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  SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn 2005: quick summary of Summit Climb’s third successful expedition to Cho Oyu this fall season in Tibet.


Summit Climb Cho Oyu 2005: Hi, This is Phil Crampton from SummitClimb.com writing to you:

We would like to give a quick summary of Summit Climb’s third successful expedition to Cho Oyu this fall season in Tibet.

We were a team of 21 members and 11 Tibetan staff from 11 different nations. This expedition we believe was the first western expedition to use all Tibetan staff on any 8000-meter mountain. The Tibetan climbers are all students and graduates of the China Tibet Mountaineering Guide School in Lhasa, which was established and financed in 1999 by the China Tibet Mountaineering Association and the Ozark Gear Company, and is under the directorship of Nima Tsering of the CTMA. We at Summit Climb have been supporting this fine school and have been using the students on our Tibet expeditions since 1999 enabling them to become professional climbing guides and base camp cooks, bringing much needed employment to Lhasa and Tibet.

Our members came from the Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, United States, Turkey, Sweden, Austria, Canada, Switzerland and Nepal. Our leaders were Arnold Coster from the Netherlands and Phil Crampton from the United States/United Kingdom and both were climbing on Cho Oyu for their second and fourth times respectively. Arnold successfully led the Summit Climb Cho Oyu expedition in 2004 where 9 of the 11 members summited and Phil was a leader with Summit Climb on Cho Oyu in 2000. The team was a very experienced one with several members having climbed on Everest, Pumori and Ama Dablam, most with Summit Climb in previous years.

Our climbers arrived in Nepal all in a few days of each other and we were all packed and ready to leave Kathmandu on the morning of September 6th. Most of the team was to travel overland and we had to arrange for two buses to take all the gear and us to the Nepal border town of Kodari. Arnold and the majority of the team loaded the buses of all our extra food and equipment in the early hours of the morning and started the drive towards the Friendship Highway and Tibet. Phil and Guntis Brands flew to Lhasa where extra sightseeing could be achieved visiting such places as the Potala Palace, Barkhor Square and The Jokhang. This also enabled Phil to attend to some last minute logistics and preparations with the Tibetan staff, as Phil and his wife Trish both teach at the mountaineering school. Phil teaches the students English and how to climb with westerners to become Tibetan Sherpas and Trish teaches western style cooking and food hygiene practices to the base camp cooks and kitchen boys. All off our team met in Tingri on September 9th where our climbing Sirdar, Tashi Tsering was introduced to the members. The following day we all drove to Old Chinese Base Camp, which lies at an elevation of 4,900 meters. Our remaining climbing and kitchen staff had arrived a few days earlier and established a great base camp which included two bathrooms (one just for the ladies on our team), a shower tent and a huge dining tent with the capacity to seat 33 people plus visiting guests. We spent two nights here relaxing and being pampered by our amazing kitchen staff. Our head cook Phubu Tsering has worked many expeditions for Summit Climb over the years and knows exactly what to cook to keep everyone happy. Pizzas, calzones, schnitzels, and fajitas are just a few dishes to name and our assistant cook, Sangjie who is also a regular on our expeditions always likes to impress the team with his fine baking skills and the wonderful desserts he knocks out night after night. We loaded the yaks, 100 in all and headed for intermediate base camp where we spent the evening for cautious acclimatization. The following day we arrived at advanced base camp at 5,600 meters and settled in to our camp that had been established for us by some of our staff that had gone ahead of the rest of the team some days earlier.

The climb itself started for the members on September 15th after everyone had a few days rest to aid their acclimatization. Our climbing staff had established camp one before we had even arrived at ABC. We placed 10 tents there to enable all our team to sleep there at the same time if needed. The members first took an acclimatization trek over the moraine and up the painful “scree slope” where they deposited their climbing gear needed higher up in camp one which is positioned on the saddle on the shoulder at the foot of the northwest ridge. Everyone felt great after the first sortie and this would continue for the rest of the expedition for all of the team. They all made a second climb to camp one some days later where the members slept and most of the team climbed half way up towards camp two at 7,000 meters to get familiar with the route. Phil climbed to camp two to check on the tents and the provisions stocked earlier by our Tibetan climbers and on returning to ABC informed the rest of the team things were good and we are ready for camp three to be  “taken care of” by our staff. We relaxed for a few days and then the team in three separate groups climbed to camp two to sleep to make sure everyone was in great condition with their acclimatization before returning to ABC ready for their summit pushes.

