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2012 Shishapangma Expedition

**This page is a historic page frozen in time - see Our treks for the current website**

 Standard Tibet north side route

Above: Shishapangma from the summit of Cho Oyu.

Cho Oyu and Shishapangma are considered the least difficult and least dangerous of the 8000m peaks.

Shishapangma (Xixapangma) has two summits, the commonly climbed Central summit that the Chinese say is 8012m (7999m on old maps) which we have reached four times. Naturally we will be aiming to climb to the higher true summit, 8027m (26,335ft), and spring is the best season for this, lets see if we can get there!

We offer the best balance of quality and value. We run safe expeditions with a good sherpa ratio, have radios that always work and have AC power and email-internet at ABC; everything you would expect and more.

We have a photo gallery from the successful 2003 Shishapangma expedition, dispatches from the successful 2005 Shishapangma expedition, the 2006 Shishapangma expedition (not successful due to avalanche danger) and the 2007 Shishapangma expedition (not successful due to incessant winds).

Looking from the true (Main) summit along to the Central summit - photo Jarle Traa, Norway


Please give yourself enough time in Kathmandu to recover from long flights; also get some exercise on arrival and take vitamins. Pack your bags so that you have a travel pack/bag less than 20kgs for the jeep drive to base camp. You climbing kit bag/s will stay in the truck. Ensure that your gear in the base camp bag/bags are packed in plastic, ie completely waterproof.


We overland in but starting with Lhasa is an optional extra.

Day 1 - Saturday 21 April 2012 - Arrive Kathmandu 1350m

Days 2-3 in Kathmandu

Two free days in Kathmandu for relaxing, packing and preparing. You can leave any gear which you don't need during the expedition at the hotel. We can arrange a sightseeing tour, if you wish.

Day 4 - drive Zhangmu ~2400m

We take a private bus along the Friendship Highway to Kodari where we pass through Nepalese customs then cross the Friendship Bridge and climb to Zhangmu, the Chinese border town.

5 - drive Nyalam 3750m

This is a short but spectacular drive to the next town to acclimatize.

6-7 - rest days in Nyalam 3750m

We acclimatize two full days here, it is a big jump to BC...

8 - drive Shishapangma Base Camp 5000m

Half a day of driving brings us to 'Chinese' base camp. The views of Shishapangma are wonderful from this grassy camp near a stream.

9-10-11-12 - stay Base Camp 5000m

We spend around four days acclimatizing, recovering for the huge jump from Nyalam, and preparing our equipment for the yaks to carry to Advance Base Camp. There are some superb day trips and we may even make an overnight camping trip, depending on how the weather looks. The itinerary from here on is approximate only. In 2006 we stayed 5 nights at BC including an overnight trek from there.

~13 - trek ABC ~5600m

It is a long days trek to ABC (Advance Base Camp). Yaks do the hard work while we trek carrying only day packs. Everyone will be feeling the altitude but it is amazing how your fitness builds with time. We begin setting up ABC in an ablation valley.

14-15 - ABC

We acclimatize further and have a puja, a ceremony to show respect for the mountain. The puja is held on an auspicious day decided by the sherpas.

16-36 (21 days) climbing Shishapangma

The expedition leader in discussion with the team members and sherpas manages the day to day running of the expedition. The sherpas carry the majority of the equipment to establish the camps leaving us to familiarize ourselves with the mountain and get more acclimatized, a long process. There are several different methods to ready for yourself for the summit bid, we will discuss them in detail on the mountain.

The basic plan is to spend 3-4 days at ABC then take a 6-7 day trip up on the mountain sleeping as high as Camp 2, 7100m. Logistically, it takes some sound preparation and organization to ensure all the camps are set up with the appropriate supplies. Then we need a window of good weather for the summit attempt and often this is a waiting game.

From Camp 3, 7500m, we have a spectacular view that stretches way into the distance to the north and also we can see Everest and Cho Oyu.

Summit route options

Summit day means a very early start. The best route to the true summit is crossing the face (in green above, and the picture to the right) but we judge at the time whether this is safe.

The route in yellow goes first to the Central summit, which we must fix ropes to. From there to the true summit is a knife-edged ridge that is rarely in condition for traversing, although it is only nasty for less than a rope length.

The other possibility is a new route (in blue): from Camp 3 we descend a little onto a broad plateau and will probably have to put a camp there. The slopes from there on are moderate although there are a few crevasses.

Once we have summitted we clear the mountain of our gear and rubbish and head out. We are likely to summit prior to day 39 but have plenty of time to wait out for the best conditions.

