, as it is very common for trekkers, regardless of their experiences, to go on trekking to this mountain.
It features a usually flat peak plain with no cairn (the traditional prayer flags on Cho Oyu’s summit plateau do not designate the “technical” top), which can be misleading and disputed among climbers.
What is the difficulty level of Cho Oyu?
The difficulty level of Cho Oyu has been talked about by many mountaineers as one with beginner level difficulty. Hence, it would not be wrong to say that Cho Oyu is possibly one of the easiest among the 14 peaks to climb. The success rate of climbers is quite high in comparison to the ones from other eight-thousanders.
A proper fitness level paired with good health will definitely work if you want to climb Cho Oyu, even as a beginner. The mountain is only as hard as a person with a lack of physical capacity is going to make it. But, it is suggested that mountain climbers take training to walk and do other physical activities before climbing the mountain in order to get habituated to the conditions of the mountain. Cho Oyu is not only good for intense mountaineering experiences but also for trekking among trekkers and mountaineers.
Likewise, many who want to be able to climb Mount Everest also make an attempt to climb Cho Oyu as practice or for their training.
How long does it take to climb Cho Oyu?
Cho Oyu ascent will take you from 6 to 9 hours. While it is considered an easier mountain to climb, there may be unforeseen events like unfavorable weather and so on, which will make a mountaineer take longer to climb. Whatsoever, it is not probable that this will happen based on all the successful ascents in the past.
But then again, it is not quite right to underestimate an eight thousander!
Who is the youngest woman to climb Cho Oyu Mountain?
Gabby Kanizay was only 16 years old when she climbed Cho Oyu, making her the youngest woman ever to climb the mountain. Likewise, Kanizay was only 19 years old when she became successful in climbing the tallest peak in the world, Mount Everest.
Her climb to Cho Oyu still remains one of the most prominent and recognizable climbs of all time in the history of mount climbing.
Personal Sherpas and Guides required for the Cho Oyu mountain expedition
One is required to take along guides compulsorily, and Sherpas when climbing mountains above the height of 6000 meters. Therefore, if you are looking to climb Cho Oyu, you will also need to take all experienced and reliable guides and Sherpas.
If you prefer expedition companies, you are likely to find Sherpas who have been educated and taught well by the Khumbu Sherpa climbing school. These guides know well how to speak English as well. On the other hand, while local Sherpas are well known in the area and the factors in the mountain, you may have a hard time finding the most trustworthy one. So, it is recommended that you let your mountaineering or expedition agency do the heavy lifting of finding a Sherpa for you.
The Sherpas will carry your gear, equipment, and belongings, along with your artificial cylinders. Likewise, they will definitely guide you through the path as well.
What is the best time to climb Mount Cho Oyu?
The best time to climb Mount Cho Oyu is either during the spring or the autumn season, but most preferably, the autumn. Spring expedition usually starts in Mid-May when the weather gets brighter and better in comparison to peak winter. But then again, as the spring exceeds, the chances of getting rainy in the area, especially in the lower parts, are quite strong.
Likewise, when you start your expedition in Mid-September, or autumn, you will likely go there when the weather is warm and comfortable for a climb. It is neither too cold nor uncomfortably hot, even in the lower region during the autumn. And, you will not have to undergo any obstacles as you might when you trek to Cho Oyu or try to summit the mountain in any other months or seasons.