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  Cho Oyo Team Makes Advanced Base Camp

11 September 2013

Greetings to you from Advanced Basecamp (ABC) at 5690 metres / 18,600 feet on Mount Cho Oyu, the 6th highest mountain in the world, located near Mount Everest. Together with 25 yaks and 7 Tibetan yak drivers, we walked up here yesterday, 10 September, from Gyepla at 5350 metres / 17,500 feet. There was a flurry of snow and mixed sunshine as we crossed the final checkpost and a few young uniformed guards scrutinized our passports from different directions, as Chinese pop music tinkled in the background. We strolled along a newly bulldozed road, crossing glacial moraines and boulder valleys trickling with streams, up over dusty hummocks, while we skirted high above the Gyebgrag Glacier with its parade of ice towers.

Eventually the road petered out and we hiked up a snaking ridge, rounding a corner, and suddenly the massive Nangpa La Glacier spread across the horizon, an enourmous smooth snowfield, previously crossed by so many yak caravans and famous fleeing people. A little further along the ridge and first views of the nylon tents of ABC appeared, and then we reached our own comfortable camp, with a spacious individual tent for each person, dining tent with carpet, heater, table and chairs, dvd movie player, kitchen tent, shower tent and toilet tents. This ABC will be our home for the next three weeks, as we attempt to ascend the 'Turquouise Goddess', which now looks a bit more like the 'Snow Goddess', as up to last week, they have had a heavy monsoon here with plenty of precipitation. Today, 11 September, after a big breakfast, we had a good gear review with everyone putting on their harnesses, ice-axes, boots, and crampons, in order to be doubly sure our equipment is right.

Tomorrow, 12 September, we plan to head out onto the glacier early, fix ropes with ice screws and snow pickets and set up a ropes practice course near to basecamp, so we can all train and refresh our climbing skills for what lies ahead.
 

Cho Oyu in evening light with cloud. Matti Sunell Photo

Cho Oyu in evening light with cloud. Matti Sunell Photo.

 

 

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