Cho Oyu Summit Expedition, Nepal

40 Days

Price from: £6795.00

Ice Climbing

A challenging summit trek to a magnificent Nepalese 8000 metre peak...

At 8201m Cho Oyu is known as the Turquoise Goddess and is the sixth tallest mountain in the world.

  • Cho Oyu Summit Expedition, Nepal image
  • Highlights
  • Summit an 8000m peak
  • Experience Nepal and Tibet
  • Great accomplishment
  • Truly rewarding experience
  • Amazing 360 degree views
Straddling the border between Nepal and Tibet it is arguably the easiest of the 8000m mountains although any climb to these extreme altitudes is both physically and mentally demanding with a significantly level of risk and can never be described as easy.

We make our climb by the sweeping north west face, placing three camps above base camp. The majority of the route is snow slopes up to 30 degrees with two distinct crux’s, a steep serac cliff at 6800m and the Yellow Rock Band just above Camp 3, both climbed on fixed lines.

Climbing 8000m peaks is hard work but extremely rewarding and Cho Oyu offers arguably your best chance of summiting one of the fourteen.

Participation Statement
High altitude mountaineering can be dangerous and carries an inherent risk of injury or death. Our professional leaders will continually undertake dynamic risk assessments to minimise the level of risk but it is impossible to reduce the risk entirely, nor is it desirable to. Objective dangers such as avalanches, rock fall and altitude illness WILL occur in the mountains. Participants must understand and accept these risks and take responsibility for their own involvement. This is a professionally led expedition i.e. non guided. Participants will need to be experienced mountaineers as our staff will not be able to safeguard you every step of the climb but will provided the guidance, leadership and logistics to attempt this climb.


Combination of hotels, tea houses and camp sites depending on location.


Day 1

Arrive in Kathmandu and complimentary transfer to your comfortable hotel just outside Thamel, the bustling hub of Kathmandu. Meet up with the rest of your team and your leader for a full briefing and equipment check. (H)

Day 2

Final preparations in Kathmandu. We recommend a visit to Shonas for down booties and mitts. (H, B)

Day 3

Drive to Zhangmu (2300m). We make an early start from Kathmandu for the bumpy drive north to the Friendship Bridge. This is situated in a deep valley and marks the border between Nepal and Tibet. Once through the border formalities we will meet our Chinese Liaison Officer and make the short drive up the hill to Zhangmu. It is important to note that the Tibetan Mountaineering Association (TMA) organise all logistics from the border until Chinese Base Camp and we have no control over accommodation or food provision. (TH, B, L, D)

Day 4

Drive to Nylam (3700m). The TMA provide Toyota Land Cruisers for the drive to Chinese Base Camp. However in recent years a major road building program has been initiated and the majority of the journey is now on good quality sealed roads. We climb up on to the barren Tibetan plateau to the outpost of Nylam. (TH, B, L, D)

Day 5

Acclimatisation in Nylam. The hills around provide an opportunity to stretch our legs and lungs up to an altitude of 4500m. The old mantra of climb high, sleep low still holds true today so we spend a second night in Nylam. (TH, B, L, D)

Day 6

Drive to Tingri (4300m). The road winds its way east over the hauntingly beautiful Tibetan Plateau culminating in the Lalung La Pass (5050m). On a clear day this offers stunning views across to Cho Oyu and Everest. The village of Tingri is the final stop on the way to both of these stunning mountains although the majority of climbers on the world highest peak will attempt it before the monsoon. (TH, B, L, D)

Day 7

Drive to Chinese Base Camp (4900m). If everyone is acclimatising well we drive the final few miles to Chinese Base Camp for our first night under canvas. (C, B, L, D)

Day 8

Acclimatisation at Chinese Base Camp. The hills above Chinese Base Camp offer the opportunity to climb to nearly 6000m allowing team members to tailor their acclimatisation. (C, B, L, D)

Day 9

Acclimatisation at Chinese Base Camp. A second day to stretch your legs and add to your acclimatisation. (C, B, L, D)

Day 10

Trek to Intermediate Camp (5400m) We pack up our camp and load up the yaks for a short days walk. A good Landrover track goes all the way to the small ablation valley where we site our Intermediate camp. The route twists and turns across the terminal moraine of the glacier in around 4 hours. (C, B, L, D)

