Alpine Ascents Cho-Oyu Frequently Asked Questions
What is the skill level of this climb?
Climbers should have successfully completed our 6-Day Training course and Denali Climb or have equivalent skills and experience. Cho-Oyu is excellent preparation for a summit attempt on Mt. Everest and is the logical choice for those who wish to embrace and climb an 8,000 meter Himalayan peak. This expedition teaches valuable climbing skills, high altitude management techniques, and lessons for the use of oxygen systems and staying healthy at extreme altitudes. Climbers who have been successful on Denali or comparable peaks are typically prepared to join a guided ascent on Cho-Oyu. Climbers must have solid cramponing skills, be able to rappel with a pack on and use ascenders on a fixed line. We place a high degree of responsibility on our climbers to prepare for the challenges of the ascent and the safety of their fellow team members. We encourage you to contact us with questions and please feel free to speak with former expedition members.
What is the physical conditioning level needed for this climb?
Climbers must be in excellent physical condition. This is a long expedition requiring patience, stamina, mental fortitude, and strong willpower. Summit day can be 12 hours long.
Any tips on how a climber can maximize their chances of success?
Along with the required climbing skills, review cardio training on the training page of our web site. We strongly recommend following the advice of our guides to acclimatize properly.
Who is the guiding team composed of (How many guides? Climber to guide ratio?)
Your expedition leader will be one of our International Mountain Guides. They will have along as many assistant guides, climbing Sherpa, porters and cooks as necessary to ensure a low climber to guide ratio.
What is the best season to climb / which dates will have the most chance for success?
The best time to climb Cho-Oyu is in the Fall, August - October.
How many climbers are on this expedition?
Generally, our maximum for this climb is 10 climbers plus guides, and Sherpa.
Will I be sharing a tent or lodging with other climbers?
During the approach to BC we will be lodging in hotels and hostels that are double occupancy. Climbers will be either sharing a room (2 per room) during this portion of the trip in Tibet . In BC each climber will have their own tent. Above BC in camps I-III climbers will be sharing tents.
How much will my pack weigh?
During the trek team members will only be carrying gear and supplies for the day. At no point do we carry camping gear or equipment for overnight during the trek. Daypacks will weigh no more than 20 lbs. Above BC on the climb we will typically be carrying packs that weight 20 – 30 lbs. At no point will your pack weigh more than 50 lbs.
What gear will I need?
Please review the gear list.
How does your gear rental system work?
Those requesting rental gear must submit an expedition rental form with payment by fax or mail. All rental gear will be mailed to the climber prior to the climb. Climbers are expected to clean all rental gear and return it to us by mail following the expedition.
Any further advice on gear and using your gear list?
While all items are required there may be times when some of the items on the gear list may not be used (such as warm weather or changing conditions). The gear lists are created by the guides to assist in having climbers be prepared to summit in any conditions.
While it is impossible for us to list all brands for certain gear, we do offer a wide variety of equipment in our Gear Shop, that has been hand-picked by our staff of mountaineering experts. Please feel free to call our offices with any gear questions or substitutes. Plastic boots are required for this climb.
How is drinking water treated?
During the approach to BC we will be eating in restaurants where clean water will be provided. Bottled water can also be purchased along the way. At BC and on the route water will be boiled.
What will the meals on the expedition be like?
Meals in the mountains consist of a diet rich in carbohydrates because our bodies do not process fat and protein efficiently at higher elevations and to compensate the increase in caloric need that high altitude climbing involves. We try to make meals varied and as normal as possible. During the approach to BC we will be dining in Tibetan restaurants serving a mix of Chinese/Tibetan/Continental dishes. Meals during the climb are made from food both purchased in Nepal and the U.S. Typical meals are rice, pasta or potato dishes along with vegetable and egg dishes. In BC we will also have a cooked lunches. Above BC climbing food mainly consists of dried meals such as pastas or rice. Lunches while climbing will mainly be made up of bars and snacks brought from the U.S.
Can I bring some food from home?
