Cho Oyu Climb and Tibetan Cultural Trek

Difficulty Levels: Climb - Intermediate to Advanced; Trek - Beginner to Advanced

Cho Oyu is an iconic mountain and the world’s 6th tallest peak. Standing on the Chinese – Nepalese border, it towers above the high Tibetan plains to the North and the lush green pastures of Nepal to the South, just 30km west of Mount Everest.

While Cho Oyu is a goal in her own right, if you have any ambition to climb Mt. Everest, or further 8,000m peaks, this expedition is the perfect place to ready yourself and see how your body responds to extreme altitude.

Cho Oyu Expedition and Tibetan Cultural Trek Highlights:
  • Tour the Potala Palace and Johkang Temple in Lhasa
  • Visit the famous Tashilumpo Monastery in Shigatse
  • See Mt. Everest and Cho Oyu as they dominate the skyline to the south
  • Experience Tibetan culture
  • Watch the sunrise over Mt. Everest from the summit of Cho Oyu, hands down the best view of Everest

Climbing Cho Oyu, is one of the world’s great adventures and trekking through the exotic landscape of Tibet is like going back in time. On this expedition we have the pleasure of experiencing Nepali, Tibetan and Chinese cultures en route to the summit. Tibet is one of the most exotic and photogenic regions on the planet and Cho Oyu is a breathtaking and challenging climb and an excellent stepping stone to an Everest summit.

Despite its massive height of 8,201m it is the most accessible of the fourteen 8,000m peaks and one of the safest climbs at such extreme altitude offering less objective hazard and a drier climate than Manaslu or Shishapangma.

Our Cho Oyu expeditions and Tibetan treks all begin in Kathmandu where we obtain our climbing permits and have a free day to check out the city before we fly to Lhasa to start our voyage to base camp. This breath-taking flight is a beautiful way to start the trip. From the moment you land in Lhasa you will be at altitude. From here we make our way across Tibet via Shigatse and Tingri staying at some of the finest hotels in the region before heading to Base Camp.

Hygiene is incredibly important to us and we take many precautions to make sure our teams avoid getting sick at all costs. Despite this, illness can be a fact of life in Tibet so chances are people will at least experience a stomach rumbling at some point during the expedition. Stay focused on sanitation to minimize illness. Be careful eating undercooked foods and always have a bottle of hand sanitizer with you that you use religiously after going to the toilet and shaking hands. Drink bottled or boiled water where you can.

Once at base camp we get settled in and use a slow, methodical acclimatization strategy to position ourselves for the summit bid. Our base camp is first rate. We spare little expense making you feel as comfortable as possible.

Please note that Cho Oyu is a potentially dangerous mountain and climbing at 8,000 meters is very serious and meant for climbers with prior experience at altitude and sound climbing skills.Even while trekking in Tibet you are at altitude that average the summits of the tallest peaks in the continental US. Guides and Sherpa staff will work with you throughout the expedition to provide logistics, guidance, and information to best ensure your summit success.

Welcome to “Climbing the Seven Summits” Cho Oyu Expeditions and Tibetan Cultural Trek

Tibet is one of the most exotic and unknown cultures in the world and has been the setting for legendary climbs since the days of George Mallory. We look forward to leading you on the mighty Cho Oyu and showing you the many incredible sights and sounds of Tibet.

Cho Oyu is a personal favorite of mine. As you crest the summit you are greeted with one of the most exclusive and unique views in the world, a full length vista of Mt. Everest in all her glory, an outlook that can only be seen when standing atop a mighty Himalayan peer. In fact, setting sight on that view is how you know you’ve reached the top of the mountain. I love it so much that I have an enormous photograph of it framed in the entrance way to my home to remind me to answer the call of the mountains and I invite you to do the same.

I find myself returning to Cho Oyu year after year, in fact I‘ve been back so many times I’m proud to have the most summits for a non Sherpa. Why? Partly because of Cho Oyu’s beauty in the heart of the Himalaya and partly because I love seeing my clients enter the new realm of climbing 8,000m peaks.

