KATHMANDU, JUNE 12
Mount Cho Oyu (8201m), the sixth highest mountain in the world located west of Mount Everest, is considered to be one of the easiest mountains to climb among the 8000ers if climbed from Tibet side.
"Since there is no official route to reach Cho Oyu from Nepal, it is usually climbed from the Tibet Side. Only 14 climbers have made it to the summit of Cho Oyu till date from the Nepal side" said Mingma Gyalje, an IFMGA/UIAGM certified guide who scaled 13 of 14 peaks above 8,000 m.
Born in Rolwaling, the climbers' valley, Sherpa is also the first summiteer on Mt Cheki-Go (6,257m), Mt Bamongo (6,400m) and Mt Chobuje (6,685m) via west. Sherpa stood atop G-II making it as the 12th eight-thousander that he climbed without using supplemental oxygen. Gyalie, the first Nepali climber to make the most ascents of 8,000-metre peaks without using supplemental oxygen, has already climbed K2 twice – in 2014 and 2017 - in the summer season.
"Despite its importance, and revenue making potential, the route setting project has remained under the radar. This is still an interesting project that needs to be commissioned at the earliest by Tourism related organizations", added Gyalie.
The five-time Everest summiteer further said that Nepal Government (Department of Tourism) is not showing serious interest in creating a task force of qualified mountaineers in setting the route in Cho Oyu.
There is no doubt in the mind of organisers and mountain guides that enabling people to climb this mountain can create opportunities to generate revenue making immediate impact. This will add value to mountain tourism and economy and aid the locals to run their business.
"The officials at the Department Of Tourism are there just to do day to day tasks only. Adding destinations and building the infrastructures by forming policies do not seem to be the priority."
There is no vision and future planning for such projects. Helicopters have been flown to analyze the terrain but that is a waste of money while so many qualified mountaineers stay jobless because of current COVID crisis, he added.
In 2011, a huge budget was allocated for the civil servant to climb Everest. "While I commend the efforts of those who attempted, this has not been a difference making effort to yield more climbers," Sherpa elaborated.
In 2012, several political leaders and civil servants climbed the Everest using state funds which was again totally worthless and wastage of state fund.
With so many mountaineers free these days, the time to set route in Cho Oyu is right.
Several mountaineer friends and local organizations have been trying to open a new and safe route on Cho Oyu from Nepal side but Nepal government has not allocated any budget for the project.
"What a pity....No words," he concluded.