Day 11

Trek to Base Camp (5700m). The final few hours to Base Camp are tough going as we cross the moraine of a subsidiary glacier. Base Camp is spread along the lateral moraine of the glacier and can take a good 20 minutes to walk from one end to the other. The views of the North West face of Cho Oyu from here are absolutely stunning especially at sunset. We settle into our home for the next few weeks with plenty of creature comforts - mess tent, heater, lighting, shower tent! (C, B, L, D)

Day 12

Acclimatisation & Puja at Base Camp. One of the great traditions of Himalayan mountaineering is the Buddhist Puja or mountain blessing, an extremely important moment for your team of Sherpas and a real highlight for many people. (C, B, L, D)

Day 13

Day 13 to Day 37. Ascent of Cho Oyu (8201m). We make our initial forays up the moraine of the glacier to the Lake camp at 6000m. From here a steep scree slope leads in a couple of hours to Camp 1 situated on an exposed shoulder at 6400m. Our Sherpas will establish the camps which will be well stocked with tents, stoves, food and gas. You will need to carry your personal equipment and many people leave their second sleeping bag and down suit at Camp 1.

The route to Camp 2 (6-8 hours) follows fixed lines up a broad snowy ridge until you reach the serac band at 6800m. This usually offers 60m of exposed steep ice which will feel like hard work at this altitude. Without the fixed lines it would be around Scottish Grade II/III. From here a deceptively long horizontal section leads to the final slopes to Camp 2 (7100m). The camp itself nestles in a bowl below the summit slopes and is hidden from view until you are nearly upon it. An ideal acclimatisation profile would involve spending 1-2 nights here before descending all the way to Base Camp prior to your summit attempt.

Camp 3 (7500m) sits on a slight spur directly above Camp 2. The snow slope below is easy but exhausting at this altitude and takes around 4 hours. Once in our high camp our main aim is to take in as much fluid as possible and get some rest before our summit attempt.

Summit day starts early, following the fixed lines upwards with only your oxygen mask and head torch for company. Our Sherpas will be climbing alongside you (ratio 2 climbers to 1 Sherpa) as you make the tricky moves through the Yellow Rock Band and follow the mixed slopes above. We aim to reach the summit plateau for sunrise at which point we will probably change oxygen cylinders. The true summit of Cho Oyu is situated at the far corner of the plateau offering views of Everest and Ama Dablam and is usually reached in 8-10 hours. (C, B, L, D)

Day 14

Summit attempt - see above

Day 15

Summit attempt - see above

Day 16

Summit attempt -see above

Day 17

Summit attempt - see above

Day 18

Summit attempt - see above

Day 19

Summit attempt - see above

Day 20

Summit attempt - see above

Day 21

Summit attempt - see above

Day 22

Summit attempt - see above

Day 23

Summit attempt - see above

Day 24

Summit attempt - see above

Day 25

Summit attempt - see above

Day 26

Summit attempt - see above

Day 27

Summit attempt - see above

Day 28

Summit attempt - see above

Day 29

Summit attempt - see above

Day 30

Summit attempt - see above

Day 31

Summit attempt - see above

Day 32

Summit attempt - see above

Day 33

Summit attempt - see above

Day 34

Summit attempt - see above

Day 35

Summit attempt - see above

Day 36

Summit attempt - see above

Day 37

Summit attempt - see above

Day 38

Travel to Zhangmu. With a long day in prospect we make an early start, packing up the final few items at base camp, loading up the yaks and setting off down to Intermediate Camp. The TMA Landcruisers pick us up from here and after completing the formalities at Chinese Base Camp we drive all the way through to Zhangmu. (TH, B, L, D)

Day 39

Travel to Kathmandu. We cross the Friendship Bridge back in to Nepal and onwards to Kathmandu for a well deserved celebration. (H, B)

Day 40

Departure. Airport transfers provided. (B)


  • This itinerary is only a guide. Adventure travel in a developing country can be affected  by a huge variety of factors including weather, landslides, strikes, breakdowns etc. Our staff will work hard to give you the best possible experience but please be aware there are some things outside our control.
  • Key
  • H = Hotel, C = Camping, TH = Teahouse, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Dates and Prices Info

We can rent top out equipment if required, please see our current prices below. These are subject to change in accordance with currency exchange fluctations:

Top out Mask
160 USD
220 USD
Oxygen Poisk 4L New 470 USD
Oxygen Poisk 3L Refilled
250 USD
Refilled Poisk  
280 USD
Refilled Deposit 110 USD

What's Included?