However, climbing at 8,000m and above is extremely serious and not to be undertaken lightly. I along with all of the CTSS guides and team are committed to your safety and success. Benefiting from countless Himalayan expeditions and drawing on decades of first-hand guiding experience, we have worked hard to refine our logistics in order to offer you the highest chance of success at an exceptional value. In fact, I personally lead all of our Cho Oyu expeditions and am pleased to say that well over 110 summits have been notched on Cho Oyu under my direct guidance.

I also extend the invitation to Cho Oyu climbers to ask their friends and family to join them on this exotic journey by jumping on our Tibetan Cultural Trek. You will be able to share many cultural experiences together as well as time at base camp and advanced base camp. This time together often makes these long expeditions more “do-able” from a time-away perspective.

We look forward to sharing a great experience with you in Tibet, and I look forward to communicating with you directly regarding the expedition options.

Best regards,
Mike Hamill
Owner and Director, Climbing the Seven Summits

Expedition Options (Climbs, Trek, Schedule and Prices)

At CTSS we offer a variety of different Cho Oyu expedition options along with our cultural trek.
Our treks join the climbing team as we make our way through Tibet visiting the most iconic and recognizable religious sights in the region. Our variety of climbing options include: Group guided climb, CTSS Speed Ascent, Personal Sherpa/extra oxygen option, Private western guide, and private western guide with extra oxygen and personal Sherpa. These cover varying styles of ascent and allow you to customize your climb to suit your ability and your budget. They also vary slightly in length and on mountain accommodations. (All Prices are in US Dollars.)

Cho Oyu Guided Climb

August 26 – October 10, 2018 (41 days), $25,950 usd

This expedition will provide logistics, food, support, oxygen, and guidance for a summit attempt on Cho Oyu, the world’s 6th tallest mountain. We begin our trek by meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal, obtaining our Chinese visas, then flying to Lhasa, Tibet to tour Lhasa and Shigatse, the two largest cities in Tibet and main cultural centers, en route to Cho Oyu base camp. We plan to visit the holiest and most recognizable sights in Tibet including the magnificent Potala Palace, Johkang Temple, and Tashi Lumpo Monastery, among others. We will then climb the mountain and return to Nepal by driving via Kriyong pass.

Tibetan Cultural Trek

August 26 – September 14, 2018 (20 days), $6,695 usd

This trek is very special because it joins our climbing team attempting the world’s 6th largest mountain, Cho Oyu. Beyond being treated to the most incredible sights and sounds that Tibet has to offer you will get to see what a real climbing team goes through and how they approach their climb, giving you access to the heart of the Himalayas via Cho Oyu Advanced Base Camp with an option to hike above ABC for a day before departing for Kathmandu.

We begin our trek by meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal, obtaining our Chinese visas, then flying to Lhasa, Tibet to tour Lhasa and Shigatse, the two largest cities in Tibet and main cultural centers, en route to Cho Oyu base camp. We plan to visit the holiest and most recognizable sights in Tibet including the magnificent Potala Palace, Johkang Temple, and Tashi Lumpo Monastery, among others. We will then trek in to Cho Oyu advanced base camp with the climbing team to get a feel for the mighty Himalayas from their very center. We will spend several days acclimatizing at Advanced Base Camp before having the option to make an attempt to Camp 1, climbing to 21,500ft/6,500m. Here you will be higher than almost anyone else on the planet! We then pack up and drive back to Kathmandu via the shorter Kriyong pass and some bumpy Nepali roads.

Cho Oyu Speed Ascent

September, 10 – October, 10, 2018 (30 days), $29,950 usd

CTSS prides itself at being on the cutting edge of new approaches to climbing mountains that improve safety, success, and efficiency. Mike Hamill has worked with clients for years using portable altitude chambers to pre-accustom their bodies to the rarefied air found at altitude, and with great success. Through the Speed Ascents Program, we work with you to use special designed altitude chambers in the comfort of your own bed so you can spend more time at home with your loved ones and less time away on expedition. Also, mitigating the amount of time spent in harms-way in the mountains and at extreme altitudes can improve safety.

We feel that these altitude chambers are not a substitute for acclimating properly in the mountains but have found that they can be an incredibly valuable tool to facilitate acclimatization and mitigate the amount of time in the mountains. Do you have serious time constraints and need to spend more time focusing on work, productivity, and family at home rather than tediously acclimatizing on the mountain?

