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Asia, Nepal, Cho Oyu from the South in the Post-Monsoon

Cho Oyu from the South in the Post-Monsoon. By the end of this autumn, a total of some 400 people have claimed success on Cho Oyu—although some of them may actually have stopped at a slightly lower summit than its highest point (8201 meters, 26,906 feet). This season, of the 39 who made the climb, all but four were on the normal route, first climbed in 1954 by Herbert Tichy. The many summiters belonged to 10 of the 15 teams on the mountain, eight of whom had permits from the Tibetan authorities while the other seven crossed the border from Nepal without permission. Several teams without Tibetan permits had earlier obtained Nepalese permission and planned to cross the border illegally, but after they heard of Tibetan security men demanding money last spring from climbers who had come across from Nepal, they cancelled their Nepalese permits and got Tibetan ones. They need not have bothered; none of the parties from Nepal encountered any police or army, and they were able to cross the border at will. Indeed, one small European group did not trouble to obtain permission from anyone; they simply went trekking, crossed the frontier, quickly climbed the mountain and came back to Nepal again in a nine-day round-trip journey from the Nepalese village of Thami. (They had very recently done a more leisurely unauthorized ascent of Shisha Pangma and were well acclimatized to high altitudes.) There is also a report of a Korean and two Sherpas arriving on Cho Oyu from Nepal without authorization, who climbed high, possibly to the summit. A number of expeditions did cross the frontier from Nepal. Five Spaniards were led by Juan Antonio Serrano. The leader joined Koreans led by Kang Tae-Sun, who came from Tibet, and they all reached the summit on September 10. (For the Korean ascent, see the section on Tibet.) Another expedition of four Spaniards led by Carles Figueras joined with seven other Spaniards, led by José Ramón Lasa. On September 21, Francesc Campos and Berenguer Sabadell from the first group got to the summit. On September 30, Joan Cardona teamed up with Lasa and climbed to the top. Jesus Gómez led five Spaniards to the mountain at the same time as Czech Ludek Ondrej brought three Czechs and four Spaniards there. On October 8, Jesús García of the first group and Carlos Pitarch of the second climbed to the summit. On October 10, Jesús Gómez, Yolanda Martín (f) and Joseba Agirrezabal (f) made the ascent. On October 31, Spaniard Manuel de la Matta and Frenchwoman Chantai Mauduit reached the summit. This was the third 8000er for her.

Elizabeth Hawley