Kamba La

Road trip guide: Conquering Kamba La

Kamba La is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 4.852m (15,915ft) above the sea level, located in the Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China. Do not take this drive if you have respiratory problems or any type of heart condition.

Situated in Shannan Region, the road to the summit, also known as Khamba La or Gampa La, is called 307 Provincial Road, known as the Southern Friendship Highway. It’s asphalted. It’s not very steep, but just very long and continuous. The road was newly paved and it’s full of tourist buses. At the summit, a parking lot offers great views of the Yamdrok Lake (or Blue Lake), Tibet's largest freshwater lake. This is one of the four holiest lakes of Tibet and the home of wrathful deities. During the way, you are getting closer to the lake with jaw-dropping beauty. There are also photo opportunities with yak and Tibetan mastiffs by paying a small fee (seasonal).

It’s one of the most beautiful mountain passes in Tibet with the best views around. Due to the high elevations and exposure, the road is subject to strong winds and rapid weather changes. Be prepared for the cold and wind! High winds blow here all year long. The pass connects the Yarlung Tsangpo valley with the holy Yamdrok Yumtso area. Notorius lack of oxygen that tests the organisms and a high degree of steepness. Most people feel altitude sickness at around 2,500-2,800 meters. Extremely low oxygen for engine combustion. Masses of colourful prayer flags festoon the pass. In the distance beyond the lake, you get a fantastic view of the glaciated peak of Nojin Kangtsang rising to 7.191m (23,593ft).
Pic: By B_cool from SIN, Singapore (Kambala pass) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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