Dispatches after introduction
Guide: Phil Crampton
Team Members: Brad Crawford, Ziggy Skirucha
First summitted in 1954 by a small Austrian/Tibetan expedition, Cho Oyu is
technically easier than most other “8000ers,” making it a great first
8000-meter peak for climbers with previous high altitude climbing
experience. The expedition begins in Kathmandu where we meet at our Nepal
office to get our paperwork together, organize our gear, and enjoy the
local customs & culture of Kathmandu. We then fly to Lhasa, the ancient
capital city of Tibet, and once home to the 14th Dalai Lama who fled to
India in 1959 due to the Chinese Invasion. We take a spectacular route
from Lhasa to the village of Tingri, our final rugged and rural village
before Cho Oyu base camp, touring Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and palaces
along the way. We spend two nights at base camp before we hire yaks to
transport our expedition supplies to advanced base camp (ABC). On this two
day journey we cross rivers, and hike over rocky moraine before we arrive
at ABC for four weeks. We climb Cho Oyu via the West Ridge/West Face,
which has two short technical sections. Advanced Base Camp (ABC) will be
established at 5800 meters (19,024 feet), Camp 1 at 6500 meters, Camp II
at 7100 meters (23,288 feet), and Camp III at 7400 meters (24,272 feet).
We will take an alternative overland route back to Kathmandu via Zhangmu.
August 26 – August 28: Arrive in Kathmandu – Travel from your homeport to
Kathmandu. All flights cross the date line and consequently a day is lost.
August 29: Kathmandu – We finalize last minute paperwork with the Nepal
and Tibet governments.
August 30: Lhasa – We fly to Lhasa and the fascinating world of Tibet. We
transfer to our hotel downtown. Elevation at Lhasa is over 12,000 feet.
August 31 – September 1: Acclimatizing and Sightseeing in Lhasa – We have
an opportunity to visit the popular and awe inspiring Potala Palace,
Lhasa’s most renowned landmark.
September 2: Drive to Shigatse and visit the Tashilhunpo Monastery – We
travel by 4x4 Land Crusiers across the Tibetan plateau. We arrive in
Shigatse, the second largest city of Tibet, in the afternoon.
September 3: Drive to New Tringri – Today will be a long travel day. Lunch
stop will be in the town of Lhatse at 4000 meters.
September 4 – 6: Cho Oyu Base Camp – We drive through the scenic
countryside to base camp. The next morning we will take an acclimatization
hike to 18,000 feet.
September 7 – 8: Trek to Advance Base Camp – After breakfast we will
depart on our two-day journey to Cho Oyu ABC. We will forge through the
ice cold Ra Chhu River and set up intermediate camp. The following morning
we trek to ABC and camp next to the Nangpa La. Camp will be at 5800
September 9 – October 4: Cho Oyu Climb – Our strategy is to place 3 or 4
higher camps above our ABC to enable us to be in a good position for our
October 5: Depart Cho Oyu Base Camp – Our yaks will arrive in the morning.
We trek down to base camp and arrive late in the day.
October 6: Drive to Zhangmu – In the morning we will have a quick clean-up
of the base camp area before the trucks pick us up there.
October 7: Drive to Kathmandu – After checking through with the Chinese
border patrol and customs, we drive through the lush country of Nepal.
October 8: Extra Day in Kathmandu
October 9: Fly Home
Cho Oyu Dispatch #4, 9-9-07
A lama told us it was best to hold our puja ceremony on the 9th, so this
somewhat changed our plans as scheduled. On the 8th, Brad, Ziggy and myself
made a carry to Camp 1 at 6400 meters. The previous day our Sherpas were only
able to erect one Mountain Hardwear tent due to strong winds. Upon arrival I
set up the other tent myself. We held our puja ceremony on the 9th per the
lama’s instructions. Tomorrow we will climb to Camp 1 after lunch. We will
spend two nights there before climbing to Camp 2 at 7000 meters. We will then
spend one night at Camp 2 before returning to ABC. Our Sherpas will climb
directly to Camp 2 from ABC to establish camp and return directly to ABC in
one day. Obviously all of these plans are contingent on favorable weather
Cho Oyu Dispatch #3, 9-7-07
Brad and Ziggy arrived at basecamp as planned on the 3rd and we spent two
nights there before loading the yaks and trekking to, and spending the night
at an intermediate basecamp. We arrived at Advanced Base Camp the following
day where our friends from the two Chinese expeditions had instructed their
Tibetan sherpas to reserve us the same camp site as I had last year.
Tibetan Sherpas from several expeditions came and assisted our small team in
erecting our kitchen, dining and sleeping tents and we are now located right
in the middle of the large Chinese camp. More climbers will be arriving in the
next few days and ABC will start to resemble a small tented village.
Our Tibetan sherpas, Thumba and Gonga, have already established Camp 1 and
erected our bombproof Mountain Hardwear tents. Tomorrow we will hold our Puja
ceremony and the following day, Brad, Ziggy and myself will begin to carry
some personal things to camp 1.
- Phil Crampton
Cho Oyu Dispatch #2, 9-2-07
Baduram, our Nepalese cook, and myself met with our Tibetan Sherpas, Thumba
and Gonga, and their kitchen assistants Sangjie and Tingli as planned on the
31st. The Tibetans and I have worked many Cho Oyu expeditions together in the
past and these guys are all graduates of the Tibetan Mountaineering Guide
School in Lhasa.
This will be Thumba's and Sangjie's fifth, Gonga's fourth, and my seventh
expedition to the Turquoise God. We arrived at base camp the following day and
quickly got to the task of establishing camp for the arrival of Brad and Ziggy
on the 3rd. We hear that one of the earlier teams have now established camp 1
at 6400 meters and that the sherpas have already fixed ropes on the most
technical sections of the entire climb, the ice wall at 6700 meters. If the
weather stays good as it has been, Camp 2 should be established any day now.
Hopefully Brad and Ziggy have enjoyed their tour of Lhasa and Shigatse and we
will let them report on their findings in the next dispatch. -Phil Crampton
Cho Oyu Dispatch #1, 8-29-07
The annual Mountain Madness Cho Oyu expedition has started with the arrival of
Brad Crawford and Ziggy Skirucha in Kathmandu. The jet lagged pair did well to
stay awake for the group dinner before retiring for the evening to the luxury
of the Yak and Yeti hotel. A full-day guided tour of Kathmandu is now being
followed by a scenic flight over Mount Everest to Lhasa where the pair will
spend two days touring Potala Palace, the Jokhang, and other sites before
driving toward base camp.
I travelled with our cooks over land and we plan to meet our Tibetan sherpas
and the kitchen assistants in Tingri in a few days. The whole group should be
together in base camp on the 3rd and where we will start to get ready to head
up the yak trail to Advanced Base Camp. We will report more as things happen.
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