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Minya Gongga Mountain

Mt.Gongga with an elevation of 7,556 meters is the highest peak of Sichuan Province, called 'the king of Shu Mountains'. The high and steep mountain is covered forever with thawless snow. If visitors look at the mountain from afar, it seems to float above a vast snow-sea. Located at the foot of the snow-peak of Mt.Gongga, Hailuogou Scenic Spot is celebrated for modern glacier at a height below sea level (most of the glaciers in the world is at a height above sea level). The sparkling modern glacier slides from the high and steep ravine. The quiet mountain ridge is adorned with big snowfall into the crystal domes and jade halls. A huge ice-bridge make the visitors seem to enter the Crystal Palace in a myth. Especially unique large icefall, 1,000 meters in height, over 1,100 meters in breadth. Near the bitterly cold glacier there is a thermal spring maintaining at a temperature of 90 degrees Celsius and a steaming hot thermal-spring falls. At the same time it is both cold and hot, and its range, of temperature is a great disparity. This is really marvelous spectacle of nature.

While wildlife on the grasslands have been deeply affected by the changes in Tibet, remote mountain peaks and valleys often serve as refuges of isolation where wildlife remains abundant. The towering peak called Minya Konka is not part of the Himalayan range, which ends far to the west of Sichuan, this peak rises to an awesome 7556 meters (24,900 feet), making it the highest peak east of the Himalayas. Its slopes were explored by the botanist and adventurer Joseph Rock in 1929 and first climbed by a four man American team (including members of the Harvard Mountaineering Club and a Chinese-American) in 1932. We revisited Minya Konka, not with the purpose of climbing it or discovering some new and notable flower, but rather to document the changes that have come to remote areas like this one. After a nearly disastrous car trip along a road which washed away into the river behind us as we watched, we arrived at the roadhead. A three day horse trip brought us to a pass at 15,300 feet, where the snow was already thick in early September. Below the pass lies the tiny village of Qimi on the foot of Minya Konka.

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