The Lho La is a col on the border between Nepal and Tibet north of the Western Cwm, near Mount Everest. It is at the lowest point of the West Ridge of the mountain at a height of 6,006 metres (19,704 ft).
Historically, the col was used as a pass over the lowest point of Everest's West Ridge for traders between Nepal and Tibet on the route between Namche Bazaar and Tingri at a time when Everest's glaciers were much higher than at present and traversing the col involved less steep climbing. However, as the glaciers declined the favoured trade route became the Nangpa La, to the west.
Following the 1952 Swiss Mount Everest expedition it was suggested that "Lho La" (South Pass) was an unsatisfactory name because it lies to the west of Everest and it would better be renamed "Khumbu La" because it led up from the Khumbu Glacier. This would allow the South Col to be called "Lho La" as it is the col south of Everest and between it and Lhotse. Unfortunately the Nangpa La had been called the Khumbu La in the past and was still sometimes being called by that name. British sentiment was against the proposed name changes and the new names never stuck.
The first western explorers to discover the col were George Mallory and Guy Bullock on the 1921 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition although it was only Bullock who actually reached it. They were exploring the West Rongbuk Glacier in Tibet hoping it might give access to a route for reaching the summit of Everest.They named it "Lho La", meaning "South Pass" simply because it was to the south of where they were. This rather self-centred decision was to give difficulties later, as mentioned above. Lho La gave access to Everest's West Ridge and to its Western Cwm but they thought neither of these gave feasible ways of ascent.
Lho La was also investigated by Bill Tilman and Edmund Wigram on the 1935 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition but, like the 1921 explorers, they also preferred the North Col route for a summit attempt.
By 1951 China's occupation of Tibet and the opening of Nepal to foreigners meant that Everest was only accessible from the south. A Dane, Klavs Becker-Larsen travelled to Khumbu with the intention of entering Tibet secretly and attempting the North Col route. His attempts to cross the frontier by climbing the Lho La were unsuccessful and he had to retreat.
A British reconnaissance in 1951 assessed the route through the Khumbu Icefall to the Western Cwm, hence by-passing Lho La, and in subsequent years this was the line that was followed, so leading to the South Col and the Southeast Ridge.The successful ascent of Everest in 1963 by Americans Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld via the West Ridge and the Hornbein Couloir was achieved by climbing from the Western Cwm to the West Shoulder, well east of the Lho La.
After unsuccessful attempts in 1974 and 1978, the first time Everest was climbed via the Lho La was in 1979 when a Yugoslavian team ascended the West Ridge from there (without diverting onto the Hornbein Couloir). Led by Tone Skarja, a team of 40 put fixed ropes up from 5,350 metres (17,550 ft) on the Khumbu Glacier and used a hand winch for 200 metres to lift 6 tons of equipment. They assessed the climbing grade as between II and III, and on the upper 150 metres (490 ft) as between IV and V, claiming this to be the highest grade V climb in the world. In 1989 five out of six climbers in a Polish team, attempting a descent that involved climbing Khumbutse from the West Rongbuk Glacier via Lho La, were swept to their deaths on the Lho La itself as they climbed above the col, with one survivor Andrzej Marciniak.
Cho Oyu is the sixth-highest mountain in the world at 8,188 metres (26,864 ft) above sea level. Cho Oyu means "Turquoise Goddess" in Tibetan. The mountain is the westernmost major peak of the Khumbu sub-section of the Mahalangur Himalaya 20 km west of Mount Everest. The mountain stands on the China–Nepal border.
The Rongbuk Glacier is located in the Himalaya of southern Tibet. Two large tributary glaciers, the East Rongbuk Glacier and the West Rongbuk Glacier, flow into the main Rongbuk Glacier. It flows north and forms the Rongbuk Valley north of Mount Everest. The famous Rongbuk Monastery is located at the northern end of the Rongbuk valley. Mount Everest is the source of the Rongbuk Glacier and East Rongbuk Glacier.
Changtse is a mountain situated between the Main Rongbuk and East Rongbuk Glaciers in Tibet Autonomous Region, China, immediately north of Mount Everest. It is connected to Mount Everest via the North Col.
The North Col refers to the sharp-edged pass carved by glaciers in the ridge connecting Mount Everest and Changtse in Tibet. It forms the head of the East Rongbuk Glacier.
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level. It is situated in the Himalayan range of Solukhumbu district, Nepal.
The Hornbein Couloir is a narrow and steep couloir high to the west on the north face of Mount Everest in Tibet, that extends from about 8,000 to 8,500 m elevation, 350 metres below the summit.
Led by Edouard Wyss-Dunant, the 1952 Swiss Mount Everest expedition saw Raymond Lambert and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reach a height of about 8,595 metres (28,199 ft) on the southeast ridge, setting a new climbing altitude record, opening up a new route to Mount Everest and paving the way for further successes by other expeditions.
