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42 days in Tibet
Grade: Advanced


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At 8,188 meters, Cho Oyu is the sixth highest mountain on earth. In Tibetan, its name means “the turquoise goddess.” It is a beautifully sculpted peak that straddles the border between China and Nepal just 12 miles west of Mount Everest. Cho Oyu has long been regarded as one of the more accessible 8,000-meter peaks, and as such it is not only a phenomenal objective in its own right, but also an excellent training ground for Mount Everest. Our full-service expedition takes you from the streets of Kathmandu onto the wild and rugged Tibetan Plateau, and then into the heights of the Himalaya. Along the way you will be assisted by our expert guides and enjoy some of the finest amenities available.

Cho Oyu • Northwest Ridge Expedition • 42 Days

Mountain Gurus’ fully supported expedition ascends Cho Oyu’s classic Northwest Ridge, or “normal route,” to the summit of the planet’s sixth highest peak. In comparison to other 8,000-meter ascents, the Northwest Ridge generally offers more moderate terrain and less objective hazard, but it is still a serious challenge that requires climbers to move efficiently on steep and exposed ground at extreme altitude. The route is long and poses significant difficulties, including a series of steep ice cliffs at 21,100 feet and the famous “Yellow Band” higher on the mountain. 

Our expedition begins among the ancient temples of Kathmandu, the vibrant capital of NepalFrom Kathmandu, we fly or drive to Tibet, with the possibility of visiting Lhasa, home to the famous Potala Palace, the former traditional seat of the Dalai LamaAfter acclimatizing in the Tibetan village of Tingri, we drive to Chinese Base Camp, where we leave our vehicles behind and start our trek to Advanced Base Camp near the Gyabrag Glacier at the foot of Cho Oyu. Along the way, we travel just east the Nangpa La (18,753 ft), a glaciated pass that serves as the main trading route between Tibet and the Khumbu Valley. Over the next two to three weeks, we acclimatize while establishing a series of three camps on the upper mountain. Finally, we step onto the summit of Cho Oyu with unrivaled views of Mount Everest and surrounding peaks.

Need help choosing a trip?
Read our Four-Legged Stool blog post for tips on finding the right adventure for you.

What experience do I need to climb Cho Oyu?

Cho Oyu is a serious undertaking. It requires excellent physical fitness, strong climbing and expedition living skills, and the freedom to spend a month and a half in the Himalayas. For many climbers, an ascent of an 8,000-meter peak is the culmination of years of physical and mental preparation.

Before climbing Cho Oyu, we recommend that you complete four to five international or high-altitude climbing expeditions. Denali, Aconcagua, Mount Vinson, and Himalayan mountains such as Island Peak are all excellent preparation. Before your flight touches down in Nepal, you should possess: extensive experience climbing and camping at high altitudes and in extreme weather, and advanced mountaineering and technical skills, including roped glacier travel, crampon and ice axe technique, ascending fixed lines, crevasse rescue, self-arrest, and knots, anchors and other ropework. You should be able to maintain a positive, flexible attitude and act as an engaged member of the team even in challenging circumstances.

To maximize every team member’s chances of success, we accept only seasoned climbers on our Cho Oyu expeditions. If you aspire to climb 8,000-meter peaks but lack the necessary skills or experience, we would be glad to help you design a training plan to achieve your goals. Our climbs and courses in the Pacific Northwest and our wide selection of international expeditions can set you on the road to Cho Oyu, Manaslu and Mount Everest.

Climb Highlights

  • 42-day expedition in Tibet
  • Climb the planet’s 6th highest peak
  • Lodging and sightseeing in Kathmandu
  • Overland travel to Tibet
  • Mountain guides
  • World-class amenities
  • All meals on the mountain
  • All group climbing gear
  • 8,000-meter oxygen equipment
  • Support from Mountain Gurus office staff

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Kathmandu
Day 2 – 4 • Kathmandu
Day 5 • Drive to Timure
Day 6 • Drive to Kriyong
Day 7 • Kriyong
Day 8 • Drive to Tingri
Day 9 • Tingri
Day 10 • Drive to Chinese Base Camp
Day 11 – 12 • Base Camp • 15,000 ft
Day 13 • Trek to Interim Camp
Day 14 • Trek to Advance Base Camp
Day 15 – 31 • Climb of Cho Oyu
– Camp I • 21,000 ft
– Camp II • 23,100 ft
– Camp III • 24,500 ft
Day 32 • Summit Day • 26,906 ft
Day 33 • Trek to Advanced Base Camp
Day 34 • Advanced Base Camp
Day 35 • Descend to Tingri
Day 36 • Drive to Kriyong
Day 37 • Drive to Kathmandu
Day 38 – 42 • Contingency Summit Day


Cho Oyu Expedition

Our Cho Oyu itinerary is flexible. We may adjust it for weather, acclimatization, terrain conditions and other factors throughout the expedition.

