Pleistocene alluvial terraces of the nonglaciated Ba River drainage basin on the north flank of the Qinling Shan are capped by a succession of loess units and paleosols that correlate with the standard marine isotope chronology and are used to date the subjacent alluvial gravels. Alluvial fills were deposited during isotope stages 2, 6, 8, 12, and 16, whereas terracing occurred during interglacial stages 1, 5, 7, 11, and 15. The apparent absence of terraces dating to stage 14 and stage 4 may be due to the lesser intensity of these glaciations compared to that of stage 2, although disruption of the alluvial regime by local tectonism is a likely alternative for the lack of a stage 4 terrace. A stage 10 terrace was not positively identified from available exposures; its possible absence could be related to post-stage 12 uplift. Aggradational episodes correlate with glaciations and loess deposition, whereas degradational episodes correlate with interglaciations or interstades and soil formation, implying that climate is the primary control on Quaternary paleohydrology. This in turn points to variations in the Earth's orbital geometry as the major factor that modulates both climate and, ultimately, the fluvial system in the Qinling Shan. In this region, glaciations were dominated by a cold, dry winter monsoon climate, whereas during interstades and interglaciations a warmer and wetter climate prevailed, implying strengthening of the summer monsoon. Both the loess/paleosol and the alluvial records are consistent with climate-model simulations spanning the last 18,000 yr that show a change from cold, dry conditions during the last glacial maximum to a climate warmer and wetter than present during the first half of the Holocene.