CTSS offers select climbers our “Speed Ascent” option which employs state-of-the-art technology to allow you to summit in less time. We use a time-tested training program in conjunction with the use of a portable hypoxic altitude chamber to pre-acclimate your body to the rarefied air found on Cho Oyu. This option is perfect for those who want to minimize time away from home while still stacking the odds in their favor for summit success.

Due to the customization of this program and separate visa and logistics, this option is more expensive than our regular group expeditions. The Speed Ascent climb starts roughly two weeks later then our regular expedition and joins the team for the summit bid.

If you think this option may be right for you please contact us directly and we will work with you on a personalized plan to allow our “Speed Ascent Program” to maximize results for you.

Cho Oyu Climb with a Private Western Guide

1:1 Guide Ratio; Please contact us for dates and prices

Having your own private guide climbing with you while above Advanced Base Camp can be an indispensable advantage! This is our “Cadillac” signature program and is a great way to stack the odds of success in your favor, especially when combined with a personal Sherpa and extra oxygen. While a personal Sherpa can give you many advantages for load carrying and helping with food preparation, a personal guide can coach you throughout the expedition, give you valuable feedback, be available if there are any medical issues, and make your climbing experience more enjoyable overall.

Although summits are obviously never guaranteed, this is the best way to stack the odds in your favor, especially combined with a personal Sherpa and extra oxygen.

Cho Oyu Climb with a Private Western Guide, Personal Sherpa and Extra Oxygen

1:1 Guide Ratio; Please contact us for dates and prices

This is the ultimate in setting yourself up for success on Cho Oyu. Not only will you have a private western guide coaching you the entire climb above base camp, but you will benefit from extra oxygen starting from Camp 2 and a personal Sherpa to support helping you carry more of your personal gear and preparing food.

If you want to stack the odds in your favor, this is it!

All prices are in US Dollars.

CTSS requires clients to buy trip insurance for all expeditions. Please see our page on trip insurance and cancellation policy for more information.

All payments once submitted are non-refundable and non-transferable. If balances are not received by specified dates, the client forfeits their place on the program and any prior fees paid.

  • Cho Oyu is the 6th tallest mountain in the World.
  • The average height of the Tibetan plateau is roughly 14,000ft.
  • Cho Oyu lies on the border between China and Nepal. The “Normal Route” ascends the Northern side of the mountain.
  • The two largest cities in Tibet are Lhasa and Shigatse.
  • Cho Oyu is the best training climb for anyone considering an attempt Mt. Everest. It is one of the safest, and least technical 8,000m peaks despite it’s massive height, making it a great way to determine how your body does at extreme altitude. It’s also a great place to get used to the oxygen system, and climbing with our Sherpa team. It is less hazardous then Manaslu or Shishapangma.

Climbing Cho Oyu requires serious fitness, an ability to perform well at altitude, the mindset to be away from home for 6 weeks, and a desire for rugged adventure travel. Out Tibetan Cultural Trek also requires solid fitness but participants can choose to do as much or as little of the trekking as they like. Tibet is still a very remote and rugged place with few of the creature comforts we have come to expect in the west so don’t plan on being pampered with smooth roads, 5 star hotels, and blazing fast internet. We try to give our climbers all of the creature comforts that we can but at the end of the day this is Tibet, and true adventure travel!

Climbers need solid cramponing skill and familiarity with glacier climbing and fixed line climbing. Trekkers need to be fit and able to carry a pack of around 10 pounds for 4-5 hours. If you want to join this expedition but don’t have these skills, we can work with you to get you up to speed prior to the climbs. Please let us know how we can help!

Cho Oyu is a special peak that offers pleasant climbing, milder terrain, more accessibility and less objective hazard than the other 8,000m peaks. However it is important to emphasize that it is a serious undertaking and requires preparation. Your climb begins long before you reach the mountain. We encourage you to incorporate training into your daily routine at least 6-9 months in advance of your Himalayan climb. As your climb rolls around you want to be in top physical and mental condition.

While a mighty climb and a spectacular goal, Cho Oyu also offers the perfect training ground to prepare for even bigger peaks like Everest. On Cho Oyu you will become accustomed to the feel and function of oxygen systems, gain experience ascending fixed lines in severe temperatures and even sleeping and eating at extreme altitudes. All of these skills take time to integrate and become second nature but by the end of this expedition you will be set you up for on going success.