  • Full event planning, logistics and client liaison
  • Airport pickup/drop off
  • Complimentary welcome dinner with live Nepali cultural show
  • Accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis in Kathmandu (3 nights) at Thamel Eco Resort (a boutique hotel)
  • Experienced Western mountain leader. Smaller groups may use a local mountain leader
  • Private transportation to/from Tibet border
  • Tibet Travel Permit, Expedition Permits & other entrance fees
  • Transportation in Tibet by private land cruiser (1 for every 4 people)
  • Support truck to transport luggage, equipment and expedition logistics
  • Liaison officer and interpreter
  • Accommodation in lodges/hotels as mentioned (twin sharing, full board)
  • World class camping equipment (HA tents, inner sheet, table, chairs etc.)
  • Kitchen and dining equipment, eating utensils
  • Regular supplies of yaks for each member on way up (3 yaks per member going up to ABC and 2 yaks on way down for all expedition stuff *See Not Included)
  • Full staff support up to the Advance BC
  • Daily meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) while staying at ABC and lower camps
  • 1 ABC Cook and kitchen helper(s)
  • Wages, permit fees and insurance for whole staff and support crew
  • Basic First Aid supply for support staff
  • Duffel bags for trek
  • Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC)
  • Satellite mobile telephone (pay call)
  • Petrol Generator
  • Solar Panel
  • Outdoor clothing and equipment discount for Cotswold Outdoors and Montane 

Not Included

  • International flights, airport taxes, excess baggage charges
  • Nepal visa fee (40 US Dollars)
  • Tibet visa fee (114 USD)
  • Climbing Sherpa fee (ratio 1 Sherpa:2 climbers - (3150 USD per sherpa)
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu
  • Kathmandu sightseeing tour (including entrance fees and guide - 50 USD per person)
  • High Altitude food above ABC
  • Garbage deposit (500 USD per group: non-refundable if climbers don’t bring their waste back from mountain)
  • Personal climbing gears, ropes, carabiners, ice screw, snowbar etc.
  • Radio for climbers
  • * Extra yaks (if required due to excess luggage)
  • Personal expenses like bar bill, laundry, telephone etc.
  • Personal medical and travel insurance
  • Extra permits that may be required for activities like filming etc.
  • Summit bonus (only for successful climb), Tips etc.
  • Costs incurred if the expedition finishes early or late
  • Costs incurred if member(s) leave the expedition early
  • Extra expenses arising due to land slide, strike, blockade etc.


Q. Are Nepal & Tibet safe?

A. Nepal is one of the friendliest and safest developing countries in which to travel. However as it emerges from a decade of civil war there are still frequent strikes and small pockets of unrest. Tibet is under Chinese control and the Tibetan Plateau has been stable and secure for many years. We support the British governments Know Before You Go campaign which provides invaluable information on any potential risks as well as lots of other useful information.

Q. How fit do I need to be?

A. Although technically easy, Cho Oyu is physically and mentally extremely demanding. The extreme altitude, heavy rucksacks and harsh environment mean most people will have to do plenty of training prior to their expedition. Long days in the hills with a 15kg rucksack is the best training supplemented by aerobic training (running or cycling) and some lower body strength training. Some experience of 12 hour plus days on the hill will also be useful mentally. We can advise on the type and duration of the training you should be aiming for.

Q. I am a vegetarian. Will this be a problem?

A. No. The cooks in the Nepalese teahouses are experts at producing a huge variety of dishes from a very basic kitchen. Omelettes, Dal Bhatt, pancakes, potatoes, rice, momos etc. form the basis of a carbohydrate rich diet which is very useful to aid acclimatisation. It is also possible to order western dishes such as pizza and chips along with Pringles and Coke. In Kathmandu there is a wide selection of restaurants and it is possible to eat very well.

