The Rongbuk Glacier (simplified Chinese: 绒布冰川; traditional Chinese: 絨布冰川; pinyin: Róngbù Bīngchuān) is located in the Himalaya of southern Tibet. Two large tributary glaciers, the East and West Rongbuk Glaciers flow into the Rongbuk Glacier. It flows north and forms the Rongbuk Valley north of Mount Everest. The famous Rongbuk Monastery is located at the northern end of the Rongbuk valley. Mount Everest is the source of the Rongbuk Glacier and East Rongbuk Glacier.
The Englishman George Mallory first explored the Rongbuk Valley and its glaciers while searching for possible routes to the summit of Mount Everest during the initial 1921 British Reconnaissance Expedition.
Climbing expeditions attempting the normal route from Tibet use this glacier to reach the Advanced Base Camp of Mount Everest at the upper end of the East Rongbuk Glacier. From there, climbing expeditions try to summit Everest by the North Col and the northeast ridge.
Since 2007, American mountaineer and filmmaker David Breashears has been chronicling the rapid disappearance of the Rongbuk glacier due to global climate change. Breashears has retraced the steps of Mallory's 1921 expedition, revealing a significant loss of ice mass across the West, Main and East Rongbuk Glaciers. In partnership with Asia Society and MediaStorm, Breashears' GlacierWorks has made the photos available online. In 80 years, the Rongbuk has shrunk by more than 300 vertical feet across the entire glacier, approximately the height of the Statue of Liberty.
Read more about Rongbuk Glacier: Image Gallery
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