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Cho Oyu: 6th Highest Mountain in the World

Fast Facts About Cho Oyu


Cho Oyu: 6th Highest Mountain in the World

Cho Oyu, the world's sixth highest mountain, is the easiest 8,000-meter peak to climb.

Photograph © Getty Images
Elevation: 26,906 feet (8,201 meters)
Location: Nepal, Asia
Coordinates: 28°06′00″ N 86°39′00″ E
First Ascent: Joseph Joechler, Herbert Tichy (Italy), Pasang Dawa Lama (Nepal), October 19, 1954

Fast Facts:

  • Cho Oyu (pronounced “choy-Oh-you”) is Tibetan for “Turquoise God,” cho god yu turquoise.
  • It is 30 miles west of Mount Everest on the Tibet/China and Nepal border.
  • Cho Oyu was the fifth 8,000-meter peak climbed.
  • West of Cho Oyo is Nangpa La, a major pass and trade route between Nepal and Tibet. Yak caravans often carry black market goods over it. In 2006 Chinese soldiers shot Tibetan refugees here to world outrage.
  • First ascent in 1954 by an illegal Austrian expedition that crossed over Nangpa La to access it. First ascent climbers were Herbert Tichy, Joseph Jöchler and Sherpa Pasang Dawa Lama.
  • Cho Oyu is the easiest 8,000-meter peak to climb, via its Northwest Ridge, with no technical climbing, big snowfields, and little objective danger. It is easily accessed by 4-wheel-drive vehicle, often guided, and is the first 8,000-meter peak for most climbers.
  • Most of the climbing is on ice and snow slopes up to 50 degrees with a few very short sections of steeper rock and ice. The highest technical section is 25 feet high and safely climbed with fixed ropes.
  • Now popular with skiers and snowboarders.
  • An ascent takes 6 weeks round-trip from Kathmandu.
  • It’s often crowded and has over 1,200 ascents.
  • On October 2, 2006, Slovenian Pavle Kozjek speed-climbed a new route on the Southwest Face in a single solo ascent from advanced base camp. The crux was a vertical icefall, which was bypassed with 5.6 rock climbing. He reached the summit in 14 hours.
  • The first American ski descent of an 8,000-meter peak was on October 1, 2002, when Montana ski mountaineer Kristoffer Erickson reached the summit of Cho Oyu and then skied down.
  • As of 2009, 43 climbers have died on Cho Oyu.

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