Our first summit team consisted of Tunc Findik from Turkey and Thierry Auberson and Francois Niering from Switzerland. Tunc has already summited Pumori, Everest and Broad Peak to name a few before this expedition and both Thierry and Francois are very experienced climbers with numerous ascents around the world. All three departed for the summit from camp two instead of using camp three on September 27th at 1.30 am. Unfortunately Francois was having problems with his stomach and turned around at about 7,100 meters returning to camp two but Tunc and Thierry continued on reaching the summit at 10.30 am. Both climbers descended to camp two to spend the evening and the following day went back to ABC where they celebrated with fresh ground coffee and red wine provided by our kitchen staff. The second summit group consisted of Mark Little and Douglas Cote from Colorado USA, Johan Frankelius from Sweden, Guntis Brands from Switzerland, Herve Coron from Paris France, Gernot Gessinger from Austria and Arnold Coster from the Netherlands. Mark has climbed Denali four times all by different routes, Johan has climbed on Ama Dablam and Everest and Herve has climbed Ama Dablam and Arnold having climbed on Manaslu, Everest and Cho Oyu, so this was a very experienced group. On leaving camp three in the early morning hours of September 28th, Mark, Douglas, Herve, Guntis, Johan along with our Tibetan climbers Tsering Dorje from Nyalam and Tumba and Pemba both from Tingri all summited, the first climber reaching the top at 9.00 am. Johan decided to return to ABC but the others decided to share their excitement with other team members climbing upwards and spend the night at camp two on their descent from the summit. Gernot, who is aged 65 years old, but looks and acts like a 45 year old decided to turn around at the 8000-meter mark. He was feeling fatigued and was not using supplementary oxygen and Arnold escorted him back to advanced base camp. On September 29th the third summit group consisted of Ben Stuckey and Ray Butler from Colorado USA and Edward Buckingham from Cornwall UK, who were accompanied by our Tibetan climbers Tashi Tsering from Shigatse, Aden from Shegar and Wangdu from Lhatze who have all climbed Everest at least once. Ray decided to turn around above the rock band and was escorted down by Aden, and Ben, Tashi and Edward all continued on to the summit. Edward received some frostbite to his feet during the descent and decided to rest in camp three after the summit with Ben continuing to camp two and Tashi to ABC. The fourth summit group consisted of Andrew Sloan from Horsham UK, Matthew Ward from Birmingham UK, Richard and Ulrica Lindskold from Sweden and Phil Crampton from New York USA who were accompanied by our Tibetan climber Lobchong from Tingri. All the climbers were very experienced Alps climbers except for Phil who has not had the pleasure or climbing in Europe but has climbed in Nepal and Tibet with several expeditions each to Shisha Pangma, Cho Oyu and Everest. On the morning of September 30th Matthew was not feeling too good with some lung infection and the husband and wife team of Richard and Ulrica Lindskold also decided this was not to be the day to make a summit push as both were feeling fatigued from the climb to camp three at 7,450 meters, so collectively they decided not to go for the summit. Andrew and Lobchong left for the summit at 12.30 am and reached the true summit of Cho Oyu at 8.30 am returning to camp three to meet the other members and all returning to ABC on the same evening. This was to be the first time our team was to be re-united in almost a week, and celebrations were abundant with the remaining supply of our dining tent house wine and beer being consumed quickly.

We would like to mention the members who also didn’t have the chance to make a summit attempt. Dominic Faulkner left the expedition early due to a chest infection. He is a very experienced climber who has climbed on Everest before and plans to return next year as the leader of a British expedition who plan to cycle from the Dead Sea to Everest, where they will (hopefully proceed to the summit completing the lowest to highest point on earth). We wish him all the luck in his and his team’s endeavors. JD Stewart from the USA is also a very accomplished climber with an ascent of Mustagh Ata in China. Even though he decided not to go for the summit he continued to be a team player and an inspiration to all of us, especially in the bars and clubs of Kathmandu after the expedition and we wish him well in his future climbing plans. Nick Williams is a true English gentleman in all aspects. He has only recently started climbing and already climbs and acts like an old timer and has many notable ascents ahead of him in the future.

We look forward towards our summit climb Cho Oyu expedition in 2006 and hopefully will have the success that we have had in our three previous expeditions to this great mountain. Hopefully you will be able to join us.

 Best Regards, Phil Crampton, SummitClimb.com

Updates

This is our team:

 

Arnold Coster, the Netherlands- Leader

Phil Crampton, UK -Expedition Manager

Thierry Auberson, Switzerland

Guntis Brands, Switzerland

Edward Buckingham, UK

Ray Butler, UK

Herve Coron, France

Doug Cote, USA

Dominic Faulkner, UK

Tunc Findik, Turkey

Johan Franlelius, Sweden

Gernot Gessinger, Austria

Richard Lindskold, Sweden

Ulrica Lindskold, Sweden

Mark Little, USA

Francois Niering, Switzerland

Maya Sherpa, Nepal

Andrew Sloan, UK

Jon David Stewart, USA

Ben Stuckey, USA

Matt Ward, UK

Nick Williams, UK

 

Introduction to Cho Oyu: 4 September to 10 October

Cho-Oyu has only recently become a popular mountain to climb.  It is now known to be one of the most accessible of the world’s fourteen 8,000 metre mountains.  This is because the ascent to the summit is short and direct, with a few small technical sections, less than 6 metres high, climbed in safety using fixed lines. Additionally, the mountain can be easily reached by four-wheel-drive vehicle, and the trail to Camp 1 at 6,400 metres, is basically a steep walk on talus slopes, often done in hiking boots.  This expedition to Cho-Oyu maximizes our previous successful ascents on the peak itself, plus many years of accumulated wisdom of the high Himalaya, a strong record of reaching 8,000 metre summits in all safety, along with an intimate knowledge of the Tibetan and Chinese officials who regulate the permit system.  We must also give credit to the highly experienced and hard-working leaders, sherpas and staff here at SummitClimb.com

Leader: Arnold Coster, an accomplished and friendly leader who has led successful expeditions to the summit of Cho Oyu and Everest. Arnold's last expedition placed 9 of 11 members and 4 Sherpas on the summit of Cho Oyu; Organizer: Jon Christian Otto, fluent Chinese speaker, Tibet and China Expert, with 10 years experience organizing Himalayan climbs.

Cho Oyu - the "Turquoise Goddess" in Tibetan - is located at the frontier of Tibet and Nepal. At a height of 8201 meters, it belongs to the Himalayan range, about 30 km west of Everest. It is the sixth highest mountain in the world and was first climbed on October 19th 1954 by the Austrian Herbert Tichy, with Sepp Jochler and Pasang Dava Lama.

"Finally, the peak is reached, the infinite hardships are ended. The last nine hours fighting with the mountain; the time in the death zone above 24,000 foot, the weeks of privations and hardships, even the risk of one's life - is this reward itself really? Yes, certainly! Not because of fame but inner satisfaction: To have found the mountain as friend and have been so near to the sky." Sepp Jochler.

 

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