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Bhutan to Nepal

over the Himalayas

September 24th Bhutan to Nepal

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from left Cho Oyu, Ngozumpa Kang II 7743m(white rounded one), Lobuche Ost (lower, directly in front Gyanchung), Gyanchung Kang 7952m (higher point, mid pic), Pumo Ri 7161m, Ama Dablam 6856m, Nuptse (ridge), Everest, Lhotse, Lhotse Shar, Shartse, Peak 41, Baruntse, Kangchungtse
We left fairly promptly in the morning (after a ridiculous contretemps regarding paying £8 for a bottle of wine- their card machine didn’t work- their fault clearly, and we hadn’t been able to get Bhutanese money- not our fault as the ATMs don’t work, and they wouldn’t accept any other currency. They suggested we ask another guest to pay our bill!! Luckily our guide paid for us, but well....)

Anyhow, we drove to the airport and before long were on the flight back to Kathmandu. As we took off we saw Dobji Dzong, considered to be the first Dzong in Bhutan. The name Dogar, which means white border, is a reference to the “Five White Boulders” in the village of Dogar. The Dobji was built in 1531 by Ngawang Chogyal, the brother of Chojie Drukpa kuenley (Divine Madman). Legend has it that Ngawang Chogyal followed the spring originating below the throne of Jetsun Milarepa in Tibet to a rock located on the current location of Dobji Dzong, which was then chosen for its religious significance. Again it was a clear day and we had spectacular views of the Himalayas, including Kangchenjunga (3rd highest in world), Makalu (4th highest), Everest (highest), Lhotse (2nd highest) and Cho Oyu (5th highest), not to mention a host of other peaks. The order we passed was Kangchenjunga group (separate from the others); far away Tibet-Bhutan Himalayas (highest point Kangchendzonga) leading to the Tibetan Plain, Chomo Lonzo, Chamlang (steep right slope), Makalu (tallest point in group), Kanchungtse (Makalu II), Tutse/ Peak 6, Baruntse, Lhotse Shar-tse Lhotse, Everest, Nuptse, (Changtse, Khumbutse), Pumo Ri, Ama Dablam (inc Peak 41/ Mera), Gyachung Kang, Lobuche (lower, in front Gyachung), small gap, Tenzing Peak/ Ngozumpa Kang, Cho Oyu, gap, Kangtega (bulbous), Lunag Ri massif (Melungtse, Gaurishankar), foothills to Kathmandu.
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1. Kan(g)chenjunga, the world’s 3rd highest mountain, has 5 peaks (Main, Central, South, West, Kangbachen). It rises 8,586m in the Kangchenjunga Himal part of the Himalayas. Until the 1852 Trigonometrical Survey of India, Kangchenjunga was thought to be the highest, but it became clear that Everest, then known as Peak XV, was higher. Four main glaciers radiate from the peak, Zemu (the largest), Talung, Yalung, Kangchen. There are 120 glaciers in the Kanchenjunga Himal. The name Kanchinjínga (Tibetan ཆང་ཨང་ ཆིན་ ཇིང་, Nepali कंचनजंगा), means “five treasures of the high snow" referring to its 5 peaks. Lhopo people believe the treasures (salt, gold, turquoise/precious stones, sacred scriptures, invincible armour/ ammunition, grain, medicine) are hidden but revealed to the devout when the world is in peril. Kangchenjunga in Limbu is Senjelungma/ Seseylungma, and an abode of the omnipotent goddess Yuma Sammang. Kangchenjunga Main is the highest elevation of the Brahmaputra basin, which is among the largest river basins. Although the 3rd highest peak, Kangchenjunga is only 29th by topographic prominence, a measure of a mountain's independent stature. It is the 4th most prominent peak in the Himalayas, and the mid point of the western and eastern anchors of the Himalayas, Nanga Parbat and Namcha Barwa, respectively. The area around Kangchenjunga is said to be home to a mountain deity, Dzö-nga or Kangchenjunga Demon, a type of yeti or rakshasa. A British expedition in 1925 spotted a bipedal creature which the locals referred to as the "Kangchenjunga Demon". Stories by the original inhabitants, the Lepcha people, and Tibetan cultural tradition in the area around Kanchenjunga, say there is a valley of immortality hidden on its slopes. In Tibet, this valley is known as Beyul Demoshong. In 1962 a Tibetan Lama, Tulshuk Lingpa, led 300 followers into the high snow slopes of Kanchenjunga to ‘open the way’ to Beyul Demoshong (see 2011 book A Step Away from Paradise).
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Kanchenjunga with Zemu Glacier to the right; next page South face and fly-over view
Zemu Glacier is the largest glacier in the Eastern Himalayas. It is 26 km long and located at the base of Kangchenjunga. The Zemu Glacier drains the east side of Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain. The glacier is the source of water for numerous rivers, as it feeds them when it melts. Zemu Glacier remains a less studied and monitored glacier. The glacier has receded 27m every year 1967-84. The retreat is not massive given the great length of the glacier and a thick layer of debris on the glacier prevents ablation; however, small lakes have formed on the surface of these debris-covered sections. After the Kanchenjunga group there was a section of lower (relatively) until we reached the Makalu and Everest groups.
2. Chamlang is a mountain in the Nepalese Himalayas, near Makalu with an elevation of 7,319 metres.
3. Chomo Lonzo (Chinese Zhūmùlóngsuõ Fēng, Chomolonzo,
Jomolönzo,Lhamalangch o) is in Tibet, 5 km northeast of Makalu in Mahalungur (Mohalingor) or Khumbu Himalayas. Chomo-Lonzo has three distinct summits. The Southern main peak 7804m is joined via a 7250m saddle to the Central peak 7565m, itself joined via a 7050m saddle the mountain is to a 7200m North (North West) peak. While from Nepal to mountain is overpowered by nearby Makalu, the 5th-highest peak, the 3 peaks are a very impressive and dominating sight from Kangshung valley in Tibet. The 3000m high northeast face is a challenge as yet unclimbed. Chomo Lonzo translates to bird goddess and from the East the mountain looks like a 3 km high eagle with spread wings.
4. Makalu is the 5th highest mountain in the world at 8485 m, located in the Mahalangur Himalayas 19 km SE of Everest, on the Nepal-Tibet border. One of the 8000ers, Makalu is an isolated peak whose shape is like a 4-sided pyramid. Makalu has two notable subsidiary peaks, Kangchungtse, or Makalu II 7,678m about 3 km north-northwest of the main summit and Chomo Lonzo rising about 5 km north-northeast of the main summit across a broad plateau (connected to Kangchungtse by a narrow 7,200 m saddle. After this group around Makalu there was a small gap (due mainly to the cloud) before the famous mountains, glaciers and glacial lakes clustered around Mt Everest.
5. Baruntse, in the Khumbu region of eastern Nepal, is crowned by 4 peaks and bounded on the south by the Hunku Glacier, on the east by the Barun Glacier, by the Imja Glacier. 6. Peak 6/ Tutse, Peak 4 (6720m) and Peak 6 (Mount Tutse) 6739m
7. Shar Tse is located in Kosī Zone, Eastern Nepal. The elevation above sea level is 7444m. Imja Tse/ Island Peak was so named because it appears as a sea of ice when viewed from Dingboche. The peak was later renamed in 1983 Imja Tse but Island Peak remains popular. The peak is actually an extension of the ridge coming down off the south end of Lhotse Shar.
Imja Glacier originates on the western face of Kali Himal 7,057m, and skirts the southern slopes of Imja Tse, SE of Everest. It is joined by the Lhotse Shar and Ambulapcha Glaciers. The glacier forms the eastern extent of Imja Tsho (glacial lake), which in turn drains through the Dingboche valley to the Indian Ocean.
8. Lhotse: (Nepali: ल्होत्से; Tibetan: ལྷོཙེ་) is the 4th highest mountain at 8,516 m. Part of the Everest massif, Lhotse is connected to Everest via the South Col. Lhotse means “South Peak” in Tibetan. In addition to the main summit, the mountain comprises the smaller peaks Lhotse Middle (East) at 8,414 m and Lhotse Shar at 8,383 m. The summit is on the border between Tibet and Nepal. The western flank of Lhotse is known as the Lhotse Face. A climber for the South Col on Everest must climb this 1125m wall of glacial blue ice, which rises 40-50° with occasional 80° bulges. Lhotse Middle is a subsidiary peak to Lhotse, and the final 8000er climbed. It is a sharp, jagged peak rising 8,410m, and the most difficult peak over 8000m to climb. Lhotse Shar is a subsidiary mountain of Lhotse, and the 11th-highest mountain at 8,383 m. It has the highest fatality rate of all the eight-thousanders – for every two people who summit the mountain, one person dies.
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from left Nuptse (ridge), Everest, Lhotse
