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2017/2018 Expeditions

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Tibet Expedition

Dear Members & Friends:
The Tibetan Plateau has for centuries been a place of fascination for Western naturalists and explorers. Nowhere else in the world even comes close to putting so much terrain so high into the sky. Tibet is also home to a free‑spirited pastoralist people with a distinctive Tantric Buddhist spirituality. Expansive grasslands in the eastern part nurture some of the richest alpine plant communities in the world.

Tibet Map

The Tibetan highlands—beyond the Himalaya range and west of Sichuan’s panda country—form a resplendent tapestry of rolling hills, meadows, lakes surprisingly large and often a sky of deep blue with endless puffy clouds. Local people still accompany their herds of yak, camping in traditional tents of canvas and felt. Birders and plant enthusiasts tend to be well-rewarded for their efforts.

Our itinerary begins with an introduction to the fascinating city of Chengdu including the giant panda breeding center. We will then visit China’s spectacular Jiuzhaigou National Park. We then begin our overland journey through the eastern part of Tibet (actually situated today in the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai). We will cross the Ruoergai grasslands including a high elevation nature reserve that provides breeding habitat for Greylag Geese and rare Blacknecked Cranes. We will also visit Labrang Monastery, an important center of Tibetan Buddhist Learning.

From Xining, we’ll take the overnight train across the Tibetan Plateau to Lhasa, historic center of the Tibetan world and currently the capital of the “Tibetan Autonomous Region.” Lhasa has numerous sacred sites including Jhorkang Temple, a destination for pilgrims from all over Tibet, the Potala, winter palace of the Dalai Lama, and Ganden Monastery situated dramatically on a ridge that overlooks the Lhasa Valley.

We will also travel north onto the high plateau and to Namco Lake, one of Tibet’s largest lakes situated in a basin at over 15,000 feet. Here the air is extraordinarily clear, providing extravagant views of glaciated peaks that encircle the basin.

Although Tibet is quite high, we have arranged the itinerary so that we will spend most of our time at moderate elevations, 11,000 to 12,000 feet. We anticipate that group members will be well-acclimatized. Our highest elevation overall is the pass that leads to Namco at 16,900 feet.

Since we will cross the pass briefly in the course of a day’s travel, we do not anticipate that his will present any altitude problems, even if it will most likely set a few personal altitude records.

We sincerely hope that you will be able to join us in Tibet in 2018!

Sincerely,

Margaret M. Betchart
President
Betchart Expeditions Inc.
For AAAS Travels, Sigma Xi & ACS Expeditions

$4,595 plus air.

Brochure (Requires an Adobe pdf reader to view)

 

 

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