The 1921 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition set off to explore how it might be possible to get to the vicinity of Mount Everest, to reconnoitre possible routes for ascending the mountain, and – if possible – make the first ascent of the highest mountain in the world. At that time Nepal was closed to foreigners, so any approach had to be from the north, through Tibet. A feasible route was discovered from the east up the Kharta Glacier and then crossing the Lhakpa La pass north east of Everest. It was then necessary to descend to the East Rongbuk Glacier before climbing again to Everest's North Col. However, although the North Col was reached, it was not possible to climb further before the expedition had to withdraw.
Lhagba La or Lhakpa La is a 6,849-metre (22,470 ft) col about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) northeast of Mount Everest in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Alexander Macmillan Heron, BSc DSc FGS FRGS, FRSE, was a Scottish geologist who became Director of the Geological Survey of India. He participated in the 1921 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition following which he produced a geological map of the Everest region of Tibet.
Kharta is a region in Tibet lying to the east of Mount Everest and centred on the Kharta valley and Kama valley. The 40-kilometre (25 mi) Kharta valley starts at the col at Lhakpa La at the head of the Kharta Glacier from which the Kharta Chu river flows east to join the Phung Chu just beyond Khata village. Nearby to the south, the Kama valley starts at the Kangshung Glacier at the foot of Everest's Kangshung Face, and the Kama Chu flows southeast to the Phung Chu. The 1921 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition discovered Kharta when reconnoitring ways to climb Mount Everest and managed to reach the North Col via the Lhakpa La. Since that time Kharta has not been used as a way to approach the summit of Everest but the two valleys have become a popular area for trekking.
Lingtren, 6,749 metres (22,142 ft), is a mountain in the Mahalangur Himal area of Himalaya, about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) distant in a direct line from Mount Everest. It lies on the international border between Nepal and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and it was first climbed in 1935. A mountain nearby to the west was originally named Lingtrennup but is now more commonly called Xi Lingchain.
Precipitated by unexpected permission from Tibet, the 1935 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition was planned at short notice as a preliminary to an attempt on the summit of Mount Everest in 1936. After exceptionally rancorous arguments involving the Mount Everest Committee in London, Eric Shipton was appointed leader following his successful trekking style of expedition to the Nanda Devi region in India in 1934.
Leslie Vickery Bryant, known as Dan Bryant, was a New Zealand school teacher and a mountain climber. He was a member of the 1935 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition, which was a preliminary to the full expedition of 1936 that attempted the summit. However in 1935 Bryant did not acclimatise well to altitude above 23,000 feet (7,000 m), and so was not included in the party for 1936. He was a very accomplished ice climber, and was well-liked on expeditions. These two factors led, indirectly, to his compatriot Edmund Hillary becoming a member of the successful 1953 British Mount Everest expedition.
The 1936 British Mount Everest expedition was a complete failure, and raised questions concerning the planning of such expeditions. This was Hugh Ruttledge's second expedition as leader. Heavy snows and an early monsoon forced their retreat on several occasions, and on the final attempt two climbers narrowly survived an avalanche. This was the first expedition in which climbers were able to carry portable radios.
Led by Bill Tilman, the 1938 British Mount Everest expedition was a low-key, low-cost expedition which was unlucky in encountering a very early monsoon. The weather conditions defeated the attempts to reach the summit. The North Col was climbed for the first time from the west and an altitude of 27,200 feet (8,300 m) was reached on the North Ridge.
After World War II, with Tibet closing its borders and Nepal becoming considerably more open, Mount Everest reconnaissance from Nepal became possible for the first time culminating in the successful ascent of 1953. In 1950 there was a highly informal trek to what was to become Everest Base Camp and photographs were taken of a possible route ahead. Next year the 1951 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition reconnoitred various possible routes to Mount Everest from the south and the only one they considered feasible was the one via the Khumbu Icefall, Western Cwm and South Col. In 1952, while the Swiss were making an attempt on the summit that nearly succeeded; the 1952 British Cho Oyu expedition practised high-altitude Himalayan techniques on Cho Oyu, nearby to the west.
The 1951 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition ran between 27 August 1951 and 21 November 1951 with Eric Shipton as leader.
The 1952 British expedition to Cho Oyu the Turquoise Goddess was organised by the Joint Himalayan Committee. It had been hoped to follow up the 1951 Everest expedition with another British attempt on Everest in 1952, but Nepal had accepted a Swiss application for 1952, to be followed in 1953 with a British attempt. So in 1952 Eric Shipton was to lead an attempt to ascend Cho Oyu, and Griffith Pugh was to trial oxygen equipment and train members for 1953. But the expedition failed both aims; that plus Shipton’s poor leadership and planning resulted in his replacement as leader for the 1953 expedition.
Breashears, David (January 2009). Everest's Melting Glaciers (video). SolveClimate.com. Retrieved 28 August 2014– via YouTube. Coordinates: – video showing the change in height of the West Rongbuk Glacier, in the area of Lho La, between the years 1921 and 2008.