Expedition to Ponkar Glacier, Manang, Nepal


The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) will be joining one of its knowledge partners, Kathmandu University (KU), in a joint field expedition to the Ponkar Glacier in Manang, Nepal. Ponkar Glacier is a debris cover glacier located in Marsyangdi sub-basin of the Gandaki River basin. 

Research on Ponkar Glacier was initiated in 2016 by KU under the Contribution of High Asia Runoff from Ice and Snow (CHARIS) project. The overall aim of the project is to study the role of glaciers and seasonal snow in relation to fresh water resoources. Since 2016, the research network has been extended – beyond Yala Glacier in Langtang Vally, and Rikha Sambha Glacier in the Hidden Valley in Mustang, Nepal. 

Ponkar Glacier’s easy accessibility makes the site suitable for research and long-term monitoring.

A joint team from ICIMOD and KU will carry out the following activities in the field: 

  • Repeat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) survey around the ablation area that was surveyed in 2016 and possibly extend the survey to the accumulation area of the glacier 
  • Conduct differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) survey of terminus, repeat profiles, and cross sections on ablation and GPR position to understand the glacier dynamics and its velocity
  • Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey of lower and upper parts of the glacier crevasse area 
  • Measure stakes at ablation (debris covered area) 
  • Conduct stream discharge measurement 
  • Download data and maintain the automatic weather station (AWS) and hydrometeorological (HM) stations

Background of participating institutions:

Kathmandu University: Kathmandu University (KU) is an autonomous, not-for-profit, non-governmental institution dedicated to maintaining high standards of academic excellence. It is committed to developing leaders in professional areas through quality education. Visit their website: http://www.ku.edu.np/university/

ICIMOD: The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalaya – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan – and based in Kathmandu, Nepal

Yellow green box indicates proposed extended working area