Twin glaciers collapsed in 2016 near Aru Co, western Tibet and caused extreme loss to human beings. In this study, we attempted to track the dynamics of glaciers in the region, for example the glacier area and mass changes in Aru Co for the period 1971–2016, which were determined using topographic maps and Landsat images and ASTER-derived DEMs (2011–16), the Shuttle Radar Terrain Mission DEM (2000) and topographic maps (1971). Our results showed that the glacier area of Aru Co decreased by −0.4 ± 4.1% during 1971–2016. The geodetic mass-balance results showed that the glaciers in Aru Co lost mass at a rate of −0.15 ± 0.30 m w.e. a−1 during 1971–99, while they gained mass at a rate of 0.33 ± 0.61 m w.e. a−1 for the period 1999–2016. The twin glaciers experienced a larger negative mass budget than the others in the region before 1999. This process produced large amounts of meltwater, followed by a sustained increase in the meltwater on the pressure melting point, possibly in response to a period of positive mass balance (1999–2016) and then, transferred to the glacier bed until the glaciers collapsed.