9. Everest: Nepali Sagarmatha (सगरमाथा), Tibetan Chomolungma (ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ), is Earth's highest mountain, located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. The border between Nepal-Tibet runs across its summit. In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geo-graphical Society (recommended by Andrew Waugh, British Surveyor General of India). As there were several local names, Waugh chose the name of his predecessor, Sir George Everest. Wanting to preserve local names Kangchenjunga and Dhaulagiri, Waugh's search for a local name was hampered by Nepal and Tibet's exclusion of foreigners. Many local names existed, such as Deodungha (Holy Mountain) and Tibetan Chomolungma, which appeared on a 1733 map by French geographer D'Anville. In the 19th century, European cartographers believed the native name was Gaurishankar, in fact a mountain between Kathmandu and Everest. Tibetan for Everest is ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ (Holy Mother or Qomolangma (Chomolungma/ Jo-mo-glang- ma/ Jomo Langma).
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from right Baruntse, Peak 41, Shartse, Lhotse Shar, Lhotse, Everest, Nuptse, Ama Dablam 6856, Pumo Ri 7161, Gyanchung Kang 7952 (higher point, mid pic), Lobuche Ost (lower, directly in front Gyanchung), Ngozumpa Kang II 7743 (very white rounded one), Cho Oyu (steepish left slope), Kangtega 6783 (pictures show same mountains at different journey points)
The official Chinese is Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng, infrequently translated into Chinese as Shèngmǔ Fēng (Holy Mother Peak). In 2002, the Chinese People's Daily newspaper published an article against "Mt Everest", insisting the mountain should be Mt Qomolangma, based on the local Tibetan name. The article argued that British colonialists did not "discover" the mountain, as it was known to Tibetans and mapped by the Chinese as "Qomolangma" in 1719. In 1960, the Nepalese government gave the name Sagarmāthā/ Sagar-Matha सागर-मथ्था, goddess of the sky for Everest. The southern part of Everest is regarded as one of several hidden valleys designated by Padmasambhava, a 9th century "lotus- born" Buddhist saint. At the base of the north side lies Rongbuk Monastery, the sacred threshold to Mt Everest. For Sherpas living on the slopes of Everest in the Khumbu region of Nepal, Rongbuk is an important pilgrimage, a few days across the Himalayas through Nangpa La. Miyolangsangma, a Tibetan Buddhist Goddess of Inexhaustible Giving, is believed to live at the top of Everest. According to Sherpa Buddhist monks, Everest is Miyolangsangma's palace/ playground, and climbers are only partially welcome, having arrived without invitation. The Sherpa people believe Everest is blessed with spiritual energy, and one should show reverence when passing through this sacred landscape as the karmic effects of one's actions are magnified. There are 2 main climbing routes, southeast in Nepal (standard route) and north in Tibet. While not posing substantial technical climbing challenges, Everest presents dangers such as altitude sickness, weather, wind, avalanches and Khumbu Icefall. Nearly 300 people have died on Everest, many of whose bodies remain on the mountain. By 2015 pollution, especially human waste, has reached critical levels with 26,500 pounds of human excrement left on the mountain each season, strewn across the route to the summit. The problem of human waste is compounded by the presence of spent oxygen tanks, abandoned tents, empty cans and bottles. The Nepalese government now requires each climber to pack 8kg of waste when descending.
10. Nuptse or Nubtse (Sherpa: ཎུཔ་ ཙེ་; Wylie: Nub rtse) is a mountain in the Khumbu region of the Mahalangur Himal, in the Nepalese Himalayas. It lies 2 km WSW of Everest. Nubtse is Tibetan for "west peak", as it is the western segment of the Lhotse-Nubtse massif. The summit of Nuptse is extremely dangerous due to loose snow with a lot of hollows, and weakly attached cornices of snow. The long east- west trending main ridge is crowned by 7 peaks. While Nuptse is a dramatic peak when viewed from the south or west, and it towers above the base camp for the standard south col route on Everest, it is not a particularly independent peak.
11. Pumori (Nepali परिवर्मी) or Pumo Ri is a mountain on the Nepal-Tibet border in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas, just 8 km west of Everest. Pumori, meaning “the Mountain Daughter” was named by George Mallory. “Pumo” means young girl/ daughter and “Ri” means mountain. Climbers sometimes refer to it as Everest’s daughter, but Mallory called it Clare Peak, after his daughter. Pumori is a popular climbing peak. An outlier of Pumori is Kala Patthar (5,643m), which appears as a brown bump of the south face of Pumori.
12. Ama Dablam is a mountain in the east Nepal Himalaya range. The main peak is 6,812m, the lower western peak is 6,170m. Ama Dablam means "Mother's necklace"; the long ridges on each side like the arms of a mother (ama) protecting her child, and the hanging glacier the dablam, the traditional double-pendant containing pictures of the gods, worn by Sherpa women. Ama Dablam is the 3rd most popular Himalayan peak for climbing. The most popular route is the Southwest Ridge (right skyline in photo). Climbers set up camps along the ridge with camp 3 just below and to the right of the hanging Dablam glacier. Any ice that calves off the glacier typically goes left, away from the camp.
13. Peak 41 (True Mera Peak) 6648m, located 8.5km N-NE of its famous lower neighbour Mera Peak (6476m), one of the most popular “trekking peaks" in Nepal. Peak 41 has a prominence of approx. 850m. Its parent mountain is Ama Dablam.
14. Khumbutse (Chinese: 坤布崎峰 Kūnbùzī Fēng); Nepali खुम्बटट; is the first mountain west (6 km) of Everest. It lies at the border between Nepal and China. Khumbutse's name indicates its location at the head of the Khumbu valley, down which the Khumbu Glacier flows.
15. Changtse (Tibetan: "north peak") is situated between the Main Rongbuk and East Rongbuk Glaciers in Tibet, immediately north of Everest. It is connected to Mount Everest via the North Col. Changtse Glacier flows north into the East Rongbuk Glacier. It is possible that the third highest lake in the world is in the Changtse Glacier at 6,216 m.
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Khumbu Icefall
Khumbu Icefall is an icefall located at the head of Khumbu Glacier and the foot of the Western Cwm, at an altitude of 5,486 m on the Nepali slopes of Mount Everest, not far above Base Camp and southwest of the summit. The icefall is considered one of the most dangerous stages of the South Col route to Everest's summit. Khumbu glacier forms an icefall and moves at such speed that large crevasses open with little warning, and the large towers of ice (seracs) found at the icefall have been known to collapse suddenly. Huge blocks of ice tumble down the glacier from time to time, their size ranging from that of cars to large houses. It is estimated that the glacier advances 0.9 to 1.2 m down the mountain every day. Most climbers try to cross the icefall during the very early morning, before sunrise, when it has partially frozen during the night. As the intense sunlight warms the area, the friction between the ice structure lessens and increases the chances of crevasses opening or blocks of ice falling. Strong climbers can ascend the icefall in a few hours, while climbers going through it for the first time, or lacking experience, tend to make the journey in 10–12 hours.
16. Gyachung Kang (Nepali: गय् ाचुङ्काङ, Gy'chung K'ng; Chinese Gézhòngk'ng F#ng) 7,952m is a mountain in the Mahalangur Himal section of the Himalaya, and the highest peak between Cho Oyu (8,201 m) and Everest (8,848 m). It lies on the border between Nepal and China. As the 15th highest peak in the world, it is also the highest peak under 8000 m; hence it is less well-known than the lowest of the eight- thousanders, which are only about 100 m higher. The peak's lack of significant prominence (700 m) also contributes to its relative obscurity.
17. Lobuche (Lobuje) is a Nepalese mountain close to Khumbu Glacier. There are two main peaks, Lobuche East (6,119m) and Lobuche West (6,145m). As the easier, trekking peak, the East peak is climbed far more frequently than the West peak. Between the two peaks is a long deeply notched ridge.
18. Tenzing Peak/ Ngozumpa Kang is the name which has been proposed by the Government of Nepal for a 7,916m peak in the Himalayas in honour of Tenzing Norgay, who made the first ascent of Everest with Edmund Hillary in 1953. It is also known as Ngojumba Kang, Ngozumpa Kang and Ngojumba Ri. Ngozumpa glacier, below Cho Oyu, at 36 kilometres, is the longest glacier in the Himalayas. Ngozumpa Glacier is a large persistent body of ice. It flows slowly due to stresses induced by its weight.
19. Cho Oyu (Nepali: चो ओयु; Tibetan: ཆོ་ ཨོཡུ་) is the 6th highest mountain in the world at 8,188 m. Cho Oyu means Turquoise Goddess in Tibetan. The mountain is the westmost major peak of the Khumbu sub section of the Mahalangur Himalaya 20km west of Everest on the China-Nepal border. Just 2 km west of Cho Oyu is Nangpa La 5,716m, a glaciated pass that is the main trading route between Tibet and Khumbu's Sherpas as it separates the Khumbu and Rolwaling Himalayas. Due to its proximity to this pass and the moderate slopes of the northwest ridge, Cho Oyu is considered the easiest 8,000 metre peak to climb.
20. Kangtega, aka The Snow Saddle, is a major mountain peak of the Himalayas in Nepal. Its summit rises 6,782 metres

