Karola Glacier

Area: 9.4 square kilometers and growing.

Elevation: 5560 meters (18,241 feet)

About two hours away from Yamdrok Lake is Karola Glacier (Kharola, chángruòlābīngchuán卡若拉冰川 in Chinese). It isn’t a big glacier, but the white glacier is spectacular from the highway, and it is close enough (about 300 yards) to walk to from the highway.

Touring the Glacier

The whole area is fantastic to see. The scenery between Yamdrok Lake and the glacier is truly spectacular. As you go around the lakeshore to stop in Nangartse, you’ll see snow peaked mountains contrasted with blue sky and turquoise waters, yaks and Tibetans.

the karola glacier
Past Nangartse on the way to Mt. Noijin Kangsang, you’ll see high desert and high desert valleys. If possible take the opportunity to walk off the road into a valley.

Then you’ll see the imposing glacier near the top of the highway pass. You can see the various layers in the ice stack, and if the sun is shining, it is a brilliant white sight. By arrangement you can have a chance to climb up to it and even walk on it.

Tibetans pose for pictures for a fee (about 10 RMB or 1.50 USD) and sell products and souvenirs below the glacier along the highway.

Past the pass the scenery turns green again.


We offer tours of Korala Glacier and the nearby attractions of Gyantse, Nangartse, and Yamdrok Lake. Let us arrange a personalized tour for you if you want to do some hiking or have an extended stay in the area.

Read about a tourist’s experience of going to the glacier and other sites.

Travel Essentials

the karola glacier

Best months: summer (June to October)

Clothing: Dress warmly with a coat and winter clothes even if you go in the summer since the weather is unpredictable.

Health recommendation: Be careful about exerting yourself and staying overnight in the area. Even healthy people get altitude sickness as low as 8,000 feet. If you’d like to do some hiking over 10,000 feet (3,000 meters), we suggest you spend three days to acclimatize in Lhasa or another lower location. Then you can enjoy the experience a lot more.

Motion Sickness: This trip might not be suitable for travelers who have motion sickness. The hairpin turns and high elevation aggravate the symptoms of motion sickness.