International Mountain Guides Climbing and Mountaineering Expeditions

CHO OYU CLIMB

Tibet  •  26,906'  •  8201m  •  6th Highest in the World

Cho Oyu Climb with International Mountain Guides

IMG Cho Oyu Climb Gear List

This equipment list is meant to help you compile your personal gear for a high altitude trekking trip. Most items are required. Please consider each item carefully and be sure you understand the function of each piece of equipment before you substitute or delete items from your duffle. Keep in mind that this list has been carefully compiled by Eric Simonson, the expedition organizer. Don't cut corners on the quality of your gear.

Travel Items
[  ]Duffel Bags: One duffle will accompany you on the journey to BC. Climbers will need a second duffle, which will be packed and sent directly to BC by way of truck and yak. Duffels are carried by porters and yaks and should be sturdy and waterproof with name written on bag (in case tag is lost). Bags with wheels are nice for the airport, but the porters and yaks donít like to carry them, so donít bring wheeled bags. You will also store some travel clothes at the hotel in Kathmandu while trekking, so a smaller additional bag with a lock might be handy. Tip: Bring 5 large plastic garbage bags to pack gear inside duffels to protect gear from rain.
[  ]Daypack: Large daypack or bag with a shoulder strap, so you donít have to set it down while doing the duffle shuffle or handling travel documents while going through passport control and customs at the airport. It needs to be big enough to hold everything youíll need for an overnight stop.
[  ]Locks: Youíll want padlocks in Nepal and Tibet, but for flying out of the USA, it might be better to use plastic zip ties which can be cut by TSA staff if necessary (bring extra zip ties).
[  ]Travel Wallet: Important for carrying your important documents including passport, extra photos, duffel inventory list, and money. We suggest that you use a travel wallet that you can hang around your neck and place inside your shirt, or around your waist tucked under your shirt or trousers.
[  ]Passport (valid for at least 6 months after the trip ends with sufficient extra pages for visa stamps and in same name as airline ticket (or with endorsement-for women who changed name w/ marriage). Get your Nepal visa on arrival in Kathmandu at the airport (and in Kodari on the return to Nepal). Scan your passport and also make a good quality hard copy of your passport and carry it separately.
[  ]2 additional passport photos for Nepal visas.
[  ].jpg headshot (please e mail to IMG). No hat or sunglasses. You can take a "passport" type photo standing against a white wall with your phone and e mail it to IMG with a high quality color scan of your passport.

Trekking Gear
[  ]Trekking Poles: Poles come in handy for balance and easing impact to your knees. Get collapsible poles that can attach to your backpack.
[  ]Backpacks: The "day pack" is great for a travel carry-on and may be big enough for the trek (need room for your clothes, water, camera, food, etc during the day while hiking). Climbers will need a larger pack (50-60 liter size is popular) and this will also be fine for the trek. For the international flights put your backpack into the duffle bags.
[  ]Pack Cover: Waterproof rain cover for your pack.
[  ]Sleeping Bags: Rated to -10° Fahrenheit. Synthetic or Down. Base Camp/ABC can get down to around 0° F at night... so quite chilly. Climbers will want a second sleeping bag for up high.
[  ]Trekkers do not need a pad (foam mattress will be provided for trek and Base Camp). Climbers should bring a Thermarest pad to augment the closed cell pads we put in the tents above ABC.

Footwear
[  ]Lightweight Shoes: Running/tennis shoes and sandals for camp, around town, etc.
[  ]Hiking Boots: Medium-weight hiking boots, waterproofed and broken-in.
[  ]Gaiters: To keep snow, mud, and scree out of your hiking boots.
[  ]Socks: 5 complete changes of socks, in a combination that you have used and know works for you. Make sure your boots are roomy enough for the sock combination you intend to use. Tight boots will make your feet cold. It is no problem to wash underwear, socks, etc at Base Camp!