After this group there was quite a gap, followed by a set of mountains in the Rolwaling Himal section of the Himalayas. The two major mountains in this group, which crosses the Nepal-Tibet-India border, are Gaurishankar and Melungtse.
21.Gaurishankar (Gauri Sankar; Devanagari गौरीशंकर; Tibetan: Jomo Tseringma) is a mountain in the Himalayas, the 2nd highest peak of the Rolwaling Himal, behind Melungtse (7,181m). The name comes from the Hindu goddess Gauri, a manifestation of Durga, and her Consort Shankar, denoting the sacred regard to which it is afforded it by the peoples of Tibet and Nepal. The Buddhist Sherpas call the mountain Jomo Tseringma. The Nepal Standard Time (GMT+05:45) is based on the meridian of this mountain peak. The mountain has two summits, the northern (higher) summit being called Shankar (a manifestation of Shiva) and the southern summit being called Gauri (a manifestation of Durga). It rises dramatically above the Bhote Kosi only 5 km away, and is protected on all sides by steep faces and long, corniced ridges.
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Melungtse(r) and Gaurishankar(l); glacier
22. Melungtse (Tibetan Jobo Garu; Chinese Qiáogérú F#ng) is the highest mountain of the Rolwaling Himal in the Himalayas at 7181 m and 40 km west of Everest.
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Main summit in background, Melungtse II left peak on the ridge.
The peak has a long summit ridge capped by the east (main) summit and the west summit, known as Melungtse II 7,023m. The mountain's steep faces make it more difficult than its elevation would suggest. Melungtse lies just north of the Nepal–Tibet border, on a western spur ridge coming out of the main north-south trending ridge of the Rolwaling Himal, in Tingri County, Shigatse Prefecture of Tibet. To the southwest, across the Menlung Chu, lies Gauri Sankar, which, though a bit lower (7134 m), is more visible from Nepal and better known.
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Western Everest range; from left Lunag Ri massif (multiple points mid to far left), Kangtega (bulbous point mid pic), Cho Oyu, Ngozumpa Kang II, Gyachung Kang
We landed mid morning back in Kathmandu, found our cases (no carousel, just abandoned) and were collected by a new guide, Keshav (or KK as he preferred). On our way back to the Hotel Vaishali again we stopped at a photo booth for a new photo for the Tibet visa because the Chinese Embassy had decided that all photos now needed to be in a different format, rather than passport size (and apparently needed to see ears in the photos!?). Back finally at the hotel we met some new companions Amy and Michael. KK asked if we’d like a walk through Old Kathmandu to Durbar Square to witness the Indra Kumari Jatra festivals. Naturally I jumped at the chance, so the 6 of us set off.