We approach the mountain from the North West Route and employ a slow acclimitization schedule into our schedule. Many expeditions rush this process and suffer the consequences during the summit bid because of it. This is not our strategy. We employ the “carry high, sleep low”, principle of high altitude mountaineering by carrying up to our next camp and then returning to a lower altitude to sleep before moving to the higher camp the following day. From base camp we will make three forays up the mountain to successively higher altitudes to prepare for the summit bid, with plenty of time to rest back at base camp in between.

Our base camp is first rate. We spare little expense making you feel as comfortable as possible. Our top notch cooks make you the healthiest food possible with strong hygiene standards. Each of our climbers has their own tent at base camp where they can feel at home when not socializing in the group dining and hangout tents. We have a state-of-the-art communications tent and make internet available to our guests. We receive up-to-date weather reports and have satellite phones for group use.

In between acclimatization rotations up the mountain we spend time strategizing our weather windows, skills training and troubleshooting to make sure you’re fully prepared for the climb ahead. We find much of the stress of a summit bid can be alleviated by early preparation.

Tentative Itinerary: (Day 1 is the day the team meets in KTM) This itinerary is only a rough estimate and will be determined by weather and acclimatization. All climbers need to be adaptable and roll with the schedule if it changes for the benefit of the team. This is adventure travel at it’s best and things never go exactly according to plan! We recommend climbers arriving to town one day early to avoid travel delays or issues with lost baggage. Added expenses of this extra day (hotels, food, sightseeing, etc) are the clients responsibility. Please let us know if we need to organize logistics for your early arrival or a single rooming option.

Cho Oyu Climb Itinerary (41 days):

  1. Arrive KTM
  2. Obtain Chinese Visas/Free Day/Team dinner
  3. Fly to Lhasa
  4. Tour Potala Palace and Jhokang Temple
  5. Drive to Shigatse
  6. Morning Hike/Afternoon tour Tshilumpo Monastery
  7. Drive to Tingri
  8. Acclimatization hike in Tingri
  9. Drive to Base Camp
  10. Acclimatization day
  11. Acclimatization Day
  12. Trek to Interim Camp
  13. Trek to Advanced base camp
  14. Rest
  15. Puja/Acclimatization hike
  16. Rest
  17. Climb to C1 and spend the night
  18. Descend to ABC
  19. Rest
  20. Rest
  21. Climb to C1
  22. Climb to C2
  23. Descend to C1
  24. Descend to ABC
  25. Rest
  26. Rest
  27. Rest
  28. Climb to C1
  29. Climb to C2
  30. Climb to C3
  31. Summit, descend to C1 or C2
  32. Descend to ABC
  33. Pack
  34. Descend to Tingri
  35. Drive to Kiryong
  36. Drive to Kathmandu
  37. contingency summit day
  38. contingency summit day
  39. contingency summit day
  40. contingency summit day
  41. Fly from Kathmandu

Tibetan Cultural Trek (20 days):

  1. Arrive KTM
  2. Obtain Chinese Visas/Free Day/Team dinner
  3. Fly to Lhasa
  4. Tour Potala Palace and Jhokang Temple
  5. Drive to Shigatse
  6. Morning Hike/Afternoon tour Tshilumpo Monastery
  7. Drive to Tingri
  8. Acclimatization hike in Tingri
  9. Drive to Base Camp
  10. Acclimatization day
  11. Acclimatization Day
  12. Trek to Interim Camp
  13. Trek to Advanced base camp
  14. Rest
  15. Puja/Acclimatization hike
  16. Rest

Days separated from climbing team:

  • Trek to base camp and drive to Tingri
  • Drive to Kriyong
  • Drive to Kathmandu
  • Fly Home

Travel Gear:

  • Travel Wallet: It should sling over your shoulder and lay discreetly next to your body
  • Passport, cash and travel documents. Make sure to have a print out of all travel documents, pen, plenty of csh for the trip, and your passport handy.
  • Day pack: Light weight 30 liter pack doubles as a carry on and a trekking pack
  • 2 Duffel Bags Climbers/1 Duffel Bag Trekkers
  • Heavy PVC duffel bags hold up to abuse and pack well on yaks and in jeeps.
  • Locks for Duffel bags. It is best to not tempt anyone into going through your gear so one lock per duffel is smart. TSA-type locks that customs officials can access and re-lock are handy as are zipties that can be cut off and put back on easily.
  • Passport photos (5). You will need at least 2 or 3 for your Visas and it’s always good to have a few extra.
  • Casual Travel Clothes. Several days will be spent in transit, in Kathmandu, driving to base camp and at base camp so it is nice to have some casual clothes to travel in.
  • Hotel vouchers if laying over. If you have extended layovers make sure to pre-book a hotel and print out the voucher. Our travel agent can help you with this.
  • A printout of your travel itinerary, all CTSS emails, etc.
  • Cash
  • Pen

Feet:

  • Sneakers. Light weight sneakers for travel and at base camp
  • 2 pairs light socks. For use with sneakers.
  • Medium weight trekking boots. Comfortable boots with plenty of ankle support and warmth to ascend to C1 at 21,000ft/6,500m.
  • 2 pairs medium weight socks. Synthetic or wool socks to use with medium weight boots
  • Medium weight gaiters. These are to be used with the medium weight trekking boots on the treks en route to base camp, trekking to ABC, and ascending to C1. They don’t need to be too big or too warm.
  • Foot warmers (optional). Some people use foot warmers and others don’t. If you get cold feet then you should consider them, although they don’t seem to burn very warm at 8,000m due to the lack of oxygen needed for the chemical reaction to take place.
  • Foot powder (optional). Foot power keeps feet dry and warm and can really help on summit day.
  • Down booties. These are great for walking around base camp and at the upper camps. Try to find something light weight with a sole.

Lower Body:

  • 2 pairs of synthetic under layers: 1 light and 1 medium. One lighter pair for down low and one medium for up high. They will be worn underneath climbing pants so make sure the climbing pants will fit over them.
  • 3 pairs of synthetic underwear, 3 pairs cotton underwear. A few pairs of each for travel and on the mountain.
  • 2 pairs of synthetic climbing pants: 1 light and 1 medium weight. The lighter pair will be worn trekking en route to ABC and the heavier pair above ABC. They need to fit over the synthetic under layers. Scholler type pants or quick drying zip-off pants are both great options.
  • 1 pair of insulated pants. These will be warn at base camp and ABC and can be used at the lower camps.
  • Casual jeans for travel and base camp
  • 1 pair of shell pants (water proof). These must be full zipper and should be light weight. They need to fit over your synthetic under layer and climbing pant combination to layer for warmth up to C1. They must be waterproof and breathable.

Upper body:

  • Casual shirts for travel and base camp
  • 2 synthetic under layers: 1 light, 1 medium. These must fit underneath your mid weight layers. The light one will be for lower on the mountain and the medium weight for up higher.
  • 2 medium weight layers: 1 synthetic pile jacket, 1 down or synthetic vest. These two layers must be able to be worn in unison over the synthetic under layer and underneath the Shell jacket and down jacket. They should be light and one should have a hood.
  • 1 shell jacket. This need to fit over your medium weight pile layers and be light weight, waterproof and breathable.
  • 1 heavy down jacket. This is to be worn at base camp, ABC and possible the lower mountain camps. It must be able to layer over your other layers and have a hood. It doesn’t need to be an 8,000m parka but should be the step just below.

Head and Hands:

  • 2 buff neck gaiters. These can be worn on the dusty drive to base camp to avoid sickness and on the mountain to warm and humidify the air.
  • 2 heavy weight winter hats
  • 1 baseball hat
  • 1sun hat. A sun hat that protects the neck is a great addition to your gear for trekking and on the mountain.
  • 1 pair light weight fleece gloves. These may be used on their own or underneath the warmer glove and mitten layers
  • 1 medium weight fleece glove. These will be used on their own lower on the mountain
  • 1 heavy weight pair of climbing gloves. These can be used on their own or with a lighter pair of fleece liners higher on the mountain when climbing in cold weather. They are required gear and should be warm enough to climb to the summit in. Gloves have more dexterity than mittens for manipulating gear so they should be warn as much as possible as long as your hands are warm.
  • Hand warmers (optional). Some people use hand warmers, others don’t. If you get cold hands you should consider bringing them although they don’t burn very warm due to the low oxygen at higher altitudes needed for the chemical reaction to take place.
  • 2 pairs of Glacier glasses: one spare. These must block out as much light as possible and be the darkest level of protection (Cat 4). Removable side shields are useful. Bring a spare pair in case one is lost or broken.
  • Prescription eyewear. If you wear prescription eye wear make sure to figure out how you will deal with tis on the mountain when it is cold, dusty, and windy. Many people purchase prescription glacier glasses and goggles to use up high and use glasses and contacts down low.