Day 1 • Arrive Kathmandu

Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport, Nepal (KTM). Our trek begins in the historic city of Kathmandu, known for its fascinating Nepalese culture and ancient temples. We stay in a first-class hotel in the popular Thamel district, which is filled with restaurants and shops selling Nepali handicrafts.

Accommodations: Hotel in Kathmandu
Meals Included: None

Day 2 – 4 • Kathmandu

We apply for our Chinese visas. While we wait for them to be issued, we have an expedition orientation and equipment check, and we have time to visit local historical sites in Kathmandu.

Accommodations: Hotel in Kathmandu
Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

Day 5 • Drive to Timure

Our expedition departs the Kathmandu Valley, driving through the Nepali countryside to the border town of Timure, on the river dividing Nepal and China.

Accommodations: Hotel in Timure
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 6 • Drive to Kriyong

We cross the international border, and then drive across the Tibetan Plateau to Kriyong.

Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet 
Driving Time: 2-4 hours 

Accommodations: Hotel in Kriyong
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 7 • Kriyong

Acclimatization day in Kriyong.

Accommodations: Hotel in Kriyong
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 8 • Drive to Tingri

We continue driving across the Tibetan Plateau to the small trading town of Tingri.

Elevation Gain: 5,400 feet 
Driving Time: 5-7 hours 

Accommodations: Hotel in Tingri
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 9 • Tingri

Acclimatization day in Tingri. While we rest, we enjoy spectacular views of Cho Oyu and Mount Everest rising high above the Tibetan Plateau.

Elevation Gain: None 
Driving Time: None

Accommodations: Hotel in Tingri
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 10 • Chinese Base Camp • 15,000 feet

Today we drive through a spectacular canyon to Chinese Base Camp.

Elevation Gain: 800 feet 
Driving Time: 3-5 hours 

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Pack Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)

Day 11-12 • Chinese Base Camp • 15,000 feet

We spend a second night in Chinese Base Camp, acclimatizing while we organize our gear for the trek to Advanced Base Camp. 

Elevation Gain: None
Driving Time: None 

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Pack Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)

Day 13 • Trek to Interim Camp • 17,000 feet

After breakfast, we begin our 2-day trek to Advanced Base Camp. We cross the Ra Chhu River and settle into Intermediate Camp.

Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet 
Trekking Time: 3-4 hours  

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Pack Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)

Day 14 • Arrive in Advance Base Camp • 18,500 feet

We trek along the moraine of the Gyabrag Glacier to Advanced Base Camp located at the base of Cho Oyu just east of the Nangpa La, a glaciated pass that serves as the main trading route between Tibet and the Khumbu Valley.

Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet
Trekking Time: 2-4 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Pack Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)

Day 15 – 31 • Climb of Cho Oyu

Over the next two to three weeks our ascent follows an acclimatization schedule of equipment carries and rest days as we establish a series of three high camps on the upper flanks of the mountain. From Base Camp, the route meanders up a glacier to the base of the Northwest Ridge. A steep, loose slope leads to Camp 1.

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Pack Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)

Camp 1 • 21,000 feet to Camp 2 • 23,100 feet

The route continues up the ice-and-snow-covered Northwest Ridge, passing a short but steep ice wall, which is one of the technical cruxes of the route.

Elevation Gain: 2,500 feet
Climbing Time: 5-7 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Pack Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)

Camp 2 • 23,100 feet to Camp 3 • 24,500 feet

From Camp 2 to Camp 3 the route steepens as we ascend Cho Oyu’s West Face.

Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet
Climbing Time: 4-6 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Pack Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)

Day 32 • Summit Day • 26,906 feet (8,201 meters)

On summit day, we climb directly above Camp 3 to the Yellow Band, a short, steep headwall of rock and ice, the second crux of the route. Above this obstacle, the route continues up the West Face to the summit plateau. A long, gradual climb leads to the top.

Elevation Gain: 4,400 feet
Climbing Time: 8-12 hours roundtrip

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Pack Lunch, Dinner (B, PL, D)

Day 33 – 35 • Trek to Chinese Base Camp • Drive to Tingri

This morning we trek from advanced base camp and once again arrive in Chinese base camp, we transport to Tingri.

Elevation Loss: 10,200 feet

Accommodations: Tented Camps, Hotel in Tingri
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 36 • Drive to Kriyong

We drive to Kriyong.

