2009 Cho Oyu Climb Updates Tibet  •  26,906'  •  8201m
Expedition Coverage

2009 Cho Oyu Expedition Coverage

Led by: Greg Vernovage  •  Expedition directed by: Eric Simonson

Cho Oyu Team Arrives in Kathmandu

August 23, 2009

IMG Guide Greg Vernovage dropped us an email from Kathmandu this morning and said that most of the team has arrived in Nepal, and those that haven't, they'll pick up along the way.

Kathmandu (Greg Vernovage)

So with most of the team on hand, they had the Team Welcome Dinner at the historical Rum Doodle Restaurant.

The team is in great spirits and are already getting along well despite their language differences. So with Visas in hand they're off to Tibet!!

— Tye Chapman, Operations Manager

Cho Oyu Climbers Heading To Base Camp

August 30, 2009

Everything is moving right along on our Cho Oyu Expedition in Tibet. The team had a successful acclimatization hike this morning before they depart for Base Camp tomorrow. It'll be a smaller group at dinner tonight as most of the Sherpa have left for Base Camp to prepare for the rest of the teams arrival.

The climbers will spend a few days at BC before they move up to Intermediate Camp later this week.

28 yaks are scheduled to arrive at BC in a couple days!

Yaks make many of the comforts on Cho Oyu possible (Martin Johnson)

That's all for now...

— Tye Chapman, Operations Manager

Cho Oyu Update: Team Arrives At Base Camp

August 30, 2009

Eric Simonson talked to IMG Guide Greg Vernovage on the sat phone last night... The team had arrived at Base Camp, and they're all doing fine. The Sherpas had Base Camp already set up and Greg says everything looks good!

The team will spend a couple days at BC before they move up to Intermediate Camp later this week.

That's all for now...

— Tye Chapman, Operations Manager

Cho Oyu Team Moves To Intermediate Camp Tomorrow

September 2, 2009

Eric Simonson just spoke with IMG Guide Greg Vernovage and all is well at Base Camp on Cho Oyu... They've had a few days at BC now and have been on a couple acclimatization hikes so now it's time to head uphill!

It's evening there now so the team has already had dinner and should be heading to bed soon having already made their preparations to move to Intermediate Camp (17,400ft) tomorrow morning.

Cho Oyu Intermediate Camp (Greg Vernovage)

That's all for now...

— Tye Chapman, Operations Manager

Team Arrives At Cho Oyu ABC

September 4, 2009

Greg called in yesterday...The team has arrived at Cho Oyu Advanced Base Camp (ABC).

Over the next few days they'll get out some of their climbing gear and practice some of the needed skills for the upcoming climb while continuing to acclimatize. They'll make the move to Camp 1 late this weekend or early next week as conditions and weather allow...

IMG Cho Oyu Advanced Base Camp (Ang Jangbu Sherpa)

That's all for now...

— Tye Chapman, Operations Manager

Cho Oyu Update – Snowy Weather

September 7, 2009

Greg called in this morning to report that the weather around Cho Oyu has been pretty nasty lately. [Tropical Cyclone 3B slid north out of the Bay of Bengal and pumped moisture and wind into the Nepal Himalayas.] Greg reported that they have had snow and wind the last few days but the forecast is improving. The team is safe and sound at ABC and plans to do an acclimatization hike towards Camp 1 tomorrow, and weather permitting the Sherpas will carry to C1.

Camp 1 (Greg Vernovage)

A total of 8 other groups have rolled into ABC so far and several more are at Base Camp. We're out in front so that's good!

— Tye Chapman, Operations Manager

Cho Oyu – Storm Passes. Camp 1 In Sights

September 9, 2009

It looks like Tropical Cyclone 3B has finally pushed through. Much improved weather has settled over the region. The team plans to move to Camp 1 tomorrow for the night – weather permitting.

Camp 1 at about 20,500' with the route above it (Ang Jangbu Sherpa)

IMG Guide Greg Vernovage and Sherpa Sirdar Ang Pasang are meeting with the Tibet Mountaineering Association and some of the other climbing teams to discuss route fixing. It's time to start climbing!

— Tye Chapman, Operations Manager

Cho Oyu Team Moving Down From Camp 1

September 11, 2009

The Cho Oyu team had a beautiful night up at Camp 1 and are heading back down to ABC after a successful acclimatization rotation. Everyone is doing well! They'll spend a couple days back at ABC before they move back up to C1.

That's all for now...

— Tye Chapman, Operations Manager

Cho Oyu Team Prepares For C2 Rotation

September 14, 2009

Over the weekend we received a report from IMG Cho Oyu Guide Greg Vernovage...
Greg report that IMG sherpas Tenji and Donuru, working with several other teams’ sherpas, have now fixed the ice cliff and on to Camp 2. The weather has been good and all IMG climbers are doing well at ABC after their C1 rotation. They'll start their C2 acclimatization rotation in the next day or two.

Climbing from Camp 1 to Camp 2 (John Race)

— Tye Chapman, Operations Manager

Cho Oyu Team Rotates Through Camp 2

September 17, 2009

IMG Leader Greg Vernovage reports that the members and sherpas had a successful rotation to Camp 2. After spending another night at Camp 1 (6400 m / 20,992 ft), they ascended the ridge to the Ice Cliff, then continued on up through the seracs to Camp 2 (7100 m / 23,290 ft) where they spent the night.

Climbers working their way up the icecliff (Greg Vernovage)

Yesterday they descended back to ABC. The weather continues to hold and after a couple days of rest at ABC the summit bids will begin!

— Eric Simonson

Cho Oyu Summit Bids Begin

September 21, 2009

IMG Cho Oyu team summit bids begin.