Clothing
[  ]Base Layer: 2 pair synthetic long johns: one midweight set and one expedition weight set.
[  ]Mid Layers: One additional warm layer (wool sweater, another fleece jacket, shelled vest, etc, that can be worn in conjunction to the other layers).
[  ]Shell Jacket: Waterproof/breathable jacket with hood.
[  ]Shell Pants: Waterproof/breathable pants (full side zips are best).
[  ]Climbing/Trekking Pants: Look for construction that provides freedom of movement and/or stretch materials. Fabric should be a breathable synthetic that preferably holds up to abrasion and dries quickly. You can wear them over longjohns if it is cold.
[  ]Warm Parka: Down or synthetic. This should be big enough to go over other garments. Many climbers also like insulated pants for cold mornings and evenings at BC / ABC.
[  ]Trekking Clothes: Light hiking pants and / or hiking shorts for warm weather down low -- NOT cotton. Shirts for hiking on nice days (t-shirts OK, quick-drying synthetic fabric far better.)
[  ]Casual Clothes: For travel/meals in dining rooms. Youíll want a shirt or two with a collar to wear on flights and for restaurants. A sweatshirt or light jacket might be nice in the evening.
[  ]Bathing Suit: Some of the hotels have pools (eg, in Bangkok).

Clothing Accessories
[  ]Gloves: Light gloves for hiking and warm ski gloves. Bring mittens too if your hands tend to get cold.
[  ]Hats: Warm wool or heavy fleece hat, sun hat and bandana.
[  ]A "Buff" or light balaclava to breathe through in the cold dry air. Good for preventing "Khumbu cough" (which can occur in Tibet as well!).

Camp Accessories
[  ]Headlamp: With several sets of extra batteries. Climbers should bring a second "back up" headlamp (Beware of headlamps which do not accept lithium batteries).
[  ]Water Bottles: 2 water bottles with foam insulation shells. Bring a Pee bottle too.
[  ]Water Treatment: Iodine tablets (Potable Aqua or similar) or iodine crystals (Polar Pure).
[  ]Camera: With spare batteries, and film or memory cards.
[  ]Pocket Knife.

Personal Accessories
[  ]Wrist Watch: With alarm and light for reading in the dark. We like the Suunto ones.
[  ]Eyewear: Bring good sunglasses. For contact lens wearers, ski goggles with light color lenses (for use at night) might be useful in windy conditions that cause blowing dust.
[  ]Vision correction: Bring extra prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses if you wear them. Lens solutions are not widely available in Nepal, bring enough.
[  ]Skin Care: Maximum SPF sunscreen and lip balm.
[  ]Basic First Aid and personal: Bring plenty of hand sanitizer (Purell). Also you'll want moleskin, tape, aspirin (many climbers take an 81mg aspirin every day to prevent stroke), ibuprofen / acetaminophen, Imodium and Pepto Bismol for diarrhea, Band-Aids, antacid, insect repellant, ear plugs, and several rolls of toilet paper (we will have a supply at Base Camp), small towel, soap/shampoo, a few disposable dust masks, hand cream (for chapped hands),
[  ]Prescription Medications: 1) Antibiotic for upper respiratory problems (azithromycin) 2) Antibiotic for GI problems (Cipro or azithromycin); 3) Diamox (acetazolamide) for acclimatization (125 mg tabs recommended, enough for a week); 4) Sleeping pills for jet lag; 5) Tylenol 3 or similar for severe headaches; 6) Malaria Chemophrophylaxis, if needed based on travel plans; 7) Asthma medication, if any history (many climbers use Advair inhalers at high altitude to prevent Khumbu cough); 8) nifedipine (for pulmonary edema); and 9) dexamethasome (for cerebral edema).
[  ]Cold medicine (Sudafed, etc), Chloroseptic or Tessalon Perles throat lozenges.
[  ]Personal Snack Food: Approximately 5 pounds of personal snacks, also some drink mixes if you like these (add drink mix to your water bottle after giving iodine tablets 30 minutes of contact time). Summit climbers should bring some extra high altitude snacks they know they will like to eat up high!
[  ]Books/music. Plan on sharing among your team members. Bring a thumb drive for swapping photos.

