Friday, July 18, 2014

A Month in Tibet

Last summer, July 2013, Thai Verzone, Mike Tetreau and Prof. Dan Shain and I went to southeastern Tibet, the part that doesn't look like what you'd expect Tibet to look like. And we went in June and July when most Himalayan trekkers don't go. Why don't they go in summer? Because the summer monsoon winds bring wet weather every day and the shining mountains the walkers want to see are hidden.

Southeastern Tibet in June looks more like the Cascades in winter than the Himalaya in summer.

We also went to Lhasa, the place that looks more like your imagination -- yaks and prayer flags, no trees, rounded mountains with smooth, polar glaciers, yurts and nomads, the high grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau. But we spent just a week there in high Tibet, if you will, at the end, after three weeks in the Yarlung Tsangpo's tributary valleys.

Potola Palace at night from our hotel in Lhasa

This was the third time I'd gone to the tall, glaciated mountains of Asia, the largest alpine tundra expanse in the world, I'd guess.

A Himalayan tundra plateau steaming after a summer monsoon shower below Tsima La (16,200 feet)

Summer 2012 Young Roman and I visited Bhutan.

Tiger's Nest: Taktsang Monestary

 Summer 2011 Thai and I went to far western Yunnan Province, where China bumps up against Burma and Tibet at the headwaters of the Mekong River.

 Each of these trips we searched for the Tibetan ice worm. While we we unsuccessful with ice worms all were enormously successful otherwise.

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