Aljaz Tratnik and Uros Samec on the upper section of the southwest face of Cho Oyu (8201m). Tratnik, Samec, Marjan Kovac and Emil Tratnik (Aljaz’s father) were following a line established earlier in the day by Pavle Kojzek. Kozjek climbed from base camp to summit in fourteen and a half hours–the first time a new route had been established from an advanced base camp to the top of an 8000-meter peak in a push. Aljaz Tratnik and Samec made their ascent alpine style, spending the night in their own tent at Camp III, while Kovac and Emil Tratnik bivied in an acclimatization tent on the Normal Route during their descent. [Photo] Marjan Kovac
Cho Oyu, New Route, Solo Ascent. I set off at 3:30 a.m., October 2, 2006, from our advanced base camp (6200m), with three water bottles, six gels, spare gloves, a bivy sack and a camera, to climb a new route, solo, in a single push, on the southwest face of Cho Oyo (8201m). In 1994 Yasushi Yamanoi had made the first solo ascent on this same face; my line began to the left of his. At 7200 meters, I bypassed an icefall by climbing the rock (5.6) to the right of it, and then met up with the Polish Ridge (5.5 50 degrees, 2200m). Here, deep snow hampered my progress, but I reached the top at 6 p.m., fourteen and a half hours after I had started. I now descended the Normal Route to Camp II (7000m), rested for a few hours in an abandoned tent and returned to base camp before noon the next day. As far as I know this was the first such single-push, one-day, new-route ascent from an advanced base camp to the top of an 8000-meter peak (5.6 60 degrees, 1100m).
Meanwhile, my teammates, Uros Samec, Aljaz Tratnik, Marjan Kovac and Emil Tratnik, started up the same route a few minutes after me. Uros and Aljaz made their ascent alpine style, spending the night on the descent in their own tent at Camp III, while Marjan and Emil used the acclimatization tent at Camp II on the Normal Route. When they arrived at the icefall, they climbed it directly at AI4.
In the past few years I’d been focusing on the Andes, where I’d established a number of hard, new routes in a similar fast and light manner. It felt good to return to the Himalaya and to apply this method again at a higher altitude.
–Pavle Kozjek, Ljubljana, Slovenia