Sunset on Cho Oyu (Tom Romary)

IMG leader Greg Vernovage reports that the weather is good, the team is healthy, the camps are all set, the ropes are fixed, and it is time to go climb Cho Oyu!

The plan is for the team is:

September 21st – C1 (6400m / 20992ft.)

September 22nd – C2 (7100m / 23290ft.)

September 23rd – C3 (7450m / 24600ft.)

September 24th – Wake up at midnight and leave in the dark, reach summit early morning and descend to C2

September 25th – Back to ABC

More as it comes in...

— Eric Simonson

Cho Oyu Team On Schedule...

September 23, 2009 (10:55am)

We received word from IMG Guide Greg Vernovage yesterday that the team had arrived at C2! All is well and the team is on schedule.

It's close to 2am on September 24 in Tibet so summit bids should be underway... Stay tuned for more updates.

— Tye Chapman, Operations Manager

Cho Oyu Team Summits!

September 24, 2009 (10:00pm)

Just off the phone with Greg and all is well on Cho Oyu. Everyone made it to the top yesterday and then descended to C1. Today they will go on down to ABC.

He said the weather yesterday was excellent but this morning it is cold and windy with a cloud cap on the upper mountain!

Mount Everest viewed from the summit of Cho Oyu. (Greg Vernovage)

Congrats to Greg Vernovage, Rafal Szczepanik, Renata Piszczek, James Davidson, Sandhosh Kumar, Mayk Schega, Anastasia Iliopoulou (first Greek female to climb an 8000’er), Danuru Sherpa, Mingma Tenjing Sherpa, Mingma Dorjee Sherpa, Penjo and Kheju (Tibetan climbers). A job well done!

— Eric Simonson

** All time references are Tibet time. It's 1:00pm local time (10:00pm PST) at the time of this post.

Cho Oyu Team Back Down to ABC

September 25, 2009

Greg Vernovage reports that all members made it safely down to ABC, just in time for some of cook Kaji Sherpa’s “home cooking”! The Sherpas have now pulled down the remaining loads from Camp 2 and only a few loads remain at Camp 1. Yaks have been ordered and the current plan is to depart ABC on the 27th and hopefully go all the way to Nyalam or Zhangmu, and then arrive back to Kathmandu on the 28th. We’ll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson

Cho Oyu Summit Shot

September 26, 2009

Cho Oyu summit photo taken just before sunrise. Left to right: Renata, Sandosh, Mayk, and Mingma Tenji (entire team not pictured). (Greg Vernovage)

Cho Oyu Wrap-up

October 10, 2009

One final wrap-up for all you Cho Oyu fans... below is a summary written by IMG Cho Oyu Guide Greg Vernovage

What an expedition! This year’s team was quite diverse which made for a great time at camp. We had all corners of the glove covered including: Poland, Singapore, Germany, Greece, Nepal, Tibet, and the United States, truly international. I am proud of the group for having the ability to come together as a team; it was quite easy for them.

We’ve all left Kathmandu for our respective cities with lots of stories to tell. What a climb – from the first day in Kathmandu to our arrival at Base Camp and on up to the different camps – we worked hard but had fun too. Summit day was amazing, we arrived on the summit just before dawn which made for a chili summit photo but it didn’t matter we were on top of an 8000m peak and the world’s 6th tallest mountain!

Congratulations to this year’s team:

From Poland, Renata, who is as strong a climber as I have had the honor to watch on the mountain. She was patient and had a great climb.

Rafal, also from Poland, excelled on Summit day along with his Sherpa, Da Nuru. Rumor is out that they may have ran across the summit plateau!

Mayk from Germany, who I have now had the pleasure of climbing 3 mountains with – reaching the summit of all three – and great weather on each nonetheless! Denali, Vinson and now Cho Oyu!

Sandhosh, from Singapore. Where to start here, congratulations on your 1st 8,000-meter peak. Well done sir!

Jim, USA. Congratulations! You did it! Jim, like all of us, had good days and challenging days and the result was that he overcame everything and was a GREAT teammate in the process. A big thank you for being such a great teammate and lugging those cameras around.

Tasia, Greece. The FIRST GREEK WOMAN to summit an 8,000-meter peak. Congratulations to Tasia and the Athenian Alpine Club. I cannot say enough about how positive Tasia was throughout the entire trip. She earned every step of that 8,201-meter mountain.

Congratulations to the entire team, I had a great time and the weather held on and gave us a perfect window. Thanks to everyone who helped make that night and morning such a success.

We worked hard but our summits would not be possible without our Sherpa and Tibetan climbing staff! Having this strength by my side everyday gave me added confidence which I appreciate!

Newang and Kato were our Tibetan Climbers; they did a fine job helping with the high camps.

Kaji and Rinzing, The best cooks you could ever find. Thank you for keeping us going at ABC!

Ang Pasang — Thank you for coordinating all the logistics from the ground! Couldn’t have done it without you.

Mingma Dorjee, No load too heavy and never without a smile. One of the best Sherpa around!

Mingma Tenjing, 5 Everest Summits & 5 Cho Oyu summits. Strong and fast. Together with Da Nuru, they carried a load from ABC to Camp 3 and returned in under 7.5 hours. THAT is moving.

Da Nuru Sherpa, 11 Everest Summits-10 Cho Oyu Summits. The strongest climber and Sherpa I have had the honor of climbing with. His achievements are too great to list.

To all of the Cho Oyu Summitters, CONGRATULATIONS!!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

IMG super chef Kaji meets the descending team with a celebratory cake (Greg Vernovage)