The Karola Glacier (Kǎruòlā Bīngchuán, 卡若拉冰川), one of Tibet's three major continental glaciers, is located at the junction of Nanggarze and Gyantse of Tibet, a little further away from Yamdroktso Lake. It's only 71 kilometers from Gyantse, with easy access on your way to Gyantse. This glacier is also the source of the eastern part of the Nianchu River. This imposing glacier is visible from the main highway which links Lhasa and Shigatse, as it's just 300 meters from the main highway.
The Karola Glacier is backed by the southern slope of Naiqin Kangsang Peak (7,191 meters), one of the four highest peaks in Tibet. The east glacier tongue is 3 kilometers long, 750 meters wide, and the end of the glacier tongue is 5,233 meters high; the west glacier tongue is 4.5 kilometers long, 1.5 kilometers wide, and the end of the glacier tongue is 5145 meters high. The entire glacier covers an area of 9.4 sq km.
With gentle slopes towards the top of the glacier giving way to hanging glacier forms below, it's a spectacular sight, especially in the sunlight when it shines a brilliant white, like a giant thangka hanging on the mountain wall. If that's not enough, the scenery also makes it well worth the journey, with black rocks contrasting starkly with the surrounding snow-capped peaks.
The best times to visit Karola Glacier are during the spring and autumn months, and the glacier is viewable from the highway as well as a vantage point directly beneath the glaciers. Due to loose ice and year-round precipitation, the glacier has been fenced off, but the glacier’s magnificent presence can still be experienced relatively up close, and one of Karola’s enormous glacial columns stretches down the mountain, stopping just short of the road. Parts of the glacier have taken on a darker shade due to dust blowing through the range or flaring up from the nearby highway, giving Karola a uniquely multifaceted and mottled appearance and providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience for visitors who are willing to make the pilgrimage.
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