“We have canceled the Cho Oyu expedition because the weather will not be good for a long time,” Mingma Dorchi Sherpa, founder of Nepali expedition operator Pioneer Adventure, wrote to me today. His team is already back in Kathmandu.
Yesterday, Thursday, a summit attempt had been abandoned at Camp 3 at 7,200 meters. “We all feel like we are on winter expedition with this cold and wind,” Gelje Sherpa had described on Instagram the situation on the Nepali south side of the eight-thousander Cho Oyu. The wind had been “insane,” wrote the 29-year-old Nepalese. “We were in 70kph winds and we knew straight away this was not safe territory.”
Tibetan side closed
Gelje Sherpa, who calls himself “Mountain Tiger”, had hoped to complete his collection of the 14 eight-thousanders with a summit success on the 8,188-meter-high Cho Oyu. He led the team of the operator Seven Summit Treks, which had joined forces with that of Pioneer Adventure. The common goal: a new route up the sixth highest mountain on earth that would also be suitable for commercial teams.
The usual normal route via the Tibetan northwest side of Cho Oyu has been closed to foreign climbers since the beginning of the corona pandemic. The mountain has already been scaled more than 3,000 times via the first ascent route – achieved in 1954 by Herbert Tichy and Sepp Jöchler from Austria and Pasang Dawa Lama from Nepal – and only about 50 times via the technically more demanding Nepalese south side.
Last winter, two attempts to open a new route for commercial teams had failed. A group led by Gelje Sherpa had advanced from the village of Gokyo via the Southeast Ridge to about 7,900 meters. A team led by Mingma Dorchi on the side facing the village of Thame had ascended to about 7,700 meters. This route was also attempted now in the fall season.