Himalayas

The Himalaya Mountains are the highest, most arduous mountain range in the world. Boasting each and every one of the fourteen highest peaks on the globe, none is more famous, or synonymous with the struggle of man versus nature, as Mount Everest. A map of the Himalayas shows that the mountains actually stretch across six separate countries, and include ranges within the Himalayas, one of which is the Karakoram Range where K2 is found. Mount Everest and K2 are two of the most famous of the Himalaya Mountains, the latter of which is considered by most mountaineers to be an even harder climb. Though a map of the Himalayas shows few peaks actually upon Chinese land, the cloud soaked peaks in Xinjang are only a couple thousand feet shorter than Everest itself, though considerably less notable.

For those who can handle a short ascent, there are thousands of serene lakes that can be found in the Himalayas, the largest being Pangong, on the Nepal-China border. However, few passes throughout the Himalaya Mountains allow people to cross. The least arduous (which is only true in relative terms) are the old offshoots of Silk Road, the Jelep La and Nathu La passes. Even these have charming monikers such as the Gate to Hell, named by Nepalese traders due to the impossibility of the terrain.

Though most travellers to China have little interest in climbing these giant peaks, the occasional trip is sent high into these mountains. But Himalaya trekking is hardly advisable for most. Even the smallest peak is often too much for an experienced climber, and any trip should be set up well ahead of time. You will need guides, not to mention all sorts of equipment that may not be readily available in the foothills of China. Most base camps are located along the Tibetan border, the main one being called, well, the Everest Base Camp. Located on the road between Lhasa and Kodari, the camp, and nearby guest houses, are set more for those who want a close up look at the towering mountains. Unfortunately, though, for most the Himalayas are for viewing purposes only. Drowned in snow at their summits, the mountains are unlike any other in the world, and true nature lovers habitually make their way to the foot of the great peaks, basking in the crisp air and majestic scenery that the land displays.

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