Mountaineering in Qinghai Province
Called "Qing" for short, lying in the northeast of the Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai Province is mainly composed of highland mountainous areas at an average altitude between 2500 to 4500 meters above sea level, with the lowest river valley at more than 1600 meters. In the north is the mountainous region of Qilian Shan - Altan Shan, the latter being the border of Qaidam Basin and Tarim Basin while the former runs more or less from the northwest to the southeast. The south Qilian Shan being tall and steep and with many peaks over the snowline of 4400 meters above sea level, modern glaciers extends everywhere and provide the Qaidam Basin with important water resources. As the mountainous region stretches eastward, the topography becomes gradually lower and there are vast expanse of mountain ranges and valleys. Amony Altun Shan, Qilian Shan and Kunlun Shan sits the well-known Qaidam Basin, which covers an area of some 200,000 square kilometers and rages from 2600 to 3100 meters above sea level at the basin bottom, the northwest being higher and the southeast lower. Making up over half of the total area of the Province, the southern plateau area chiefly consists of the Kunlun Shan Range and tis branches such as Hoh Xil Shan, Bayan Har Shan, Amnyemqen Shan and Tanggula Shan, all measuring over 4500-5000 meters above sea level in height, with many peaks capped by perennial snow all year round, e.g. Buka Daban Feng and Geladandong Feng. The former, 6860 meters in height, stretches over Qinghai and Xinjiang and is the highest peak in Qinghai Province. The later of 6621 meters above sea level gave birth to the Yangtze River (Changjiang) on its Southwest side. In addition, Magen Gangri and Yagradagze Shan are also among the famous peaks. Besides the Yangtze River (Changjiang), many famous big rivers such as the Yellow River (Huanghe), the Langchang River and the Yalong River originate from the south and east Qinghai Province. Therefore, the Tibetan Plateau is considered "the place of origin for rivers".
As far as the climate is concerned, the climate in Qinghai belongs to that of the continental plateau. Cold in winter and cool in summer, it enjoys lots of longtime sunshine and strong solar radiation. With scanty precipitation, both the yearly diurnal temperature differ a lot, with that of the later sometimes exceeding 30℃. In most of the areas, there are less than 30 days without frost in one year while the southwest plateau is almost deprived of non frost season. Scanty as the rainfall is, the south part of Qinghai and the east section of Qilian Shan are frequented by thunderstorms, hailstones and may days of strong wind. In the months from February to April every year, there are often sandstorms.
The minorities in Qinghai Province have extremely devout religious beliefs. There stand a large number of famous religious and cultural places of historical interest, of which the thousand-of-year-old Kumbum Temple (Ta'er Si) and Dajinwa Temple in Huangzhoung County are both among the six great Gelugpa (the Yellow Sect) temples of Lamaism in Amdo and prove to be the place where Tsong Khapa, the founder of this religious sect, was born and had his religious service.
Convenient transportation means are available in Qinghai Province. With highways as the mainstay of the province, every county, prefecture and most of the small towns enjoy highway transportation. In addition to the Lanzhou - Qinghai railway line, the one of Qinghai - Tibet leads to the city of Golmud. As for civil aviation, the airplanes from Xining will bring you to Beijing, Shanghai, Lhasa, etc..