Climbers add the following
[  ]Ice axe: We like a general purpose axe in the 60-70 cm range, depending upon your height and the type of climbing you anticipate. A wrist leash is useful for wearing while crossing snow bridges or on steep slopes where losing an axe would be a big problem. A spike with a point is preferable to a tubular shape (which can glance off the ice at certain angles).
[  ]Crampons: The number one rule with crampons is that they need to be compatible and stay on your boots, period! Petzl Vasaks, BD Sabertooth, Grivel G12 are all reasonable choices. Make sure your crampon straps are long enough to go around your big boots
[  ]Helmet
[  ]Bowl, Cup, Spoon
[  ]Climbing Harness: We prefer a harness with a minimum of padding that can be adjusted to fit over bulky clothing with leg loops that open up so you don't have to step into the harness.
[  ]Ascender & Hardware: Two large locking carabiners, mechanical ascender with slings, rappel device (Figure 8 or ATC that will work on a variety of rope diameters from 7mm to 11mm), 4 extra 24" shoulder slings with 'biners. Bring 30 feet of 8mm accessory cord or ½ inch tape webbing to rig your ascender and safety sling (we will show you a good way to do this).
[  ]Warm shelled mittens (down or similar insulated preferred).
[  ]Plastic double boots and overboots or many climbers prefer the Millet Everest or the La Sportiva Olympus Mons boots which have an integrated gaiter.
[  ]1 pair of Glacier glasses, with a spare pair as backup.
[  ]A "Buff" or light balaclava to breath through in the cold dry air
[  ]Goggles (a second pair of light yellow or clear lens for nighttime is recommended)
[  ]Small repair kit. We'll have a large repair kit at Base Camp with tools, etc.
[  ]Good 1 liter thermos bottle
[  ]Extra socks (you can hand wash socks and underwear at BC, no problem).
[  ]Down pants that work with the down parka or a down suit. Summit day can be very cold! Many climbers also like insulated pants for cold mornings and evenings at BC / ABC.
[  ]Second sleeping bag (available for rent)
[  ]Second headlamp for backup

Cho Oyu Climbing Expedition with International Mountain Guides
Recommended Gear

Confused by what exactly we mean on some of the listed gear, or wondering which brands might be better? See the IMG Recommended Gear Page »

Then browse the IMG Online Gear Store for our favorite climbing and trekking gear, as well as used rental gear, logo t-shirts, and more.

If you can't find what you need in our store, IMG is proud to feature our partnership with Mountain Gear, and we recommend them for your equipment requirements. IMG climbers get 5% off when they click through here to access Mountain Gear's Online Store or call 800-829-2009 and use code: 0IMG (zeroIMG)

Not only did IMG seem to have the best guiding, but we were by far the best provisioned. I wouldn't climb with anybody else and will do my best to steer folks your way.
~Bruce D.
High Altitude Brewing
The IMG 1996 Cho Oyu team tries a little home brewing at 15,000 feet
With a little help from the brew masters of Forty Below and their multi-purpose mountaineering gear, an IMG Cho Oyu team experiments with brewing up some High Altitude Ale »
When the Sherpas were introduced I couldn't get over their experience. Some had summited Everest and Cho Oyu as many as ten times! And then they were serving me dinner. It should have been the other way around!
~Robert M.
I also found that Eric Simonson's reputation and experience in the Himalaya has given IMG leaders greater ease in dealing with the Chinese government, in choosing more experienced climbing Sherpas, and in interacting with the leaders of the other expeditions. It was this kind of experience, or lack of it, that determined which expeditions were successful and which were not on Cho Oyu...
~Greg Y.
I can't say enough about our Sherpas. They were all super helpful and friendly. I personally heard Sherpas with two other teams say that we had the strongest Sherpas on the mountain...
~Pete F.
The guides' and the Sherpas' prior Himalayan experience was extremely valuable, and proved to be the difference in having a successful summit bid during a difficult weather season. In fact, many climbing teams this spring left the mountain without ever making a summit attempt, mostly because tactical errors on the mountain and lack of good food weakened them unnecessarily...
~Tom R.
Video: Cho Oyu Puja Ceremony

An IMG Cho Oyu team's Puja blessing ceremony, captured and narrated by IMG climber Philip Desjardins.

More Cho Oyu Videos »

If this didn't hurt so much,
I'd be having fun!
~IMG climber on Cho Oyu
See the video »
 
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