Personal Gear:

  • Trekking Poles. These must be collapsible and fit in your duffel bags. A medium sized snow basket is recommend.
  • Pack cover. This is convenient for the trek to ABC if the monsoon season persists. It must fit your pack.
  • Umbrella. An umbrella is nice to have for the trip to base camp and ABC if the monsoon season is persistent. Buy a large one with a long handle.
  • 2 sleeping bags: 1 rated to -20F/, (1 rated to -40F/-40C, climbers only). The lighter sleeping bag will be used for the drive to base camp and on the trek to ABC and then brought up on the upper mountain in unison with your down suit. The heavier bag will be used for ABC only. The should be made of don and light weight.
  • 2 sleeping pads: 1 closed cell foam, 1 inflatable (climbers only). The closed cell foam pad will be used on the trek to ABC and the inflatable used at the mountain camps. They should be light weight and have a high R-value.
  • 2 headlamps; 1 medium sized and 1 small sized as a backup both with extra batteries. The main headlamp must be bright but light weight and the other will be used as a back up. Bring extra batteries for both.
  • 8 AA batteries and 8 AAA batteries depending on what your electronics use
  • Make sure to have enough batteries for 6 weeks for all your electronics and gadgets.
  • 2 liter water bottles, wide mouth
  • Snack food. We will provide lunches but be sure to bring enough palatable personal snack food as you will need on the mountain. We recommend 5 pounds/2 kilograms. It need to be food you will eat when you don’t want to eat at altitude and specialty items such as “Gu”, “Nuun”, and shot blocks are excellent. It’s nice to have extra snacks on the drive to base camp as well. The food is good but some people feel they don’t get as full eating eastern food as with heavier western diets, so it’s nice to have some extra calories.
  • Water purification: Iodine tablets, filter or UV treatment. You can buy bottles water until base camp where we will boil the water for you, but it is nice to not create as much trash and save some money. I wouldn’t recommend drinking un-purified water out f the tap either in Nepal or Tibet.
  • Books
  • Bring one or two and we will be able to share them around to save weight.
  • Camera. Lightweight is good for the mountain but you can bring a heavier one for the drive and in to ABC. Make sure to bring plenty of storage and your battery charger.
  • Multitool
  • Toilet paper: 1 roll. It’s nice to have one roll for the drive. Toilet Paper will be provided once we arrive at base camp and at the hotels on the drive.
  • Altitude watch. Knowing your altitude is important in the mountains. Everyone should have an altitude watch.
  • Cup, bowl, spoon. A collapsible bowl, small cup, and durable spoon or two are needed for the mountain camps
  • Sun screen
  • SPF 30 or higher. Make sure to bring enough for the entire expedition.
  • Hand Sanitizer. Bring several small bottles to keep in your pocket at all times and one or two medium bottles for use at camps.
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Towel
  • Tooth Brush and Toothpaste
  • Nail trimmers
  • Baby wipes. These are invaluable while at the mountain camps.
  • Basic medical kit, should include: blister kit, low dose aspirin, bandaids, wound closure strips, triple antibiotic ointment, basic repair kit, scissors, diamox (acetezolomide, 125mg) for AMS, niphedepine (for pulmonary edema, time release), dexamethazone (for cerebral edema, 4mg), antacids, NSAIDs such as aspirin or ibuprophen, anti-diahrheal, duct tape, ear plugs, Antibiotics (upper respiratory such as Azithromycin and a gastero-intestinal such as Ciproflaxin), meletonin, Athsma medication if you use it (Advair), cold and flu medication,

Climbers only:

