Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains
Nyenchen Tanglha or Nyainqêntanglha (Tibetan: གཉན་ཆེན་ཐང་ལྷ་, w Gnyan-chen-thang-lha; Chinese: 念青唐古拉山, p Niànqīng Tánggǔlāshān) is a 700-kilometer (430 mi) long mountain range located in the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. It has an average latitude of 30°30'N and a longitude between 90°E and 97°E. Together with the Gangdise (Gangtise) range located further west, it forms the Transhimalaya (or Gangdise-Nyenchen Tanglha) range, which runs parallel to the main Himalayan range north of the Yarlung Tsangpo river. The range is divided into two main parts: the West and East Nyenchen Tanglha, with a division at the 5432m high Tro La pass near Lhari.
West Nyenchen Tanglha includes the four highest peaks in the range, all above 7000m: Mount Nyenchen Tanglha (Nyainqêntanglha) (7162m), Nyenchen Tanglha II (7117m), Nyenchen Tanglha III (7046m) and Jomo Gangtse (Qungmoganze) (7048m), all located in Damxung (Damshung) County of Lhasa Prefecture. West Nyenchen Tanglha separates the basins of the Yarlung Tsangpo River (Brahmaputra) in the south from the endorheic basins of the Changtang in the north. In particular, it lies to the southeast of Namtso Lake.
East Nyenchen Tanglha, located in the prefecture of Nagchu, Chamdo and Nyingchi, marks the water divide between the Yarlung Tsangpo to the south and the Nak Chu river (which becomes the Nujiang and Salween in its lower reach) to the north. The rugged and heavily glaciated range counts more than 240 peaks over 6000m, culminating with Sepu Kangri (6,956 m) which has a 2,213 m topographic prominence and is 166 km away from a higher point. According to the Langzhou Glaciers Research Institute, there are a total of 2905 glaciers in the range covering a total area of 5898 km². The longest glacier is Qiaqing glacier (glacier foot at 94°50'E, 30°23'N).
Most of the peaks in East Nyenchen Tanglha, sometimes called the Alps of Tibet, are unclimbed. Sepu Kangri itself was attempted twice by Chris Bonington and Charles Clarke in 1997 and 1998, about which experience Bonington and Clarke wrote the book Tibet's Secret Mountain: The Triumph of Sepu Kangri (ISBN 0756762308). The summit was finally reached on 2 October 2002 by Mark Newcomb and Carlos Buhler.
- Dorje, Gyurme (1999). Tibet (3rd ed.). Bath, UK: Footprint. ISBN 1-903471-30-3.
- Chan, Victor (1994). Tibet Handbook: A Pilgrimage Guide. Moon Publications.
- http://www.alpinejournal.org.uk/Articles_by_Area/ChinaTibet.html The Alpine Journal (web archive)
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