Cho Oyu

Cho Oyu (8201m)

The sixth highest mountain in the world 

Latitude: 28° 05’ 37” N, Longitude: 86° 39’ 43” E

Unlike other attempts, the successful expedition to Cho Oyu had its origins in very simple circumstances. Austrian climber, Herbert Tichy along with sherpas Adjiba and Pasang were gathered around a campfire on a mountain and enjoying fried liver, when Pasang suddenly asked, “Next year, Cho Oyu?” Tichy could only nod and repeat, “Cho Oyu”. Thus it was decided that the mountain would be attempted in 1954. In the previous years, Everest, Nanga Parbat and Annapurna among the other eight-thousanders. had been climbed. Cho Oyu lies 20 km west of Everest, at the border between China and Nepal. In Tibetan, Cho Oyu means “Turquoise Goddess”. The first attempt on this mountain was made by an expedition supported by the Joint Himalayan Committee of Great Britain.

As preparation for an attempt on Mount Everest the following year. With Eric Shipton as team leader, the expediton also included Edmund Hillary, George Lowe, Charles Evans and Tom Bourdilon, but technical difficulties at an ice cliff above 6,650m forced them to give up the climb. It was estimated that it would take two weeks to get everyone across and it would also mean entering Tibetan territory which it is believed Shipton was unwilling to do. It was Dyhrenfurth and Shipton who first came up with measurements that put Cho Oyu sixth on the list of the highest mountains in the world. The Austrian expedition led by Herbert Tichy arrived in Birgunj in 1954 via India and flew into Kathmandu by means of an Indian airliner of the time. Once they were packed and ready, they moved to Bhaktapur from where the long trek to the mountain would begin. Tenzing and Hillary had also begun their trek to Everest from this old city. As every expedition has its peculiarities, this one was no exception. There were only three foreign climbers and eleven sherpas on the team. Cho Oyu was finally climbed on 19th October 1954 via the northwest ridge by Tichy, Joseph Jöchler and Pasang Dawa Lama. Where as Shipton and team had been stopped by an ice cliff high on the mountain, the Austrians were able to tackle the problem in an hour and head up towards the summit. Pasang’s casual remark had led to a successful expedition. This was the fifth eight-thousander to have been climbed. Cho Oyu is considered the easiest to climb among the eight-thousanders and is also one of the most popular. The first Nepali national to climb the peak was Ang Phuri Sherpa on 29th April 1987. 


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