  • 2 water bottle covers
  • These must fit over your water bottles and be as insulating as possible.
  • 1 liter thermos. This will be used high on the mountain to make sure you always have unfrozen water. Make sure it insulates well and doesn’t leak.
  • 2 pairs heavy climbing socks . Heavy synthetic or wool socks to use with triple boots. They must not be too tight when used with triple boots.
  • Heavy down mitts. These are used as a back up pair if you were to drop a glove or if it is extremely cold and you need a layer warmer than heavy climbing gloves. They should fit over a lighter fleece liner glove.
  • 60L climbing pack. This pack will be used on the mountain. It must be lightweight and fit your back. We recommend Hyperlight designs out of Maine, USA
  • Triple climbing boots. The warmest 8,000m boots you can find to keep your feet warm above C1 and especially on summit day.
  • Boot warmers. Many people use boot warmers for 8,000m climbing and swear by them, others don’t. If you get cold feet you should seriously consider purchasing a pair of boot warmers and fitting them to your boots. They could prevent you from needing to turn around on summit day with cold feet.
  • 1 down suit or 8,000m top and bottom. This should fit comfortably over 2 top and bottom layers. Leg zippers, arm pit zippers, and a rainbow fly on the seat are highly recommended options. It must have a hood.
  • 1 face mask. A full face mask that can cover all of the skin on your face when used in unison with goggles is a necessity for cold, windy days.
  • 1 heavy weight pair of down mitts
  • 2 pairs of goggles: 1 clear lens and 1 dark lens. The light pair will be worn on summit night when it is dark if it is really cold and windy, and the dark pair the rest of the climb. They both should block UVA/UVB and fans are quite effective.
  • Harness. This should be lightweight and have detachable leg loops.
  • Ascender with sling. Buy an ascender for your strong hand. We will show you ho to rig this at ABC.
  • 2 extra slings
  • 3 locking carabiners and 4 non-locking carabiners
  • 20 feet of prussik cord
  • Helmet. There are a few sections with rock fall and ice fall.
  • Ice axe. Bring an alpine axe that is long enough for walking and has a leash.
  • Crampons. 12 point crampons that MUST fit your boots perfectly. Once we get on the mountain there is no option to change crampons so a proper fit is critical. We will check this in Kathmandu.
  • Figure 8. A figure 8 is easier and smoother to use  for rappelling on the fixed lines on Cho Oyu.
  1. Select the program for which you would like to apply.
  2. Fill out the CTSS online application form completely, truthfully and to the best of your ability or ask us to email you the application package. Pay initial deposit of 25% of the program fees into our trust account to reserve your place. Payment can be made by credit card, PayPal or bank wire transfer. Your spot will not be secured until monies have been received, and we have reviewed your application and accepted you to the program.
  3. Upon acceptance of your application*, we will send you follow up forms including a waiver form, physicians medical form, travel sheet, and passport information form to make sure we have all of your details. We will also begin sending you the program emails to get you up to speed on all the details for your trip.
  4. Submit your remaining 75% balance payment and paperwork prior to 120 days before the program start date.

*Note: This application requires the acceptance of CTSS personnel before the applicant will be enrolled on the program. CTSS reserves the right to deny an applicant enrollment in its programs. Further, if the applicant is under the age of 18, the application must be signed by their legal parent or guardian and they must be accompanied by a legal parent of guardian on the program. If you are not accepted for the program your deposit will be refunded.
 (Please Note: Full Payment Terms & Conditions, Cancellation & Refund Policies can be found on the Waiver Release Form.)

Our expeditions are fully inclusive except for items/services of a personal nature. Please take note that the following is not included:

  • International flights to Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Associated travel expenses including: Visa, Passport, Reciprocity Fees, Vaccination Charges, Excess Baggage
  • Optional excursions not included in the itinerary or additional days before or after the scheduled program
  • Personal climbing equipment, clothing, toiletries etc
  • Personal sundries including but not limited to; non-team meals while in Kathmandu, personal snacks, specialized high altitude climbing food, alcoholic beverages, laundry services, medical expenses, gratuities, internet, email or phone charges, bottled water, specialty coffees
  • Sherpa tip pool ($400 for climbers/$200 for trekkers)
  • Guide tip (customary but optional)
  • Satellite telephone air charges & 3rd party base camp wifi
  • Costs incurred as a result of events beyond the control of CTSS above and beyond the normal expedition costs
  • Required trip insurance policy (for trip cancellation, interruption, rescue & evacuation, medical treatment, repatriation etc.)

