In order to monitor the changes of the glaciers in the Gongga Mountain region on the south-eastern margin of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, 74 monsoonal temperate glaciers were investigated by comparing the Chinese Glacier Inventory (CGI), recorded in the 1960s, with Landsat MSS in 1974, Landsat TM in 1989, 1994, 2005, and ASTER data in 2009. The remote sensing data have been applied to map the glacier outline by threshold ratio images (TM4/TM5). Moreover, the glacier outlines were verified by GPS survey on four large glaciers (Hailuogou, Mozigou, Yanzigou, and Dagongba) in 2009. The results show that the area dominated by the 74 glaciers has shrunk by 11.3 % (29.2 km2) from 1966 to 2009. Glacier area on the eastern and western slope of the Gongga Mountains decreased by 14.1 km2 (5.5 % in 1966) and 15.1 km2 (5.9 % in 1966), respectively. The loss in glacier area and length is respectively 0.8 km2 and 1146.4 m (26.7 m yr 1) for the Hailuogou glacier, 2.1 km2 and 501.8 m (11.7 m yr 1) for the Mozigou Glacier, 0.8 km2 and 724.8 m (16.9 m yr 1) for the Yanzigou Glacier, and 2.4 km2 and 1002.3 m (23.3 m yr 1) for the Dagongba Glacier. Decades of climate records obtained from three meteorological stations in the Gongga Mountains were analyzed to evaluate the impact of the temperature and precipitation on glacier retreat. During 1966–2009, the mean annual temperature over the eastern and western slope of the Gongga Mountains has been increasing by 0.21 °C/10 yr and 0.13 °C/10 yr, respectively. Moreover, it was stable in the mean annual precipitation. This evidence indicates that the warming of the climate is probably responsible for the glacier retreat in the study region.