You may bring power bars, Gu, Power Gel, cereal bars or similar high energy foods, powder Gatorade is also recommended to fight dehydration.
All meals will be provided on this expedition.
Are there any innoculation requirements?
No requirements at this time
What is the best air route to my destination, Lhasa Tibet?
We operate our climbs via Kathmandu, Nepal.
When should I book my flight? Do I need to use your Travel Agent?
Fares are generally less expensive when booked early. You may use our Travel Agent (Charles Mulvehill 1-800-727-2157) or book flights yourself. Please note that flights booked online are often difficult to change. Please send us a copy of your flight schedule as early as possible as this allows us to book pick ups and hotels.
What time should I arrive and leave and where do I meet the guides?
Those arriving on the scheduled date (or those who have made prior arrangements) are met at the airport by an Alpine Ascents representative (look for the sign) and taken to the Yak and Yeti Hotel. Although it is likely that you will meet your team leader at the airport and other members during the day, we will have a scheduled meeting that day. This meeting will include introductions, final review and an overview of the itinerary and trek.
What if I arrive early or depart late? Can you arrange extra night lodging? Is there a single room option for this expedition?
We are happy to make arrangements such as personalized tours, extra hotels rooms, airport pick ups and arrange for private rooms. Please indicate that you would like a private room on your application and we will contact you with information on single room supplement costs (for hotels only).
Are there any entry or Visa requirements?
We will send further instructions on obtaining a Chinese visa.
Is there any communication while we are on the mountain?
In Kathmandu and Lhasa telephones and internet access are readily available. Our guides will carry satellite phones in the mountains. The quality of the reception varies from location to location.
Where can I get more information on history, books, and additional activities in the region?
Check the reading list on the Cho-Oyu page of the web site.
Can I contact the others on the climb? How about the guide?
You can always call our offices and we will have one of your Everest guides contact you. 30 days prior to departure, we will mail a list of the other team members to you.
How much should I budget for this expedition? How much cash should I plan to bring?
Climbers generally take $200 to $400 to change in Tibet/China for purchases along the approach to base camp. An additional $400 to $500 in US dollars is good to have for emergencies. So we suggest approximately $1,000 total in cash but it is likely you will use much less. Changing money at the airport is not recommended. (Credit cards may substitute for some cash). We will organize this with our guide staff
How much should I tip my guide and staff?
Climbers generally tip our Sherpa staff and Western guides. Climbers typically tip around $300 total to our Nepali staff including climbing Sherpa depending on the size of the expedition (We usually have about 6 Sherpa assisting with the expedition). We will send some more information about tipping as we get closer to departure. You may have some perfunctory tips at hotels and at time of transport. Tipping is not required but a common practice.
How do I register for this expedition?
You may call our offices with a credit card or mail/fax an application with a check or credit card number.
What paperwork do I need to send in?
Each climber should submit an application and flight information.
When is the money due for this expedition? What kind of payment do you except?
We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, personal checks and Alpine Ascents gift certificates. To reserve a space the deposit is $2,000.00 and balances are due 120 days prior to departure. Unpaid balances can result in forfeiture of trip.
What is your cancellation policy? What is your refund policy?
CANCELLATION AND REFUND POLICY:
Each $2,000.00 deposit is non-refundable.
All balances are due 120 days prior to departure date unless otherwise specified.
Full refunds, less deposit, will be provided 120-days prior to departure date.
50% refunds will be provided 90-120 days prior to departure date.
No refunds will be provided 89-days prior to departure date.
All refund requests must be made in writing.
Participants whose balances are not received by the 120th-day deadline as stated above, risk forfeiture of their place on the expedition.
Note: Alpine Ascents reserves the right to waive any fees. As we offer personalized service, we will attempt to accommodate changes and cancellations when necessary, waiving certain fees when feasible.
What happens if I need to leave the expedition early?
Communication is sometimes difficult in the mountains. However our guides and local staff will make the necessary efforts to obtain the necessary transportation and reservations to get you home as quickly as possible if for any reason you need to depart early.