Elevation Loss: 5,400 feet
Driving Time: 5-7 hours

Accommodations: Hotel in Kyirong
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 37 • Drive to Kathmandu

We cross the international border and continue to Kathmandu.

Elevation Loss: 4,500 feet
Driving Time: 7-8 hours

Accommodations: Hotel in Kathmandu
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 38-42 • Contingency Summit Days

Itinerary Notes
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner




Deposit and Payments

$10,000.00 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application.
Balance due 90 days prior to departure

Price Includes

  • Scheduled land transportation in Nepal and China
  • Hotels in Kathmandu
  • Overland transport from Kathmandu to Cho Oyu Base Camp
  • Guided sightseeing tour
  • Scheduled meals during the trek and expedition
  • Climbing permit and fees
  • Tibet Lodges
  • Single tent accommodations at base camp
  • Professional mountain guide, high altitude porters
  • Basecamp coordinator and expedition cook staff
  • Dining tent w/ gas heater and hot shower, toilet tent
  • Solar charging, communications
  • Oxygen bottles, mask and regulator, Top-out system
  • Scheduled porter and yak service based on the itinerary
  • Baggage transport (limited to 40kg – 88lbs)
  • All group equipment for the expedition (including tents, stoves, group climbing gear, fixed ropes, emergency oxygen)

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare and meals during travel
  • Visa fees
  • Hotels in Lhasa
  • Non-scheduled airport transfers
  • Non-scheduled meals
  • Personal gear
  • Communication fees
  • Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
  • Single room (hotels only) and porterage supplement
  • Medical and evacuation coverage (required)
  • Helicopter flights due to delays
  • Early departure fees
  • Excess baggage fees
  • Summit bonus for climbing Sherpa
  • Tips and gratuities


A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool or synthetic, one that covers the ears.
  • Buff or Neck Gaitor
  • Heavyweight Balaclava
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Glacier Glasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Wrap around style or side shields.
  • Goggles: Dark lenses to help with snow and wind.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries.

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: Two synthetic long-sleeve shirts.
  • Mid-layer Top: A synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: A breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: GORE-TEX© or a fully waterproof shell. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Insulated Jacket: Heavyweight 700+ fill down.
  • 8000 meter Expedition Down Suit: Insulated hood: 700+ fill down


  • Lightweight Gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)
  • Softshell Gloves: One pair. Leather palms offer durability and grip.
  • Heavyweight Gloves: Insulated glove with GORE-TEX© or waterproof outer.
  • Expedition Down Mittens w/ wrist straps: One pair
  • Handwarmers / toe warmers: 3 sets of each

Lower Body

  • Baselayer Bottom: Two pair. Synthetic, no cotton
  • Softshell Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated
  • Hardshell Pants: One pair of GORE-TEX© pants with full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your Hardshell pants without removing your boots.
  • Insulated Pants: One pair of synthetic insulated pants with full side zips.
  • Gaiters: Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots.


  • Mountaineering Boots: Full shank crampon compatible. Heavy weight synthetic/ hybrid mountaineering boots. 8000-meter mountaineering boots are required
  • Mediumweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks.
  • Heavyweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks for sleeping in and for summit day.

Note: Please read our Mountaineering Boot and Crampon guide for more information.


  • Sleeping Bag: Bring a warm bag rated to minus 40ᵒ Fahrenheit.
  • Sleeping Pads: A full-length closed-cell foam pad and inflatable pad.

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 70-liter pack with good support, adequate to carry personal and group gear. The pack should fit properly, have a good waist belt, and be able to carry gear between 30-40 lbs.
  • Duffle/zip Bag: Two large, durable waterproof duffel bags for transporting gear to basecamp via mules.
  • Liner Bags: 4-6 large plastic contractor bags.

Climbing Gear

  • Ice Axe: 55-65cm mountaineering axe.
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Alpine Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops.
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible with snow baskets.
  • Locking Carabiners: (4) Large pear-shaped, screw gate locking carabiners.
  • Non-locking Carabiners: (4) Wire gate non-locking carabiners.
  • Ascender: Left or right handed
  • Rappel/Delay device: Figure 8 recommended
  • Prussik Cord: 40 feet, 6mm perlon
  • Nylon Sling: (2) 60cm nylon slings


  • Water Bottle: Two, 1L wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©
  • Water Bottle Parkas: Two, fully insulated water bottle covers.

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Snacks and drinks
  • Small personal first-aid kit and medications
  • Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
  • Toilet paper, blue bag or wag bag
  • Earplugs



Program Location:
Begins and ends in Kathmandu, Nepal

Visa/Entry Information:
Passport must have six months or more validity remaining at the time of entry. American citizens may obtain a visa prior to travel or upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.

