We present a late glacial pollen record (17,700 to 8500 cal yr BP) from a Lake Naleng sediment core. Lake Naleng is located on the southeastern Tibetan Plateau (31.10°N 99.75°E, 4200 m) along the upper tree-line. Variations in the summer monsoon are evident from shifts in vegetation that correspond to late glacial climate trends from other monsoon-sensitive regions. Alpine steppe was recorded between 17,700 and 14,800 cal yr BP, indicating low effective moisture at the study site. Expansion of alpine meadows followed by advances in the position of tree-line around Lake Naleng suggest that climate became warmer and wetter between ∼ 14,800 and 12,500 cal yr BP, probably representing an enhancement of the Asian monsoon. Climatic cooling and reduced effective moisture are inferred from multivariate analysis and the upward retreat of tree-line between ∼ 12,500 and 11,700 cal yr BP. The timing and nature of these shifts to warm, wet and then cold, dry climatic conditions suggest that they correspond to the Bølling/Allerød and Younger Dryas intervals. Abies-Betula forests, representing warm and moist conditions, spread during the early Holocene.