Each Cho Oyu expedition and Tibetan Cultural Trek is led by Mike Hamill.

Mike Hamill, lead guide and owner of CTSS, is universally regarded as one of the most experienced and respected high altitude mountaineers in the world. He has guided thousands of climbers on the Seven Summits and well over 150 climbers have stood atop 8000m peaks, including Everest, under his direct guidance.

A guide for over 20 years, he boasts a 91% expedition success rate and an 83% climber summit success rate for all of his expeditions world-wide.

Who you choose as the leader of your expedition is a big deal. Sound leadership is the difference between a great expedition and a miserable, potentially dangerous one and you only want the best in your corner. Mike has an unprecedented safety record, has 6 Everest summits and currently holds the record for most non-Sherpa summits of Cho Oyu. He’s also the author of the guide book “Climbing the Seven Summits,” making him among the most experienced Western guides in the world.

An adventurer by nature, he has skied to the South Pole, cycled unsupported across the United States and completed the famed Seven Summits 6 times. He has competed as a nordic skier, ultra marathoner and cyclist.

His love for the mountains and adventure continues to compel him to travel the globe and connect with the local mountain communities, particularly the Sherpa of the Khumbu region. This bond was his impetus in creating the “Tiger of the Snows Fund” a not-for-profit that provides grants to further education of mountain tourism workers and their families & a portion of each CTSS expedition goes to support the fund.

Mike is a familiar and well respected face in the mountaineering community. He is passionate about imparting his knowledge, skills and experience to inspire others to harness their full potential in the mountains

One cannot underestimate the importance of having the right team of Sherpas to support a Cho Oyu bid.

Sherpas are integral to almost any aspect of a Cho Oyu expedition and perform crucial roles as climbing partners such as carrying loads and fixing ropes on the mountain, organizing gear and building camps amongst many other jobs. You will quickly notice not only their importance but also their many other positive traits: hard work, humility, friendliness, gregariousness, not to mention strength.

Our team of Sherpa is simply the cream of the crop and are lead by our sirdar Tendi Sherpa. Tendi has notched a dozen Everest summits on both the south and north sides of the mountain beyond many other summits worldwide. Tendi is an internationally certified guide, co-owns a logistics company based in Kathmandu and is among the best in the business.

He holds his team of Sherpa to the same high standard to which he holds himself and hand picks only the strongest, most skilled and trusted Sherpa friends. Tendi and his team will work hard to make your climb of Cho Oyu a success, and they are likely to become friends for life.

Climbing the Seven Summits’ primary aim is to help you attain your personal climbing and trekking goals while experiencing the best of our planet, its unique cultures and environments.

We strive to offer the highest quality mountaineering expeditions and treks at a great value while focusing on our primary goals: safety, success, and enjoyment.

We achieve this by bringing our extensive experience, top of the line logistics  individualized service, and world-class guides to each adventure we undertake.

To give our clients the highest possible chance at success we are detailed in our approach, ensuring we’ve dotted our ‘i’s and crossed our ‘t’s. We provide personalized service, employ conservative acclimatization schedules, use top of the line mountaineering, camping and communications gear, hire only the best mountain leaders and we don’t skimp on costs.

Our expeditions strive to set the highest standards and climb in “good style”. By this we mean prioritising the wellbeing and safety of our teams, leaving no trace on the environments we operate in, respecting culture, contributing to local economies by employing regional partners and paying them higher than the industry standard and working in a self-sufficient and self-reliant way. We promote a responsible approach to adventure travel by connecting people to the natural world and giving back to local communities by donating a percentage of every expedition to ‘Tiger of the Snows Fund”

We take immense pride in our expeditions and this shows in the positive feedback we receive from our teams who form lasting friendships forged in the mountains as they work together and overcome tough challenges.

Please visit our Client Testimonials page for quotes reflecting CTSS leadership and experience. If you would like to talk to previous customers as references, please contact us, and we can put you in touch with many satisfied climbers. Please feel free to give us a call or send us an email, and we will be happy to discuss the expedition with you. Joining a climbing or trekking expedition is a big deal, and it’s important to feel comfortable with the expedition leadership. The majority of our clients are return customers because of their overwhelmingly positive experiences.