Home > Mountain

Canadian Louis Rousseau to Attempt Cho Oyu New Route

Canadian Louis Rousseau from Quebec is on a team of four heading to the Himalayas to attempt a new route on Cho Oya, the world’s sixth highest mountain at 8,201 metres. Rousseau’s team includes Adam Bielecki from Poland, Rick Allen from Scotland and Felix Berg from Germany.

Cho Oyu is located on the border of Tibet and Nepal about 20 km to the west of Mount Everest. The name Cho Oyu means Turquoise Goddess in Tibetan. It is recognized as the easiest 8,000-metre peak.

Cho Oyu.  Photo from Louis Rousseau
Cho Oyu. Photo from Louis Rousseau

On the normal route, there are no really technical sections and the objective dangers are almost non-existent. However, if one’s willing to venture into the unknown beyond the normal route, there’s a wealth of high-altitude adventure to be found on Cho Oyu.

There are many difficult and unrepeated routes on Cho Oyu, especially on the Southeast face. “Just think of the Reincarnation route forge by Boris Dedeshko and Denis Urubko in 2009 on the Southeast Face (full climb report),” said Rousseau. “Our goal in spring 2017 will be to attempt a new technical line on the north face of Cho Oyu.”

The proposed route will start from the base of the north wall and will go directly up an untouched section in the centre. “In our opinion, the north face of Cho Oyu is an amazing objective,” said Rousseau. “Four kilometers wide and more than 2,000 metres high, the wall is steep and almost unexplored. Exceptional for an 8,000-metre mountain.”

The only route on this side was made by Slovenians, with Iztok Tomazin reaching the Cho Oyu summit on Nov. 2, 1988. He descended on the normal route, the first crossing of Cho Oyu. Viki Groselj and Joze Rozman reached the Cho Oyu summit on Nove. 5, Rado Nadvesnik and Marko Prezelj on Nove. 8, and Blaz Jereb and the leader of the expedition, Roman Robas, on Nov. 9. Read the full report here.

As described by Marko Prezelj, the north wall is steep and the highly technical character of the north face of Cho Oyu offer good opportunities for a major new alpine style ascent. The main disadvantage might be the northern aspect of the face.

It can be a very cold place without much sun on it. Base camp can be put higher on the glacier, away from the main crowd going to the normal route. From there it is a one day approach to the glacier at the bottom of the face.

“It would be presumptuous to say that we hope to reclaim this mountain for alpinism with our 2017 project, but we do hope to contribute to the tradition of lightweight climbing on the world’s highest peaks,” said Rousseau. “That’s why we will climb in a clean self-supported tactic.”

Rousseau is one of Canada’s most accomplished high altitude climbers. After starting to climb at 15 years old, he went on to climb in mos of the world’s great ranges and made the first Canadian ascent of Nanga Parbat. Visit his website here.