Posted by PetersF 07:27 Archived in Nepal Tagged himalayas nepal bhutan kathmandu Comments (0)

Tibet to Nepal

over sacred lakes and mountains


View Himalayas on PetersF's travel map.

October 1st Lhasa, Tibet

Our last day in Tibet. After breakfast we retrieved our passports and the minibus collected us for our drive to the airport. As we left Lhasa, the driver (Tashi Delek) said he’d take us over the river to get a nice view of Lhasa and the Potala as it was so sunny.
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Lhasa (Kyichu) River 吉中/ 拉萨河 Altitude: 3,580 to 5,200 m. Originating from the middle part of the Nyainqentanglha Mountain's north face, Lhasa River flows through Meldro Gungkar County, Dagze County and Lhasa City and eventually merges into Yarlung Tsangbo River. As the longest tributary of Yarlung Tsangbo River, it drains an area of about 32,471 km2. Lhasa River is called Kyichu River in Tibetan, which means 'Happy River'. There is a saying that an ancient clan named Kyichu once lived along the river. Lhasa River influenced Lhasa City's development. In 633AD, Songtsen Gampo moved the capital to Lhasa Valley, which developed into the political, economic and cultural centre of Tibet. With an area of approx 16,000 km2, it supports a population of around 600,000. It is famed as one of the three largest largest granaries in Tibet. The other two are Nia-Chu River Valley and Yarlung Tsangbo River Valley.
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Left- Kyichu valley in Autumn colours; right- mountains between Bhutan and Tibet (north faces) from the left Karjiang II 7045m (unclimbed) and Karijang III (Taptol Kangri) 6824m- look like 1 mountain, Karjiang I 7221m (unclimbed), Kula Kangri (divided NE 7381m Central 7418m, Main 7538m), dip down, then Jiexiang 6676m, Gangsha Lamo 6722m, snowfield to N.Gangkar Punsum 6885m (unconfirmed) and Gangkhar Phuensum 7570m (unclimbed) centre, Gejag Kangri I 6944m and Geja Kangri II 6920m, dip in which forefront is P5962, long mountain plateau ends with Table Mountain (Chomolhari Kang/ Zangophu Kang 7034m.

