Cho Oyu

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Cho Oyu
The south side of Cho Oyu from Gokyo.
Highest point
Elevation 8,188 m (26,864 ft) 
Ranked 6th
Prominence 2,340 m (7,680 ft) [1]
Isolation 29 kilometres (18 mi)
Listing Eight-thousander
Coordinates 28°05′39″N 86°39′39″E / 28.09417°N 86.66083°E / 28.09417; 86.66083Coordinates: 28°05′39″N 86°39′39″E / 28.09417°N 86.66083°E / 28.09417; 86.66083
Translation Turquoise Goddess (Tibetan)
Cho Oyu is located in Nepal
Cho Oyu
Cho Oyu
Location in Nepal (on border with China)
Location NepalChina (Tibet)
Parent range Mahalangur Himal, Himalayas
First ascent October 19, 1954 by Herbert Tichy, Joseph Jöchler, Pasang Dawa Lama
(First winter ascent 12 February 1985 Maciej Berbeka and Maciej Pawlikowski)
Easiest route snow/ice/glacier climb

Cho Oyu (Nepali: चोयु; Tibetan: ཇོ་བོ་དབུ་ཡ) is the sixth highest mountain in the world at 8,188 metres (26,864 ft) above sea level. Cho Oyu means "Turquoise Goddess" in Tibetan. The mountain is the westernmost major peak of the Khumbu sub-section of the Mahalangur Himalaya 20 km west of Mount Everest. The mountain stands on the China-Nepal border.

Just a few kilometres west of Cho Oyu is Nangpa La (5,716m/18,753 ft), a glaciated pass that serves as the main trading route between the Tibetans and the Khumbu's Sherpas. This pass separates the Khumbu and Rolwaling Himalayas. Due to its proximity to this pass and the generally moderate slopes of the standard northwest ridge route, Cho Oyu is considered the easiest 8,000 metre peak to climb.[2] It is a popular objective for professionally guided parties.


Cho Oyu's height was originally measured at 26,750 feet (8,150 m) and at the time of the first ascent was considered the 7th highest mountain on earth, after Dhaulagiri at 8,167 metres (26,795 ft)[3] (Manaslu, now 8,156 metres (26,759 ft), was also estimated lower at 26,658 feet (8,125 m)). A 1984 estimate of 8,201 metres (26,906 ft) made it move up to 6th place. New measurements made in 1996 by the Government of Nepal Survey Department and the Finnish Meteorological Institute in preparation for the Nepal Topographic Maps put the height at 8,188 m,[4] one remarkably similar to the 26,867 feet (8,189 m) used by Edmund Hillary in his 1955 book High Adventure.[5]

Climbing history[edit]

Cho Oyu was first attempted in 1952 by an expedition organised and financed by the Joint Himalayan Committee of Great Britain as preparation for an attempt on Mount Everest the following year. The expedition was led by Eric Shipton and included Edmund Hillary and Tom Bourdillon.[6] A foray by Hillary and George Lowe was stopped due to technical difficulties and avalanche danger at an ice cliff above 6,650 m (21,820 ft) and a report of Chinese troops a short distance across the border influenced Shipton to retreat from the mountain rather than continue to attempt to summit.[7]

The mountain was first climbed on October 19, 1954, via the north-west ridge by Herbert Tichy, Joseph Jöchler and Sherpa Pasang Dawa Lama of an Austrian expedition.[8] Cho Oyu was the fifth 8000 metre peak to be climbed, after Annapurna in June 1950, Mount Everest in May 1953, Nanga Parbat in July 1953 and K2 in July 1954. Until the ascent of Mount Everest by Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler in 1978, this was the highest peak climbed without supplemental oxygen.[9]

Viewing Cho Oyu via Tingri


  • 1952 First reconnaissance of north-west face by Edmund Hillary and party.[8]
  • 1954 First ascent by Austrians Joseph Jöchler and Herbert Tichy, and Pasang Dawa Lama (Nepal)[8]
  • 1958 Second ascent of the peak, by an Indian expedition. Sherpa Pasang Dawa Lama reached the peak for the second time. First death on Cho Oyu.[8]
  • 1959 Four members killed in an avalanche during a failed international women's expedition.[8]
  • 1964 Controversial third ascent by a German expedition as there is no proof of reaching the summit. Two mountaineers die of exhaustion in camp 4 at 7,600 m (24,930 ft).[8]
  • 1978 Edi Koblmüller and Alois Furtner of Austria summit via the extremely difficult southeast face.[8]
  • 1983 Reinhold Messner succeeds on his fourth attempt,[8] with Hans Kammerlander and Michael Dacher.
  • 1985 On February 12, Poles Maciej Berbeka and Maciej Pawlikowski make the first winter ascent. It is the only winter ascent on eight-thousander made on a new route. Repeated three days later by Andrzej Heinrich and Jerzy Kukuczka.
  • 1988 On November 2, a Slovenian expedition consisting of Iztok Tomazin, Roman Robas, Blaž Jereb, Rado Nadvešnik, Marko Prezelj, and Jože Rozman, reach the summit via the never before climbed north face.
  • 1994 On May 13 Carlos Carsolio sets a world record speed ascent from base camp to summit, ascending in 18 hours and 45 minutes.[10]
  • 1994 First solo ascent via the South West face by Yasushi Yamanoi.[11]
  • 2004 Second summit by a double amputee (Mark Inglis)[12]
  • 2007 Second Indian ascent. Expedition led by Abhilekh Singh Virdi.[13]
  • 2011 Dutch climber Ronald Naar dies after becoming unwell at 8,000 m (26,250 ft).[14][15]


Climate data for Cho Oyu
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −30.1
Daily mean °C (°F) −36.9
Average low °C (°F) −43.6
Source: Department of Hydrology and Meteorology
Viewing Cho Oyu via mountain flight

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "China I: Tibet - Xizang". Retrieved 2014-05-29. 
  2. ^ "Cho Oyu". Peakware. 
  3. ^ Herbert Tichy, Cho Oyu: by favour of the gods, Methuen 1957page 195
  4. ^ 2886 15 Pasan Lhamu Chuli map
  5. ^ Edmund Hillary, High Adventure, page 49, Oxford University Press, 1955
  6. ^ Barnett, Shaun (7 December 2010). "Cho Oyu expedition team, 1952". The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. 
  7. ^ Hillary, pp. 79-80
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Everest "Cho Oyu History". Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  9. ^ Günter Seyfferth, Cho Oyu, 8201 m, Erkundung, Erstbesteigung, Erstbegehungen, Ereignisse Template:De
  10. ^ "Guest: Carlos Carsolio". Outside Online. 2000. Archived from the original on 13 August 2007. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  11. ^ Griffin, Lindsay (11 Oct 2011). "Piolets d'Or Asia honours Urubko". The British Mountaineering Council. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  12. ^ "Double amputee scales Mt Everest". BBC News. 16 May 2006. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  13. ^ "Timeline Climbing Of Cho Oyu". June 2011. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  14. ^ "Dutch Climber Ronald Naar dies on Cho Oyu". The Outside Blog Dispatches. Outside Online. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  15. ^ "Dutch mountaineer Ronald Naar dies during China climb". 23 May 2011. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 


  • Herbert Tichy, Cho Oyu - Gnade der Götter, (Vienna: Ullstein 1955)

External links[edit]