NEWSLETTERS - Cho Oyo Expedition 2006

Newsletter 44 September 2006

Last newsletter did not sound too promising, however... after much waiting the weather Gods were finally on our side! The wind came and blew off the snow which was causing so much concern amongst all expeditions. Russell spotted a small window of good weather and no wind in which to make a summit bid on the 1st and 2nd of October.

So with much excitement we made our way up to Camp 1 on the 28th of September and as reward we were given some magnificent sunshine and views. The team's morale was high and the following day we continued to Camp 2. This was a long and hard day involving the most technical and steep sections of the climb and unfortunately one team member had to turn around.

Next day was a relatively short climb made difficult by the altitude, however... we were rewarded this time by a secluded camp (Russell having opted for the original route up the mountain rarely used nowadays) and the most breathtaking red and orange sunset over the Himalayas. Sleeping at 7600m was extremely difficult even for the most experienced members. The cold and the altitude were equally challenging obstacles for a nights rest.

There was little time for sleep anyway as we were up at half midnight and leaving Camp 3 for the summit at an obnoxiously early (but necessary) 2am. It was quite a sight to see the masses of people on the traditional route heading for the summit with their head torches on. This is an extremely busy year on Cho Oyo with approximately 600 climbers aspiring to get to the summit of the 6th highest mountain in the world.

The going was tough on our route since the Sherpas had to break trail, our team being the first up this route this year. The Sherpas did a fantastic job working in really hard snow conditions as we were traversing towards the main route, which we reached around day break. From here it was a hard slog to the false summit and afterwards it was another hour of agonizing false summit after false summit until we finally reached the top! The weather could not have been better, no wind, sunshine and not too cold temperature. From the summit you have and amazing view of Everest, Lhotse and the rest of the Himalayas. Lots of photos were taken before we decided it was time to head down.

For Martina and Octavio it was time to put the skis on their feet and make the first turns down the big mountain. Unfortunately the previous high winds had not done a good job of the snow for ski conditions. They were challenged with hard wind packed snow and satsrugies which made the descent both tiring and dangerous but they made it all the way back to Camp 1. The others however only made it back to Camp 2 for the night. Everybody continued back to ABC on the 2nd where a glass or two of Champagne was had!

List of those members who summited on the 1st of October 2006

  • James Board - UK
  • Chris Macklin - UK
  • Kiek Stam - Holland
  • Antoine Boulanger - France
  • Martina Palm - Sweden (first Swedish woman to ski an 8000m peak)
  • Octavio Defazio - Argentina (first Argentinian to ski an 8000m peak)

List of those members of the Japanese team who summited on the 2nd of October

  • Hiroyuki Kuraoka
  • Shinji Tamura
  • Mitsuru Iwai
  • Ryo Kawashima
  • Yuzo Kobayashi (summitted without oxygen on first attempt at an 8000m peak)
  • Hiroshi Nakamichi
  • Katsusuke Yanagisawa (summitted at the age of 70 and after major surgery)

List of those Sherpas and Tibetans who summited

  • Dorji Sherpa
  • Phura Sherpa
  • Ang Karma Sherpa
  • Karssang Sherpa
  • Dawa Sherpa
  • Danuru Sherpa
  • Pu Bu Tse Ring
  • Wang Dui
  • Ta Shi Ping Tso
  • Dor Jiee
  • Dor Jiee Tse Ring
  • Gong Ga

With best wishes from a very happy ABC,
Team Cho Oyo 2006.