If you think you are ready to climb an 8000er, then some of the thrilling and daring choices are Cho Oyu, Shishapangma (both to be climbed from Tibet) and Gasherbrum II (Pakistan). The route to Shishapangma is relatively safer. It is not as crowded as Cho Oyu, so you can look ahead for a ‘just our team and the mountain’ experience.
Shishapangma is the 14th highest mountain in the world with altitude at the peak ranging from 8012m to 8046m. The mountain has two summits. The commonly climbed is Central summit (8012m) whose expedition we have organized several times.
Before the Chinese opened Tibet to western mountaineers in 1970, little was known about Shishapangma. The only 8000m peak to lie entirely in Tibet, it lies tantalizingly close to the Nepalese border, shrouded behind the great, but less high, board peaks of Langtang.
It is perhaps not surprising that it was the last of the 8,000m peaks to be climbed. Not that its ascent the North-Western Ridge presents any great difficulty. On the contrary, it is now regarded as one of the most straight-forward 8,000m climbs and its summit is frequently achieved. Regarded as a “holy” mountain by the local Tibetan population, and lying on the route to Mt. Kailash, Shishapangma continues to baffle everyone. Historians cannot fathom her names – Shishapangma, Xizabangma, Gosainthan, and surveyors seem unable to fix her height (anything from 8,012m to 8,046m). Even the first ascent by the Chinese in 1964 is questioned, due to the lack of photographic evidence and the fact that the summit ridge sports several subsidiary “summits”. Yet, the mountain is perhaps the most accessible of her genre, rising only a few miles west of the Kathmandu-Lhasa Highway.
The original North West Ridge route is an excellent objectively quite safe, and the terrain offers good camp sites at the Tibetan Plateau (lying in the Himalayan Shadow usually provide excellent topping-out opportunities).