Q. I am concerned about porter welfare?

A. Our hardworking Sherpas and porters are fundamental to the success of our expeditions and are very much part of our team. We support the work of the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG) and work very hard with our local agent to ensure all our staff are well equipped, insured and provided for. We welcome your feedback on any aspect of this either during the trip or on your return.

Q. I would like a single room and tent. Is this possible?

A. Accommodation in Kathmandu is on a twin room basis with a member of the same sex or a double room where requested. During our trek most tea houses offer basic twin rooms. Where possible we can offer the option of a single room or tent (approximately GPB15 supplement per night) although this may not be physically possible in some tea houses.

Q. Is it possible to charge camera batteries, MP3 players etc?

A. Nepal has an electricity supply of 220V using round two pin and three pin sockets in two sizes. Powercuts are common but our hotel has a back up generator. Many of the tea houses are now offering a charging service for a small fee. You should bring your normal charging unit and a travel adaptor.

Q. What equipment will I need?

A. You will be supplied with a detailed equipment list on booking but you will require the following specialised equipment; 1) High Altitude Expedition Boots e.g. Millet Everest (Double boots with over gaiters are not sufficient) 2) Crampons 3) Ice axe 4) Climbing harness 5) Jumar 6) Down Suit or Down Jacket & Salopettes 7) 5 season sleeping bag If you are looking to purchase new equipment team members receive a discount at Cotswold Outdoors and Montane If you need to get any additional equipment in Kathmandu then we recommend Shonas. Their own brand mitts and down booties are particularly good. You will be able to leave any spare clothing and equipment in our hotel in Kathmandu.

Q. What happens if I get ill?

A. When travelling in developing countries there is always a risk of illness or accident. Our staff will work hard to reduce this risk to an acceptable level. Our itineraries include extra acclimatisation and spare days in case of inclement weather or illness. This gives us plenty of flexibility to deal with any unexpected occurrences. All our leaders have a current mountain first aid qualification and the expedition will carry an extensive first aid kit. There will be emergency oxygen at each camp and a portable hyperbaric chamber at Base Camp. We will also provide radios for communication on the mountain and the expedition will have a satellite phone.

Q. What insurance do I require?

A. It is a requirement of your booking with Activus Outdoors that you have adequate travel insurance for the planned activities which covers you for emergency medical, repatriation and rescue expenses, including the use of helicopters, up to the maximum altitude of your trip. We also recommend you have cancellation cover as your deposit is non-refundable. The following insurers specialise in providing cover for mountaineers and trekkers and are proven in the event of an emergency: BMC and Snowcard

Q. What previous experience do I need?

A. This expedition is suited to regular winter mountaineers with some altitude experience, ideally to 6000m (e.g. Baruntse or Aconcagua). Climbers with a strong alpine background have also been successful on this peak although the effect of the altitude on their performance will be an unknown. Cho Oyu gets an alpine grade of AD and features plenty of exposed Scottish grade 1 ground with one steep Grade 2 wall at 7000m. Experience on glaciers, crevasse rescue and using fixed lines is useful but not essential as full instruction will be given

Q. What visas do I require?

A. The following is the latest information we have on file. However it is your responsibility to check with the relevant authorities and ensure you have the correct visa or the means to get one on arrival. British passport holders can purchase their tourist visa on arrival in Nepal. You will need approximately US$40 in clean unmarked bills, your passport with a least 6 months validity beyond the end of your trip, an application form and a passport photo. We will send you an visa application form with your joining pack which you can fill in in advance in order to save time at Kathmandu airport on arrival.

Q. Who will be leading my expedition?

A. One of the most important factors affecting the enjoyment and success of your expedition is the quality of your leader. Activus leaders have successfully led expeditions to all seven continents, they have climbed 8000m peaks, they are active in mountain rescue, they train and assess mountaineering instructors and are out walking and climbing in all conditions across the UK everyday of the year. As soon as your trip is confirmed we will look to appoint a suitably experienced leader who will be in contact with you prior to the trip departing. They are selected on their communication & group management skills as well as their experience and qualifications. Many of our leaders are members of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors or British Mountain Guides. For trekking holidays they may also be a member of the British Association of International Mountain Leaders. All leaders will also hold a Mountain First Aid Certificate. Smaller groups may use one of our regular local leaders. This will be discussed with you prior to any decision being taken.

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