• 90 days multiple-entry tourist visa ($125 USD)

A valid passport and visa are required to enter and exit China and must be obtained from Chinese Embassies or Consulates before traveling to China. Since visa policies change often MG will update you once your application and deposit are accepted.

Health & Immunizations:
Immunizations are not required for entry into Nepal and China. Consult your doctor, local travel clinic or Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for updated immunization recommendations in Nepal and China. Recommended immunizations include: diphtheria-tetanus (DPT), polio, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), meningitis, hepatitis A and B, cholera, typhoid, rabies. Malaria medication is only necessary if you plan to visit low-lying areas of Nepal / India after the climb.

Flight Travel Information:
Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), Kathmandu, Nepal

International Departures:
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country’s for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the countries destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.

Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.

A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Cho Oyu Fitness & Training

Climbing Grade: Advanced   

As one of the highest points in the world, this climb requires significant physical and mental fitness and advanced technical skills. Previous experience with high-altitude, expedition-style climbing is essential. Be prepared to carry a 40-pound pack at altitude in addition to a supplemental oxygen tank. Experience with fixed lines, and steep snow and ice climbing are essential for a safe and enjoyable climb.

Here’s a suggested progression of climbs before attempting Cho Oyu.

  • Northwest Climb and/or course (Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Mount Shuksan)
  • Aconcagua
  • Denali

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I prepare to for a climb of Cho Oyu?

In addition to excellent physical fitness, Cho Oyu demands strong technical skill and significant experience on high-altitude international expeditions. You should be comfortable using crampons and ice axe in steep and exposed terrain, traveling on glaciers, climbing fixed lines, and camping in extreme conditions. Expeditions up major peaks such as Denali, Mount Vinson and Island Peak are important pre-requisites. For many people, an ascent of an 8,000-meter peak is the culmination of years of preparation. Fortunately, the road to the high Himalayas is filled with beauty and adventure. If you aspire to climb Cho Oyu, we would be happy to help you develop a training plan.

Who will guide my Cho Oyu expedition?

Aside from our expert American guides, we employ fully trained Sherpa guides with extensive experience on Cho Oyu and other 8,000-meter peaks, solid wilderness medical training and a firm commitment to providing the best possible client care. You will also be assisted by high altitude porters.

How much will my pack weigh on Cho Oyu?

During our approach trek, pack animals and porters will carry the majority of your gear, leaving you free to walk with a light daypack. While climbing, we are assisted by highly skilled high-altitude porters who will carry group equipment and a share of your personal gear.

What is included in a Cho Oyu expedition?

Our all-inclusive Cho Oyu trip fee covers all of the essential services and gear you need once you arrive in Nepal, including: land transportation from Lhasa or Kathmandu, hotels in Kathmandu, meals during the trek and climb, group climbing equipment, professional mountain guides and high altitude porters, basecamp staff, our fully equipped basecamp, oxygen systems, and more. The trip fee does not include international travel expenses, personal climbing gear, visa fees, airfare to Lhasa (if necessary), trip cancellation, medical and evacuation insurance, and some other individual expenses. Please carefully review our trip information for full details.

What can I expect in Cho Oyu Basecamp?

We proudly offer some of the best basecamp services available because we know that healthy, well-rested, well-fed climbers in basecamp become successful climbers on summit day. Each of our climbers sleep in individual tents in basecamp. We have hot showers, an insulated, heated dining tent with tables and chairs, and talented basecamp staff, including a professional chef who prepares delicious, healthful meals. Electric chargers are available for your devices. Satellite and wifi communication services are available for a fee.

Will I be able to contact friends and family while on the mountain?

Most cell phone providers will work in Tibet, check your provider for overseas rates before you leave. Cell phone and wifi service is not available at advanced basecamp and above. Thuraya satellite phone service and wifi is available at basecamp and above at higher camps ($100-$500 depending on usage).

Why Choose Mountain Gurus

Since 2008, we have offered world-class Seven Summits expeditions, high-altitude climbs, and specialized treks around the globe from the Himalayas to the Andes, and from the heights of Africa to the rainforests of the Amazon Basin. We make safety our foremost priority. We employ some of the most talented guides in the industry, and we maintain low client-to-guide ratios to ensure that you enjoy the best possible experience. Our business is rooted in environmental and social stewardship. We also offer a wide selection of mountaineering courses and climbs in the Pacific Northwest through our partner company, Northwest Alpine Guides. To learn more about our services, history and philosophy, please visit: Why Choose Mountain Gurus.


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