37-38 - cleaning the mountain

It takes several days to clear all the camps, and bring all our rubbish down.

39 - packing ABC

More packing! Occasionally we can arrange for the climbers to leave ahead of the expedition leader and sherpas. We judge at the time.

40 - trek BC, drive Nyalam/Zhangmu

We pack everything else for the yaks to hump down. The idea is to trek to BC then get the truck and Landcruisers there in the afternoon, heading to Nyalam or even Zhangmu. Back to thicker air!

41 - drive Kathmandu

We should arrive in Kathmandu late afternoon or evening ready to enjoy the good restaurants.

Day 42 - Kathmandu

Time for a good relaxing and shopping and to celebrate the expedition.

Day 43 - departure

Basically our expedition lasts as long as it takes to summit. We should be back to Kathmandu by this time and so plan your departure around this time.


Best balance between quality and value

Plenty of Shishapangma experience

Great sherpa team

All-inclusive, and includes Lhasa

Small teams

2012 dates

21 Apr-2 June, 43 days


US$15,950 overland

* US$15,000 if booked by 31 Dec

Optional Lhasa start: US$1200

Deposit: $5000

Arrival hotel

Hotel Shakti

tel: 01 441 0121, 442 9508

backup hotel: Hotel Thamel

Local office contact

Happyfeet Travels

Nima Sherpa

tel +977 1 442 3656 9am-6pm

Our service includes

Airport transfers

5 nights 3 star hotel in Kathmandu, single with breakfast, in the heart of Thamel

All group transportation by private vehicle

Entrance fees and permits as needed

Chinese visa and all permits

Kathmandu-Lhasa flight

on expedition:

BC, ABC and mountain services

email, walkie talkies, all meals, all tents,

charging for cameras etc

Chinese visa, permits etc

Our service excludes

Insurance, Nepal visa, meals in Kathmandu

Personal climbing equipment

emergency evacuation/early departure

International flights to Kathmandu, equipment rental, alcohol and soft drinks, laundry, tipping and other items of a personal nature

Shishapangma ABC

Shishapangma ABC - Jamie

Heading up from Camp 2 (unseen, behind us) to Camp 3 on the ridge (also just unseen).


We have run many successful and safe expeditions however you must understand this is as real as it gets. We try our best with safety and gear within the limits of the expedition budget and the success rates for Shishapangma (Central summit) are high, but this is 8000m and anything can happen. Even with good gear, good everything, the risk of death is small BUT REAL. There is UNAVOIDABLE avalanche danger, although the probability is low. If you haven't climbed to 8000m before you will find the mountain bigger and scarier than you ever imagined.

We try our best and we are very responsible, caring people HOWEVER we are not liable for anything, full stop.


Mentally, you should not be on this expedition unless you think you can climb to the summit, there in a lot of power is positive thinking. At the same time you must be prepared for disappointment; conditions may not be perfect, you may struggle at extreme altitude etc.

This is a professionally lead expedition. Your guide and crew are there to manage the logistics of the expedition not to haul you up the mountain or be personal servants. Your guide is there because he is familiar with the mountain and big expeditions, to assist in being a climbing partner, to make difficult judgment decisions and to generally manage the expedition. Your guide will accompany the team on the majority of the acclimatization trips and will endeavor to summit with you, but this is not a guarantee. The climbing sherpas will summit with the expedition members.

We live together for more than a month so please have consideration for your fellow team members, crew and guide, and other mountaineers. Being polite and reasonable goes a long way, even minor dehydration makes almost anyone surprisingly irritable and intractable).

Experience and fitness

Despite the relatively non-technical nature you MUST have some mountaineering experience and MUST have been to 6000m before. The fitter you are when you arrive the better. You must be at least moderately fit, your fitness will build remarkably on the mountain. Don't underestimate the difficulty and strength of will required to climb at over 7000m.


This is your choice. It is sometimes possible to get insurance for 8000m peaks thru your national alpine club - the British Mountaineering council (BMC) has a great policy, although getting more expensive all the time. Often a doctor books but we don't guarantee the services of a doctor. however in the past we have arranged the services of a doctor at base camp. You pay the doctor directly. There is no helicopter rescue possible for Shishapangma so evacuation is by Landcruiser to Kathmandu. The cost of emergency evacuation and associated care is not included in the cost of the expedition. There is one particularly good clinic in Kathmandu otherwise the nearest high standard hospital is Singapore or Bangkok, although generally it is better to return to your home country. Our Nepali staff are insured.

Please read the information and links in the contacting us section on the main expeditions page.

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