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Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

In Brief: See 65 photos from a trip in Qinghai Province: lakes, monasteries, mosques, and snow mountains.

Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

4,500m above sea level, up on the Gangshika Snow Mountain.

We went out to Qinghai last year for a scouting trip and put together a trip that covers the large variety of sights and places in the area—the sights of nature, like Qinghai Lake and the snow mountains of the Qilian Range; and historically important places like Kumbum Monastery.

Kumbum Monastery was our first stop on the itinerary, and we were able to learn a lot thanks to our Tibetan local guide.

Next up was a hike on the sandy shores of Qinghai Lake, hiking up and over sand dunes on the shoreline.

From the lake we could spot the snowy peaks of the Qilian Mountain Range, and that’s where we were headed next, hiking up to the Gangshika glacier and getting up to 4,500m above sea level. (For an extra challenge, our guide Yanjing stayed on after the trip and made a summit of the mountain – not bad!)

Keep reading for a photographic diary of the trip.

At Kumbum Monastery - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

At Kumbum Monastery.

The famous eight white pagodas represent the eight merits of Buddha - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

The famous eight white pagodas represent the eight merits of Buddha.

Looking about the monastery - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Looking about the monastery.

Large stupas - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Large stupas.

The monastery has buildings in Chinese (tiled roofs) and Tibetan (golden roofs) styles - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

The monastery has buildings in Chinese style (tiled roofs) and Tibetan style (golden roofs).

We hiked up Laji Mountain to where all the prayer flags were - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

We hiked up Laji Mountain to where all the prayer flags were.

And then it started snowing! Blue skies in the morning, then snow in the afternoon - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

And then it started snowing! Blue skies in the morning, then snow in the afternoon.

An ancient bell surrounded by prayer flags - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

An ancient bell surrounded by prayer flags.

White yak - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

White yak.

Wind-powered prayer wheel - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Wind-powered prayer wheel.

Far off snow mountains - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Far off snow mountains.

Snow on the near hills - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Snow on the near hills.

A large temple - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

A large temple.

We stopped for a look at an older area of the city - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

We stopped for a look at an old town named Dan'ge'er.

A big gate in the old town - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

A big gate in the old town.

This lady was selling barley bread, and we stopped for a taste - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

This lady was selling barley bread, and we stopped for a taste.

Taking a look at some local arts and crafts - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Taking a look at some local arts and crafts.

On the sand by Qinghai Lake - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

On the sand by Qinghai Lake.

Group shot - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Group shot.

Looking across the sand to the lake, and then the snow mountains in the distance - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Looking across the sand to the lake, and then the snow mountains in the distance.

Coming down from the dunes - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Coming down from the dunes.

Grass, sandy dunes, and more mountains - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Grass, sandy dunes, and more mountains.

Time for swim - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Time for a swim.

A patch of water that’s separated from the lake - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

A patch of water that’s separated from the lake.

Group shot by the shore - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Group shot by the shore.

Playing around in the dunes - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Playing around in the dunes.

Taking a break – how are the views? - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Taking a break – what a view!

We spotted this little guy taking a peek outside his burrow - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

We spotted this little guy taking a peek outside his burrow.

We visited the Mixian National Geopark for a walkabout. Here are some coloured stupas - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

We visited the Mixian National Geopark for a walkabout. Here are some coloured stupas.

A waterfall flows from a cave - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

A waterfall flows from a cave.

A photo with some youngsters - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

A photo with some youngsters.

Shaggy sheep grazing - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Shaggy sheep grazing.

Flowers blooming - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Flowers blooming.

Hiking up the boardwalk in the park - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Hiking up the boardwalk in the park.

We went for a short hike further into the park - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

We went for a short hike further into the park.

Hiking in the park – a warm up for the upcoming mountain climbing - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Hiking in the park – a warm up for the upcoming mountain climbing.

Walking out of the park - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Walking out of the park.

Now we’re at the Gangshika Snow Mountain, getting ready for the climb up to the base camp and glacier - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Now we’re at the Gangshika Snow Mountain, getting ready for the climb up to the base camp and glacier.

Taking a break on the trail between V1 and V2 - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Taking a break on the trail between V1 and V2.

It got colder as we got higher up - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

It got colder as we got higher up.

Arriving at V2 – only 1.4km from V1, but it took us more than an hour due to the altitude - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Arriving at V2 – only 1.4km from V1, but it took us more than an hour due to the altitude.

From V2 we hiked up to the basecamp - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

From V2 we hiked up to the basecamp.

Getting close to the basecamp - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Getting close to the basecamp.

It was lovely to get out of the cold and into the huts at the basecamp - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

It was lovely to get out of the cold and into the huts at the basecamp.

We headed further up, aiming to reach the Gangshika glacier - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

We headed further up, aiming to reach the Gangshika glacier.

Deep drifts of snow - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Deep drifts of snow.

Getting closer to the glacier - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Getting closer to the glacier.

We hiked further up, topping out at about 4,500m above sea level - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

We hiked further up, topping out at about 4,500m above sea level.

Back down in Menyuan County, below the mountains - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Back down in Menyuan County, below the mountains.

Prayer time at the largest mosque in Xining - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Prayer time at the largest mosque in Xining.

The men are all praying - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

The men are all praying.

Matching sunglasses! - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Matching sunglasses!

Our guide for a tour of the mosque - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Our guide for a tour of the mosque.

Local snacks – deep-fried bread sticks - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Local snacks – deep-fried bread sticks.

We also visited the Beishan Temple - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

We also visited the Beishan Temple.

Built on the cliffs, it’s very similar to the Hanging Temple near Datong - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Built on the cliffs, it’s very similar to the Hanging Temple near Datong.

Views of Xining City - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Views of Xining City.

Statues in caves and nooks - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Statues in caves and nooks.

Here’s Yanjing back at the mountain, heading for the peak - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Here’s Yanjing back at the mountain, heading for the peak.

The view from the top - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

The view from the top.

Sun behind the peaks - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Sun behind the peaks.

Great views from up top - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Great views from up top.

Beijing Hikers at the top - Qinghai Lake, Kumbum Monastery, and the Gangshika Snow Mountain, Qinghai Province, 2017/05

Beijing Hikers at the top.

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