We were chatting about Buddhist images and Drolma explained about “mud” statues. These are Tsha Tshas, and are small clay figurines unique to Tibet. Their small size made them convenient for early Buddhist pilgrims to take. They have characteristics associated with different monasteries. Tsha Tshas features images of Buddha, Buddhist deities and Bodhisattvas. There are round, square and triangular types, usually a few cm wide. Some consist of a single image while some are comprised of hundreds of images. The most common raw material for Tsha Tsha is clay, shaped using a concave-shaped mould, then dried or fired in a kiln. Sometimes colours are painted on. Wild oats or sacred objects are embedded into the back at the time od making. Valuable Tsha Tshas are made with precious “medicinal” materials such as pearl, agate and saffron embedded in them. Such figurines are believed to provide curing properties as well spiritual assistance. The most precious Tsha Tshas are made of the mixture of clay and the ashes/remains of a lama. They are like mini stupas and are carried as amulets capable of warding off wickedness and strong magic. Tibetan monks and lay persons make Tsha Tsha is to accumulate Buddhist merit. The completed Tsha Tsha is mainly used to fill the inner shrines of bigger stupas or statues. Tsha Tsha are also used for dispelling illness or praying for good luck. Sometimes they are worshiped at Tsha-khangs, sacred cairns placed at sacred mountain, lakes and caves. Tsha Tshas are often found with prayer flags and Mani Stones.

Yaks
Finally we got to see the wildlife of Tibet. We stopped to look at various birds and mammals. Luckily we saw several wild and domestic yak herds. Yaks, of course, are a hugely symbolic creature for Tibetans. They use every part of a whole yak; the meat (totally delicious), milk, butter, fat (cooking, lighting, heating), bones (kitchen implements, tools, decoration) and so on. The horns (and skull) have a specific function; they are put over the entrance to a dwelling as protection (and welcome), probably from the old shamanistic Bon religion.
The domestic yak (Bos grunniens) is a long-haired domesticated bovid found in the Himalayan region of the Indian subcontinent, Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia. It is descended from the wild yak (Bos mutus). The English word "yak" originates from Tibetan: གཡག་. In Tibetan, it refers only to the male, the female being called Tibetan: འབྲི་: 'bri. In English, we tend to say yak bull or cow. Yaks belong to the genus Bos and are therefore related to cattle. Mitochondrial DNA analyses to determine the evolutionary history of yaks have been inconclusive. They may have diverged from cattle at any point between one and five million years ago, and there is some suggestion that it may be more closely related to bison. The species was originally designated as Bos grunniens ("grunting ox") by Linnaeus in 1766, but this name is now generally only considered to refer to the domesticated form of the animal, with Bos mutus ("mute ox") being the preferred name for the wild species. Both sexes have long shaggy hair with a dense woolly undercoat over the chest, flanks, and thighs to insulate them from the cold. Especially in bulls, this may form a long "skirt" that can reach the ground. The tail is long and horse like rather than tufted like cattle or bison.
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Domesticated yaks have a wide range of coat colours, white, grey, brown, roan or piebald. The udder in females and the scrotum in males are small and hairy, as protection against the cold. Yaks grunt and don’t produce the characteristic bovine lowing (mooing) sound. Yak physiology is well adapted to high altitudes, having larger lungs and heart than cattle, as well as greater capacity for transporting oxygen through their blood due to the persistence of foetal haemoglobin throughout life. Conversely, yaks have trouble thriving at lower altitudes, and are prone to suffering from heat exhaustion above about 15 °C. Further adaptations to the cold include a thick layer of subcutaneous fat, and an almost complete lack of functional sweat glands. Compared with domestic cattle, the rumen of yaks is unusually large, relative to the omasum. This likely allows them to consume greater quantities of low-quality food at a time, and to ferment it longer so as to extract more nutrients. Yak consume the equivalent of 1% of their body weight daily while cattle require 3% to maintain condition. Contrary to popular belief, yak and their manure have little to no detectable odour and their wool is naturally odour resistant. ln Tibet and Mongolia, domestic cattle are crossbred with yaks. This gives rise to the infertile male dzo མཛོ། as well as fertile females known as མཛོ་མོ། dzomo or zhom, which may be crossed again with cattle. Domesticated yaks have been kept for thousands of years, primarily for their milk, fibre and meat, and as beasts of burden. Their dried droppings are an important fuel, used all over Tibet, and are often the only fuel available on the high treeless Tibetan Plateau. Yaks transport goods across mountain passes for local farmers and traders as well as for climbing and trekking expeditions. They are used to draw ploughs. Yak's milk is often processed to a cheese called chhurpi in Tibetan, and byaslag in Mongolia. Butter made of yak's milk is an ingredient of the butter tea that Tibetans consume in large quantities, and is also used in lamps and made into butter sculptures used in religious festivities.
The wild yak (Bos mutus) is a large wild bovid native to the Himalayas. It is the ancestor of the domestic yak (Bos grunniens). The ancestor of the wild and domestic yak is thought to have diverged from Bos primigenius at a point between one and five million years ago. The wild yak is now normally treated as a separate species from the domestic yak (Bos grunniens), but they breed together very easily. The coat is typically black or dark brown covering most of the body, with a grey muzzle, although some wild golden-brown individuals have been reported. Wild yaks with gold coloured hair are known as the Wild Golden Yak and are considered an endangered subspecies, with an estimated population of 170 left in the wild. The diet of wild yaks consists largely of grasses and sedges, such as Carex, Stipa, and Kobresia. They also eat a smaller amount of herbs, winterfat shrubs, and mosses, and have even been reported to eat lichen. Historically, the main natural predator of the wild yak has been the Tibetan wolf, but brown bears and snow leopards have been reported as predators of young or infirm wild yaks. Wild yaks are herd animals of up to several hundred. Herds consist primarily of females and young, with a smaller number of adult males. On average female yaks graze 100m higher than males.The remaining males are either solitary, or found in small groups of around six individuals. Groups move into lower altitude ranges during the winter.

