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Please click here to view the Cho Oyu Gallery

The name Cho Oyu means ‘Torqouise Goddess’ in Tibetan, and the mountain is the sixth highest in the world at 8,201m. It sits on the Tibetan/Nepalese border about 25 miles to the west of Everest. Cho Oyu was first attempted in 1952 by an expedition led by Eric Shipton, it is reported that technical difficulties at an ice cliff above 6,650m (21,820ft) proved beyond their abilities. Cho Oyu was first climbed on October 19, 1954 via the northwest ridge by Herbert Tichy, Joseph Jöchler and Sherpa Pasang Dawa Lama of an Austrian expedition. The expedition was a remarkable for its time, being a super lightweight expedition without supplementary oxygen on an unclimbed 8000m peak. Cho Oyu was the fifth of the fourteen 8000 metre peaks to be climbed, after Annapurna in June 1950, Mount Everest in May 1953, Nanga Parbat in July 1953 and K2 in July 1954. It is now seen as one of the more straightforward of the 8000m peaks and is often used as a ‘warm up’ for Everest.


The Caudwell Xtreme Everest team left the UK in late August travelling via Kathmandu, Nepal and Lhasa, Tibet. The superbly organised ground arrangements were by Jagged Globe (UK) and Kit Spencer of the Summit Hotel in Kathmandu.

We spent four weeks acclimatising to the altitude and whilst doing so we also undertook a number of medical research projects. In particular we studied the changes to the blood supply to the brain, heart and lungs that occur at extreme altitude with exercise. The research was aimed at improving patient care in intensive care units and preventing strokes, and was the preliminary to the 2007 Caudwell Xtreme Everest expedition.

At one point the chances of climbing the mountain seemed remote as a snow storm pinned us in our tents at Advanced Base Camp (5,700m) for five days. The weather cleared just in time for one last attempt on the mountain before the arrival of the jet steam winds (150mph) and winter. We moved up and spent one night at Camp 1 at 6,400m. The following day in high winds and very low temperatures we climbed the ice cliffs on fixed ropes up to Camp 2 (7,100m).

The Xtreme Team set off from Camp 3 (7,600m) at midnight aiming for the summit of the world’s sixth highest mountain climbing at night. Again we used fixed ropes to climb through the Yellow Band Cliffs. Dawn was breaking as the vast summit plateau was approached. After what seemed like forever we were finally able to see Everest meaning that we had no further to climb. At 6.45am on Monday October 2nd 2006, 9 team members and 6 sherpas summitted Cho Oyu via the Northwest Ridge. The team members were Mike Grocott, Hugh Montgomery, Dan Martin, Sundeep Dhillon, Paul Gunning, Patrick Doyle, Chris Imray, Jon Morgan, and Maryam Khosravi. The Sherpas were Sherpa Pema Chiring, Sherpa Nima Gombu, Sherpa Pasang Tenzing, Sherpa Dawa Tenjin, Sherpa Phura Geljen, and Sherpa Thundu.

We reached the summit just after dawn, having climbed through the night using supplementary oxygen for the final part of the ascent. Conditions were very tough on the top and one of the climbers developed frostbite of his big toe despite wearing state of the art high altitude boots rated to -60C! The team erected a tent on the summit and undertook arterial blood gas sampling from groin arteries as part of the preparations for our medical research expedition to Everest in the spring of 2007.

Further information and photos can be found at:

There are more photos of the 2006 Xtreme Cho Oyu Expedition in the Cho Oyu (8210m) Gallery and on the CASE website

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