How Difficult Is The Cholatse Expedition?

7 Jun 2023 Prakash Devkota

How Difficult Is The Cholatse Expedition?

Cholatse Peak in Nepal is one of the tough mountains to conquer. It’s over 6,000 meters tall and is characterized by its steep, tricky ridge, making the Cholatse expedition difficult. It’s like climbing a beautiful and tall peak but even more difficult as it is a technical climb. This means special mountaineering skills and equipment are a must to do it.

The Khumbu region, where Mt Everest is located, is the most popular region for Mountaineering and trekking. However, there are some areas of the Khumbu around the Gokyo region where very few hikes and climbers visit, and this is the same place where peaks like Cholatse/Taboche peak lies. This area is remote, where you will have almost no people in sight.

Cholatse Peak, a hidden gem in the Everest region, is known as one of the technical 6000ers. It lies just middle of the Gokyo and Khumbu valleys and is known for its steep, soaring lines and rugged southwest ridge. Simply said, Mt Cholatse, due to its technical difficulty, poses some significant level of difficulty which demands a climber with prior experience to conquer it.

The Cholatse Peak expedition is more challenging than others, requiring a careful ascend. Moreover, only a few climbers with experience in ice and rock climbing get successful in completing the Cholatse expedition here. The first explorers of Mt Cholatse were Vern Clevenger, Galen Rowell, John Roskelley, and Bill O’Connor. They made their first ascend on April 22, 1982, via the mountain’s southwest ridge. Moreover, talking about the first-ever solo attempt, Ueli Steck completed the first solo attempt on April 15, 2005, via the north face. Since then, many mountaineers attempting to climb the peak follow the caravan routes, which include a flight to Lukla, then a trek to Gokyo, acclimatization by climbing Gokyo Ri, continuing trekking further to the base camp and descending to the Namche.

Join Peak Climbing Nepal for a phenomenal adventure to Everest’s remote and isolated Cholatse peak. We provide you with our best sherpa guides and mountaineering team to complete the Cholatse Peak expedition. They will help you add one more achievement to your list with their extensive knowledge to overcome the expedition’s difficulties.

    Why Is Cholatse Considered a Difficult Climb?

    Why Is Cholatse Considered a Difficult Climb?

    The first thing every climber should know is the elevation of 6,440m (21,130 ft) of the peak, known as one of the technical trekking peaks of Nepal. For this reason, this Cholatse peak expedition might not be the right choice and will be a difficult climb for first-time trekkers.

    If you want to reach the Cholatse peak in a suitable season, then let us tell you the Cholatse expedition is only for experienced climbers who like a challenge like Mt Ama Dablam. Expedition climbers should climb at high altitudes (6000M and 64000M). Moreover, the route upto the peak is graded a sWI2+ M3-4 A1-2. Simply put, all climbing sessions to the peak will be quite challenging.

    This expedition requires a grade level of climbing, which is D+/-, 5.9/5.10. If you are a member with vast experience in climbing technical peaks like Ama Dablam, then you are good to go for the Mt Cholatse expedition. However, this expedition is not for you if you are just a beginner in mountaineering and peak climbing.

    After reaching the top, the rewards are worth it, but you need advanced-level fitness and experience to climb it. So only attempt to climb the peak if you have already climbed other big mountains here.

    The Approach (Cholatse Expedition Strategy)

    Cholatse peak as viewed from chola pass

    Cholatse Peak lies in the remote area of the Gokyo region and is considered an expedition full of technical climbs. Therefore, guides must first place a fixed rope to reduce the difficulties and provide safety to the mountaineers and the team.

    Moreover, our expedition itinerary includes at least 8-10 days at the various base camp and above. During this climbing period, we take proper acclimatization required, training facilities, and allow enough time for rope fixing along with the contingency days.

    First, ascend to Cholatse Base Camp 4529M.

    To reach the summit of Cholatse Peak, we must first pass through the two high camps. We will ascend through the southwest Ridge route, the safest way to go, and set up a camp after reaching the base camp.

    Your sherpas will again establish rope lines upto base camps 1 and 2. These rope lines help them to move your stuff from base camp to 1 and 2. The climb upto the base camp is not so difficult compared because more difficult and technical climbs start after base camp 1.

    Climb From Base Camp (5000M) to Base Camp Camp 1 (5700M)

    The sudden change in altitude will cause various health issues like AMS and more. So to prevent this, we will make a 1 or 2 round of acclimatization rotations.

    After leaving the base camp, we will climb for another 400M towards the crampon point via grassy moraine, which lies 200 m far from the icefall. The ascend to the Ice Fall will not be complicated as our experienced guides and sherpas will be with you.

