Cho Oyu is the sixth highest mountain in the world at 8,201 metres (26,906 ft) above sea level. Cho Oyu lies in the Himalayas and is 20 km west of Mount Everest, at the border between China and Nepal. Cho Oyu means "Turquoise Goddess" in Tibetan.
Cho Oyu was first attempted in 1952 by an expedition organised and financed by the Joint Himalayan Committee of Great Britain as preparation for an attempt on Mount Everest the following year. The expedition was led by Eric Shipton and included Edmund Hillary & Tom Bourdillon. A foray by Hillary and George Lowe was stopped due to technical difficulties and avalanche danger at an ice cliff above 6,650 m (21,820 ft) and a report of Chinese troops a short distance across the border influenced Shipton to retreat from the mountain rather than continue to attempt to summit.
The mountain was first climbed on October 19, 1954, via the north-west ridge by Herbert Tichy, Joseph Jöchler and Sherpa Pasang Dawa Lama of an Austrian expedition. Cho Oyu was the fifth 8000 metre peak to be climbed, after Annapurna in June 1950, Mount Everest in May 1953, Nanga Parbat in July 1953 and K2 in July 1954.
Just a few kilometres west of Cho Oyu is Nangpa La (5,716m/18,753 ft), a glaciated pass that serves as the main trading route between the Tibetans and the Khumbu's Sherpas. Due to its proximity to this pass and the generally moderate slopes of the standard northwest ridge route, some climbers consider Cho Oyu to be the easiest 8,000 metre peak to climb, and it is a popular objective for professionally guided parties.