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We finally arrived at the airport and had a few bureaucratic hoops to leave (surprisingly) before boarding our plane. It was a glorious sunny day again and we had chosen to sit the opposite side as going out so we could see the whole Tibetan Plain, the wonderful lakes AND the mountains. The views were just spectacular.
We started on the Plateau, which is high already, so the “hills” did not look so impressive. However, we soon came into sight of the glorious lakes region, of which the largest and most impressive are sacred Yamdrok, and Puma Yumco, both deep turquoise. In the background were the Himalayan ranges that make the border between Tibet and Bhutan.
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Yamdrok Lake (Yamdrok Yumtso/ Yamzho Yumco ཡར་དྲོག་ ག་་མཚོ་ =yar-'drog/ G’yu-mtsho/ Yamzhog Yumco, Yángzhu Yngcuò) is a freshwater lakes in Tibet. It is over 72 km long, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and fed by numerous small streams. The lake has an outlet stream at its far western end. Yamdrok means turquoise, due to its colour. Like mountains, lakes are considered sacred by Tibetan people, the principle being that they are the dwelling places of protective deities and therefore invested with special spiritual powers. Yamdrok Lake is a particularly holy lakes, thought to be divinatory; everyone from the Dalai Lama to local villagers makes pilgrimages there. It is considered one of the four "Great Wrathful Lakes" guarded by the goddess Dorje Gegkyi Tso (the others are Lhamo La-tso, Namtso and Manasarovar). The lake is revered as a talisman and said to be part of the life-spirit of Tibet. The largest lake in southern Tibet, it is said that if its waters dry, Tibet will no longer be habitable. The lake, its islands, and surrounding area are closely associated with Padmasambhava, the Second Buddha, who brought Buddhism to Tibet in 8th century AD. The lake is home to the famous Samding Monastery on a peninsula jutting into the lake. This monastery is the only Tibetan monastery to be headed by a female re-incarnation. Since it is not a nunnery, its female abbot heads a community of about 30 monks and nuns. Samding is where Samding Dorje Phagmo, the most important female incarnate Lama in Tibet, presided, and stands to the south of Lake Yamdrok Yumtso. Pilgrims and tourists can walk along the lake's perimeter. One of the lake's islands contains an old fort or castle called Pede Dzong.
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Lake Puma Yumco ཕུ་མ་གཡུ་མཚོ is located at 5,030m on the southern Tibetan Plateau. It is 32 km long, 14 km wide, and covers an area of 280 km2. Streams of water from the snow capped surrounding mountains feed the lake, but it has no outlet. Some sediment can be seen entering the lake at its western end. Puma Yumco literally means The Blue Jewel Floating in the Sky. The lake freezes in winter and is crossed by shepherds with their sheep. Since the climate is warming, the ice is becoming thinner which creates a problem for the 120 people living around the lake. The lake is considered ultraoligotrophic, meaning that nutrient concentrations in both the water column and lake sediments are extremely low. Water in such lakes tends to be blue to blue-green and to have high clarity due to low levels of photosynthesizing organisms such as phytoplankton. During the winter, the lake develops intricate ice block patterns on the surface, ranging from 10 - <100m diameter. The ice pattern is caused by repeated cycles of freezing, fracturing and refreezing of the ice due to variations in temperature and wind-induced ice motion.

Noijin Kangsang (Norin Kang), is the highest peak of Lhagoi Kangri mountain range in Tibet. It lies between Yarlung Tsangpo River (north), Yamdrok Lake (east) and the Himalayas mountain range (South).
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Looking from Kamba La to Yamdrok Yumtso, with towering Noijinkangsang in the distance; from the air. Elevation 7,191 m Ranked 105th. Prominence 2,145m Col 5046m
In the distance was the Himalayan range dividing Bhutan-Tibet-Nepal. From the left it rose from virtually nothing up to Karjiang II 7045m (unclimbed) and Karjiang III (Taptol Kangri) 6824m. They look like 1 mountain, and as with many around Bhutan are unclimbed due to religious regions. This continued to Karjiang I 7221m (unclimbed), and Kula Kangri (divided into 3 peaks- NE 7381m Central 7418m, Main 7538m). After these there was a deep dip down, then Jiexiang 6676m and Gangsha Lamo 6722m. This was followed by a large snowfield and N.Gangkar Punsum 6885m? (unconfirmed) and Gangkhar Phuensum 7570m (unclimbed) [in the centre of the photo below]. The next mountains were Gejag Kangri I 6944m and Geja Kangri II 6920m, with a dip in the forefront and P5962. The long mountain plateau ends with Table Mountain (Chomolhari Kang/ Zangophu Kang) 7034m.
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Karjiang is a mountain in Tibet, located near the Bhutan–China border. The highest peak of the Karjiang group is Karjiang I or Karjiang South, with an elevation of 7,221 metres it remains unclimbed. Other peaks include Karjiang North (7196 m), Karjiang II/Central (7045 m), Karjiang III or Taptol Kangri (6820 m) and the top of the north-eastern shoulder (6400 m). In 1986, a Japanese expedition led by N. Shigo climbed Karjiang II (Central). Karjiang I remains unclimbed. A Dutch expedition climbed Karjiang III as Karjiang I looked very steep and difficult to climb, and the bad weather made an attempt too dangerous. In 2010, Joe Puryear and David Gottlieb attempted climbing Karjiang. However, they did not receive the necessary permit, and made an attempt to climb Labuche Kang 420 km west, during which Puryear died.

