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Mt. Namcha Barwa

In 2005, through a vote sponsored by Chinese National Geography, Mt. Namcha Barwa ranked No.1 among the top ten most beautiful mountains in China. Soaring 7,782m (25,531 ft), the champion is ranked as the fifteenth highest mountain in the world. It is also the highest peak among the eastern Himalayas, as well as the place at which the Yarlung Tsangpo River sharply turns south, forming the world largest canyon. Its snow-clad peak, which is believed by locals as a gathering place of deities, remains covered in clouds most of the year and rarely presents its real appearance to those who yearn with admiration to view its natural wonder. The combination of the mountain and the Yarlung Tsangpo River has created varied climates and amazing landscapes, ranging from the tropical rain forests at the bottom of the canyon to the frigid meadow zones up to its highest peak. In the Tibetan language, Namcha Barwa literally means 'burning thunders', while in [[[The Epic of King Gesar]]]*, Mt. Namcha Barwa was described as a 'spear pierced into the sky'. It is venerated as one of the residences of gods, rich in myths and legends. The best known myth tells the story about Namcha Barwa and his younger brother, Gyala Peri, both of whom were formerly sent by god as guardians of southeast Tibet. Since Gyala Peri later turned out to be the more talented, the jealous Namcha Barwa was driven so mad that one night he killed his brother and threw the head away. As punishment, Namcha Barwa was turned into a guarding mountain of his brother while the latter prolonged his existence as Mt. Gyala Peri (7,294m/23,930ft), a round-peaked mountain north to Mt. Namcha Barwa over the Yarlung Tsangpo River. The 'guilty' Namcha Barwa veils himself in clouds and appears awe-inspiring and unconquerable to mortals. Its west slope has been transformed into steep cliffs by yearly erosions, while the northwest ridge displays an awesome range of icy peaks that exceed 7,000m (22,966 ft). Frequent avalanches and earthquakes resulting from the violent plate movements of the Great Canyon area also get in the way of ascents. As early as 1910, British mountaineers attempted to climb the mountain, but failed. On October 30, 1992, a Sino-Japanese expedition conquered unimaginable difficulties and eventually reached its summit via a route over Mt. Naipun (7,043m/23,107ft), which stands the south to Mt. Namcha Barwa.

 Travel Time: Winter and autumn are considered the best time to glimpse its rare views unobstructed by clouds.

 Tips: One of the best places to view the mountain is the Seche La Mountain Pass, which stands on the Chuanzang (Sichuan-Tibet) Highway, Bayi-Pome Section. The other is at the entrance of the Great Canyon, which can be reached from a small village named Pai by 3.5-hour hiking. Daily coaches to Pai Village can be taken near the Post Hotel at Bayi and the journey probably needs four hours. Dining and lodging are available at Pai.

*The Epic of King Gesar is the world longest epic and tells stories of a legendary hero, King Gesar. Covering the history of Tibet from about 200BC to 600AD, it is a collection of Tibetan folk legends that have been verbally handed down through generations.

Comments and Questions

The earliest exploration to this mountain might start in 1960s. As I know, it was in 1992 that Chinese and Japanese Joint Mountaineering Party succeeded in reaching the top.


4/5/2009 10:54:00 PM


Asked by Ming Wei (China)

What is the climbing history of this peak? What routes? Has the west face been climbed?


4/5/2009 2:15:00 PM


Asked by Paul Glover (United States)

Mt. Namcha Barwa originates from the west section of the Himalayas. Then it goes through Nyingchi's Milin, Motuo and Bomi counties.


2/15/2009 6:55:00 PM


Asked by Lisa (China)

where is mt.namcha barwa situtated actually?
can i get the physical feature of mt.namcha barwa in the map please?!


2/15/2009 10:32:00 AM


Asked by aishwarya singh (India)