    Aftering reaching the icefall, we will further climb up and down a bunch of icy hills that look like zigzags. We will again ascend to the big wall made up of ice, which lies around 150M high.

    Afterward, we will climb towards camp 1 (5700M) by crossing the big wall with the help of a fixed line rope. Base camp one is located above the col in the flat pleated, and the views of the Gokyo Valley from this camp are fantastic.

    Base Camp, 1 to Cholatse Camp 2 6000M

    This climbing session from Camp 1 to 2 is the hardest one of the Cholatse Peak expedition. Base camp 2 lies 600 m high from base camp one on the mountain’s southwest ridge, and the route to camp 1 is very difficult.

    The route up camp 2 consists of mixed terrains and is super exposed, making the climb more challenging. Moreover, there is only one place to rest between the ascend.

    Among the 600 m ascend, the first 100M – 150M is a steep climbing that takes you to th top of the rocky slab part of the mountains. After 1500 m, you will take a route to bend the mountain ridges containing unstable rocky and loose areas.

    The routes in this route are unstable, and climbers must be cautious of their ascend here. After you have chosen this unstable part route, you will climb to a nice flat part, which is also the only stop to rest. We will continue your ascend towards 400m through the snow and icy surface to reach base camp 2.

    This route is a very difficult one among all and requires technical skills too.

    Base Camp To 2 Summit

    Base Camp To 2 Summit Cholatse Expedition

    The summit lies just 250m climb from the base camp, but the routes to reach the peak are narrow and steep on both sides. Another hard climbing session begins now, where we must pass through the icy terrain and crevasse openings.

    The climb gets more direct and technical from camp 2, so we need to ensure not to slip until we reach the peak. After crossing the ridge section, you will come to the area which is flatter and is also the peak of the mountain at 6440M.

    High Altitude and Acclimatization

    Cholatse The expedition starts with a flight to Lukla at an elevation of 2,800m, which is also the starting point of your trek. From here, you will pass through many sherpa settlements like Phakding, Namche Bazar, Dole, Machermo, Gokyo, Thagnak, and Dzongkha and finally reach the Cholatse Base Camp. You will be gaining higher and higher altitudes as you trek from Lukla.

    Getting higher altitude while trekking includes the chances of causing Altitude sickness too. Therefore, every climber must acclimatize adequately to reduce the chances of Altitude sickness.

    Our Cholatse climb expedition of two days includes enough acclimation days to help you adjust to the higher altitude while ascending. Moreover, you can get enough rest days for your body at different places like Namche Bazaar while enjoying this region’s cultural and natural beauty.

    Climbing a peak at 6450m is not a simple task as there will always be a high risk of altitude sickness. And Altitude sickness gets worse as time goes so it should be treated on time; otherwise, the sickness may cause the climber’s death too.

    If climbers suffer from altitude sickness, they should inform their guides about it to help them reduce the symptoms or, in the worst scenario, help them ascend down the mountain.

    Weather conditions of Cholatse

    Weather conditions of Cholatse
    View From the Summit of Cholatse (6,440m)

    Cholatse may not be as challenging as Everest, but the weather conditions here can create more difficulties making you feel like you are climbing Everest.

    The weather in Cholatse Peak is unpredictable, possibly with snowfall and rainfall. Therefore climbing should be only attempted during spring and Autumn; otherwise, the unpredictable weather with chances of snow and fall may increase your difficulties.

    Spring and Autumn are the best months for embarking on any expedition like Cholatse and Everest. But if you choose to climb during the off seasons in winter and monsoon, then be prepared for the harsh weather with many difficulties.

    During the off seasons months, the Everest region experiences a lot of snow and rainfall in upper and lower areas. Likeks, the temperature also drops significantly during these periods, and you can image how difficult mountain climbing can be if done during the off seasons here.

    On the other hand, if you choose Autumn and spring season for your chosen peak, existing, then the difficulty will be much less as there will be shunting mots of the tm to accompany to upto the peak. Also, there are low changes in weather turnarounds, which further reduce the possibility of Avalanches and landslides (generally higher in winter and monsoon).

    Physically Demanding Climb Requires Climbing Skills

    Physically Demanding Climb Requires Climbing Skills

    The Cholatse Peak expedition is a journey to the 6440M and requires a high level of mountaineering and technical skills to complete it successfully. If you want to reach this peak, you must buy a strong background in high-altitude climbing along with an alpine-style mountaineering technique.

    Moreover, you should also be skilled enough to face the difficulties of the mountain with your traversing, scrambling, and navigating skills. Our guides and sherpas will be there for you, but the difficulty will be less if you are Proficient in utilizing the climbing gear and fixed-line ropes while ascending.

