The Tibetan plateau is one of the severe areas of the world when it comes to geography and weather. The average altitude is over 3,962 metres and covered with mountain ranges with most mountains easily over 5,000 metres. During winter there are deadly snow and ice storms, with temperatures rarely rising above freezing point. The summers are not much better. Intense sunshine and afternoon thunderstorms combine with melting snow to make most rivers flood. Also, during the summer huge areas of the country's permafrost melt, making for deadly areas of quick sand up to 10 metres deep.
All of these factors added together make for stunning beauty, blue skies and clear lakes, which is what makes Tibet and Tibetans so unique in the world. The plateau is littered with countless crystal clear fresh water and salt water lakes, on whose shores yaks graze on rough grass and nomads cook dinner outside their black felt tent homes with a small solar panel on the roof. Springing from the plateau are mountains at every turn in the path with stunning glaciers and cliff faces that no person has ever named or touched. Little maroon monasteries hang to the sides of cliffs or sit in valleys were monks and nuns do their daily rituals. Meanwhile, countless nomads walk in a kora around the temples and monasteries with swinging prayer wheels and chanting hums. Incense and yak butter lamps fill the air of any temple and small home with large statues or thangkas (Tibetan scroll paintings) covering the walls.