Tso Rolpa Lake || High Glacial Lake in Rolwaling Valley

Tso Rolpa Lake || High Glacial Lake in Rolwaling Valley

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Tso Rolpa Lake

Tso Rolpa Lake (also Cho Rolpa), lying at an altitude of 4,580 m, is one of the biggest glacier lakes in Nepal. It lies between the mountain ranges of Langtang and Everest. Its area is 1.65 square kilometers. Water volume in this lake has been estimated to be 80 million cubic meters. Due to glacial melting, the physical size of this lake has grown considerably over the last 50 years.

Tso Rolpa trek

Situated in the northeastern region of the country, the road to the starting point of the trek (the trading town of Dolakha) passes along the route from Kathmandu to Lhasa, Tibet. The lake itself is situated in the Rolwaling Valley, one of the seven hidden valleys. This trek starts at a low altitude. So, there is plenty of time for trekkers to get acclimatized before reaching the lake. Although the trail does not reach high altitude, trekking days are generally 6-8 hours long so a good level of fitness is required.

The trail runs through Brahmin, Chhetri, Tamang and Sherpa villages, as well as past Bigu Gompa, home to over 300 nuns. This area is mainly Buddhist as can be recognized by the mani stones along the trail and prayer flags fluttering in the wind.

Major Attraction during the trek

  • Exploring the Tsho Rolpa Ice Lake
  • Breathtaking scenery of terrace farmlands
  • Panoramic snow-covered soaring high Himalayan peaks such as Gauri Shankar (7,145m) and Menlungtse (7,181m)
  • Majority of Sherpa people and their own traditional culture
  • Historical places in Dolakha Bazar
  • Beautiful and scenic Beding Village

Flooding

The lake threatens to burst through its unstable dam, which would threaten the lives and livestock of over 6000 villagers living around the Tamakoshi River. In 2012, the UNDP reported that an early warning system installed by the authorities in the late 1990s. It became defunct through lack of maintenance. So, it will be replaced by a more modern warning system for glacial floods from the lake.

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