American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma, Ascents

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2001

Cho Oyu and Shishapangma, Ascents. In August, I traveled to Tibet with three other friends from Telluride, Colorado: Andrew Sawyer, Laura Bakos and Jim Miller. Our intention was to acclimate on Cho Oyu, then climb the south face of Shishapangma. Andrew, Laura and Jim also planned to ski both peaks. On Cho Oyu we climbed without Sherpa support or supplemental oxygen, establishing three camps on the regular route up the west side. On September 24, I topped out with Laura, who dragged her skis to the summit. Laura became the first American* and possibly the first woman to descend from the top of an 8000-meter peak on skis.

Christine Boskoff of Seattle guided a group on Cho Oyu at the same time we were there; afterward, she joined our expedition as we headed for Shishapangma. From the town of Nyalam, we hiked for two days to base camp on the south side of the peak—a nearly pristine spot, in contrast to the squalor of Cho Oyu. Christine and I rested only one day at camp before heading toward the face. After a further day of rest and recon at the base, we climbed the British route in alpine style to the main summit, arriving on top the morning of October 10. We descended the same route and were back in Nyalam 12 days after we left. Andrew, Jim and Laura made a brief attempt on the face, but decided to return next fall instead.

A Korean expedition climbed the route just before us this year. It’s the quickest way to the top, it seems.

Charlie Fowler, unaffiliated

*A ski descent of Shishapangma’s central summit by Americans Steve and Mike Marolt was made in 2000. The team, however, did not ski from the main summit of the peak.

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