Kula Kangri (7554m) is claimed by many authorities to be the highest mountain in Bhutan but this is disputed by others, who claim that Kula Kangri is wholly in Tibet. The mountain occupies two ranges, the Himalaya and Bhutan Himalaya. Chinese and Japanese authorities claim nearby Gangkhar Puensum is higher, and the claim that Kula Kangri is in or on the border with Bhutan is challenged here. Prominence 1,669m, col 5884m.

Gangkhar Puensum གངས་དཀར་སྤུན་གསུམ་ Kangkar Punsum, Gangkar Punsum or Gankar Punzum) is the highest mountain in Bhutan and a strong candidate for the highest unclimbed mountain in the world with an elevation of 7,570 m and a prominence of 2,995 m (and col of 4575m). Its name means "White Peak of the Three Spiritual Brothers". It lies on the border with Tibet (however, see below for disputes about its exact location). After Bhutan was opened for mountaineering in 1983 four expeditions resulted in failed attempts in 1985/6. However, in 1998, a team successfully climbed a subsidiary peak of the mountain from Tibet. The elevation of Gangkhar Puensum was first measured in 1922 but maps of the region were not accurate and the mountain was shown in different locations with markedly different heights.
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Kula Kangri and Gophu La pass
Indeed, because of inadequate mapping, the first team to attempt the summit was unable to find the mountain at all. The 1986 British expedition gives the mountain's height as 7,550 m and states that Gangkhar Puensum is completely inside Bhutan, with nearby Kula Kangri is completely inside Tibet. Kula Kangri, 7,554 metres, is a separate mountain 30 km to the NE variously mapped and described as being in Tibet or Bhutan. In
1994 climbing mountains in Bhutan higher than 6,000 m has been prohibited out of respect for local spiritual beliefs, and since 2003 mountaineering has been forbidden completely. Gangkhar Puensum may keep its unique status for some time: any higher unclimbed peaks in the world are likely to be subsidiary tops, not separate mountains. In 1998 a Japanese expedition secured permission from the Chinese Mountaineering Association to climb the mountain, but permission was withdrawn because of a political issue with Bhutan. Instead, in 1999, the team set off from Tibet and successfully climbed the 7,535 metre subsidiary peak Liankang Kangri (aka Gangkhar Puensum North). Unlike most maps, the expedition's report shows this summit as being in Tibet and the Tibet–Bhutan border crossing the summit of Gangkhar Puensum.

Gejag Kangri is a mountain in the Himalayas in the south of Tibet (PR China). Gejag Kangri has an altitude of 6970m (6944 m from other sources). The mountain is located north of the eastern Himalayan main ridge in a region claimed by China and Bhutan. The glaciated mountain lies 10.87 km east-northeast of Zongophu Kang (7047 m). The west flank of the Gejag Kangri feeds Lake Puma Yumco, while the eastern slopes of the Lhobrak Chhu, a tributary of the Manas, are drained. 3.24 km south-southeast rises the 6950 m high Gejag Kangri South.
P5962 is a peak in the Himalayas with no name, its reference is its height, 5962m.

Jomolhari/ Chomolhari ཇོ་མོ་ལྷ་རི 7326m sometimes known as "the bride of Kangchenjunga”, or Table Mountain is a mountain in the Himalayas, straddling the border between Yadong County of Tibet and Thimphu district of Bhutan. Prominence 2,077m, col 5249m. The north face rises over 2,700 m above the barren plains. The mountain is the source of the Paro Chhu (Paro river) which flows from the south side and the Amo Chhu which flows from the north side. The mountain is sacred to Tibetan Buddhists who believe it is the abode of one of the Five Tsheringma Sisters (jo mo tshe ring mched lnga), female protector goddesses (Jomo) of Tibet and Bhutan, who were bound under oath by Padmasambhava to protect the land, Buddhist faith and local people. On the Bhutanese side is a Jomolhari Temple, toward the south side of the mountain about a half-day's journey from Thangthangkha and Jangothang at an altitude of 4150 m for pilgrims visiting Mt. Jomolhari. There are several other sacred sites near Jomolhari Temple, including the meditation caves of Milarepa and Gyalwa Lorepa. Within an hour's walk up from the temple at an altitude of 4450 m is Tseringma Lhatso, the "spirit lake" of Tsheringma. In Tibet there is an annual pilgrimage from Pagri to a holy lake, Jomo Lharang, which lies at 5,100 m elevation, just north of the mountain. Because Jomolhari the sacred home of goddesses, those living nearby believed it was impossible to climb, and that anyone who climbed too high would be thrown down. Despite its spectacular visibility from the old trade route between India and Lhasa that passes through the Chumbi Valley, the mountain has seen little climbing activity, only being summitted in 1937 and 1970. In the second Dorjee Lhatoo and Prem Chand were charged with laying a "Sachu Bumter" offering on the summit by the Bhutanese King to “appease” mountain deities, a pot containing gold, silver and precious stones. The following day, a second party of three were spotted close to the ridge when they became obscured by cloud. When the cloud lifted, they were gone. A telephoto lens and fruit cans were found on the ridge by a search party. Prem Chand went up to the ridge and reported gunshots thudding into the ice and whipping up ice chips, ending any attempts in locating the missing bodies. Lhatoo and Prem Chand, on their way up during their successful and Prem Chand, on their way up summit attempt had reported seeing a lot of PLA activity on the summit attempt had reported seeing a lo Lhasa-Chumbi highway. The reason for their disappearance remains speculative- did they fall or were they shot? All three were relatively inexperienced climbers and Lhatoo later speculated on the exposure on the knife-edged ridge leading to the summit slope as a possible incident. He (an ex-Gurkha) believed the shooting theory to be unlikely but possible, citing his difficulty in estimating the distance between the ridge and possible Chinese positions on the Tibetan side. An expedition account is available in the Himalayan Journal 2000. Prem Chan has not spoken publicly on the matter. Chinese displeasure with Bhutan over the expedition and sensitivities in New Delhi led to a complete media blackout.
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Chomolhari mountain, glacier and glacial lake.
Behind Chomolhari were Liankang Kangri and Gangkar Puensum (Kangkar Phünsum). Liangkang Kangri is a mountain peak in the Himalayas on the border between Bhutan and China, at the southeastern end of territory claimed by both countries. Liangkang Kangri is 7,535 m high. To the south, a ridge leads to the 7,570-m Gangkhar Puensum 2 km to the south-southeast . Due to the low saddle height of 234 m, Liangkang Kangri is not regarded as an independent mountain. Westward a ridge leads to the 6,680-m high Chumhari Kang. The Liangkanggletscher on the northwest flank and the Namsanggletscher on the eastern flank of Liangkang Kangri form the headwaters of the Lhobrak Chhu, a source river of Kuri Chhu. The glacier on the southwest flank belongs to the catchment area of Angde Chhu. Soon after this we began passing the north face of the Kanchenjunga (Kangchendzonga) range and some time after the Everest range.
Kangphu Kang/Shimokangri is a mountain in the Himalayas, whose parent peak is Tongshanjiabu. At 7,204 m above sea level it is the 107th highest mountain in the world. The peak is located on the border between Tibet and Bhutan. The mountain has two significant subsidiary peaks, both located within Bhutan:

