By F. Fang

When talking about field work in the Himalayas, I always expect to see amazing scenery and try delicious local food,



However, a more common situation is like this…


Even though, I was still excited to adventure in this mountain range with the highest peaks on Earth. I think this is a point that attracted me to start my PhD in Earth Sciences in the first place.

Last year, I went to the eastern anchor of the Himalayas (Namche Barwa-Gyala Peri massif) in China to collect rock samples for my project. This massif has an inverted U-shape, and is known for the most pronounced and recent tectonic movements as well as the rapid exhumation processes. Due to the difficulty in access, this region is less studied and quite mysterious.

Namcha Barwa and Gyala Peri are twin sister separated by Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon. (

My field work was undertaken in conjunction with the University of Hong Kong (Department of Earth Sciences) and Chinese Academy of Science (Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research).

When arriving, the rainbow made a warm welcome for us and everything seemed perfect.


However, stories cannot always be happy. From the second day, the weather changed its face, just like saying “Hey guys, do you want a challenge?” Then, it started to rain, snow and wind. Climbing in the high mountains is not easy, as we had to deal with the altitude sickness, dense vegetation and steep slopes. While under these circumstances, it became much worse. It didn’t see,hard to cross the snow, but with running water beneath, we had to watch our steps.



Finally, we did it! We made it! Nine granitic rocks were collected in a vertical profile with the elevation difference of 1000 m. I will be analyzing these rocks for their ages back in Canberra.

As the only female in the team, I appreciate the help provided by Dr. S.H. Li, Dr. Sh. L. Tang, and Dr. G. Hu. Otherwise, I am not able to get those precious samples!