    Cholatse expedition serves as the base for the climbers aiming to climb the peaks like Ama Dablam, Annapurna IV, Everest, etc. Therefore, climbers considering climbing this peak must earn some climbing skills, including learning to tie the figure 8, clove hitch knot, stopper knot, and setting up anchors while sending.

    Moreover, the climber should be able to walk on the fixed line with the super eight-belay device or ATC descender. Every climber should be careful when abseiling as one single mistake will make your descent very hard here. There will only be a chance while descending, so be careful and have a ‘prusik knot’ tied in the main rope to provide safety.

    In addition, climbers should be skilled enough in traversing, Climbing, and scrambling for long durations with the help of crampons on rock and snow routes.

    Preparation for Cholatse Peak Expedition

    Preparation for Cholatse Peak Expedition

    Cholatse peak climbing is a rewarding experience, but it does take proper preparation with Gear and training before taking off to conquer. Here is some repartition that every climber must make before embarking on a difficult and technical climb like Cholatse.

    Proper clothing and GearGear:

    Climber should have the right Gear and equipment for the Cholatse Peak expedition. Don’t compromise on the gear and clothing quality while purchasing it.

    You must remain warm through the expedition, which depends on the type and quality of the clothing and Gear you choose to purchase. Some gears and elements you should miss to pack are as follows.


    • Helmet, Rappel device, Trekking Poles, Carabineers, Alpine Ice Axe, Expedition Backpack

    Boots and Clothing:

    • Mountaineering boots for above 6000m climbing, Hiking shoes, Thermal mountaineering socks, Liner socks
    • Base layers, One mid-top layer, breathable Underwear, Hoodel sof layered jacket, Hard Shell Pants, hard Shell jacket, synthetic Pants, Hiking shorts, Wool Hat, Hoot Gloves

    Hire Experienced Guides:

    Cholatse expedition requires a permit to climb; for this, you must get a service from a registered local company. Solo treks are banned in Nepal now, so you should have a certified guide by your side for any trekking and expedition.

    Whether you are a beginner or an experienced mountaineer here, we highly suggest getting yourself a local guide service which can be hired through the local travel agency in Nepal. They will provide the necessary support throughout the trip and help you with all the emergencies while climbing.

    Proper Training Before Expedition:

    Proper Training Before Cholatse Expedition

    Cholatse expiation by no means is an easy peak to conquer. All climbs to reach the peak require a technical climb, so this expedition is not fit for trekkers wanting to experience peak climbing. Therefore mountaineering with proper people training background should attempt to complete the Cholatse Peak expedition.

    You can start your training session for this climb by focusing on muscle and endurance training. For this, you can include any aerobic exercise in your routine like long-distance running of around (10-15km) daily, cycling (1 hour – 2 hours daily), hiking with a weight of at least 1-25 kgs on your back to high elevation, and more.

    For physical testing, you can include high-intensity training like cross-fits or kettlebells. This will help you to enhance your fitness level.

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      Final Say

      All in all, climbing a peak around 6500 m will be difficult. It will be helpful if you make all the preparations before to overcome the difficulties the expedition presents.

      One of the best ways to overpower the difficulties is to be prepared with the best backup support of the sherpa guides and climbing tools required. We have a Cholatse peak climbing expedition package with a carefully organized itinerary that covers all your needs, like sherpa guides, climbing equipment, helicopter service, and additional oxygen supply if required through the expedition. Therefore book your Cholatse exception with us at Peak Climbing Nepal and reach a peak of 6,440 m with our sherpa support.


      Prakash Devkota

      Managing Director and Team Leader

      Mr. Prakash Chandra Devkota is an established name in the Tourism Sector in Nepal. He is a focused individual gifted with a brilliant mind. He is also hugely dedicated to social work. Born in the Gorkha district, a beautiful hilly region of Nepal, he first entered the tourism industry as a guide in 1997. He has gained extensive experience in almost all the trekking and climbing routes like Mera, Island, Lobuche and, Ama Dablam, etc.

      He registered Nepal Guides Treks & Expedition in 2009 AD. Due to his passion for adventure and efforts to provide quality personalized service to his clients, he has established himself as a successful tourism entrepreneur. He has dedicated most of his time working diligently to elevate the tourism industry and collected more than 15 years of experience in organizing trekking and expeditions in Nepal, Bhutan, and India. He believes in the power of the tourism industry and the employment opportunities that can be created through it. He constantly looks for innovative ways to run the company.

      Mr. Devkota has always been an avid practitioner of eco-friendly tourism and has always promoted environmental conservation throughout his career. He motivates his staff to embrace eco-friendly tourism through responsible tourism practices. He believes promoting eco-tourism will preserve natural resources and positively impact the environment.