  • Jejekangphu Kang (elevation = 6,965 m; prominence = 925 m)
  • Kangphu Kang II (elevation = 6,945 m; prominence = 725 m) Kangphu Kang was first climbed in 2002 by a South Korean expedition. Parent peak Tongshanjiabu Kirat Chuli

Tongshanjiabu ཊོང་ ཤན་ ཇིཨ་ བུ་ is a mountain in the Himalayas. At 7,207 m tall, Tongshanjiabu is the 103rd tallest mountain in the world. It sits in the disputed border territory between Bhutan and China. Tongshanjiabu has never been officially climbed. The name "Tongshanjiabu" is indicated on a map from the Japanese The region's highpoint is sometimes given as "Teri Kang", but this appears to be the name of a subsidiary top. Prominence 1757m col 5450m.
Kirat Chuli or Tent Peak is a mountain in the Himalayas. It lies on the border between Nepal and India. Elevation 7,365 m Prominence 1,168m.Kirat People or Kirati Limbu Kirat Mundhum Kirat Chuli name in the Limbu language God Kirat and is believed to be an abode of the omnipotent goddess Yuma Sammang of Sikkim Limbu People.
Jongsong Peak is a mountain in the Janak section of the Himalayas. At 7,462 m it is the 57th highest peak in the world, although it is dominated by 3rd highest, Kangchenjunga, 20 km to the south. Jongsong's summit is on tri-junction of India, Nepal and China. An adjoining peak is called called Dome Kang. Langtang Ri is a mountain in the Langtang Himal of the Himalayas. At an elevation of 7,205 m it is the 106th highest mountain in the world. Located on the border between the Bagmati Zone, Nepal and Tibet, it is part of a group of high peaks that include Shishapangma (8,013 m) and Porong Ri (7,292 m). Porong Ri is a mountain in the Langtang region of the Himalayas. At 7,292 m it is the 86th highest mountain in the world. The peak is located in Tibet 1 km northeast of the Nepal border.
Shishapangma ཤི་ཤ་སྦང་མ། aka Gosainthān शिशापाङ्मा Shishāpāngmā or गोसाईथान Gōsāīthān, is the 14th highest mountain in the world at 8,027 m above sea level. It was the last 8,000 metre peak to be climbed, due to its location entirely within Tibet and the restrictions on foreign travellers imposed by China. The name means "grassy plain/meadow" (pangma) above a "comb/ "range" (shisha or chisa) in the local Tibetan dialect, ie "crest above the grassy plains Alternatively it is from Standard Tibetan shisha "meat of an animal that died of natural causes" and sbangma "malt dregs from brewing beer". According to the story, one year a heavy snowfall killed most of the animals at pasture. All that the people living near the mountain had to eat was the meat of dead animals and malt dregs leftover from brewing beer, and so the mountain was named Shisha Pangma (shisha sbangma) ie "meat of dead animals and malty dregs".
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Shishapangma (left) from mountain flight, Nepal
The Sanskrit name, Gosainthan, means "place of the saint" or "Abode of God". Shishapangma is in south-central Tibet, 5 km from the border with Nepal and the only 8000er entirely within Tibet. It is also the highest peak in the Jugal Himal which is contiguous with and often considered part of Langtang Himal, which straddles the Tibet/Nepal border. Since Shishapangma is on the dry north side of the Himalayan crest and further from the lower terrain of Nepal, it has less dramatic vertical relief than most major Himalayan peaks. Shishapangma has a subsidiary peak higher than 8000 m: Central-Peak 8008 m. Shishapangma's ascent is still in dispute.
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Posted by PetersF 07:43 Archived in Nepal Tagged himalayas nepal tibet lhasa kathmandu yamdrok Comments (0)

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