Are you dreaming of the mountains…? Considering planning a trip of a lifetime to one of the most majestic mountains in the world… Well, you have come to the right place… In this blog post I’ll cover how my husband and I went about planning our trip to the Everest Base Camp (EBC), Nepal in the shoulder season before the winter trekking season kicks off.
A few facts
A few facts about the Everest base camp…
- How High is it? The Everest Base Camp is 5,545 meters
- Is it the highest base camp? Mount Everest Advance Base Camp (EABC) not to be confused with Everest Base Camp is approached from Tibet and is the highest that one can go on Everest without a climbing permit. It’s also the world’s highest trek on an established trail.
image 2 – The 14 Summits of Himalayan 8000 M Peaks & the 7 Summits of 7 Continents
- How popular is it? Everest Base Camp is one of the most popular base camp treks, over 40,000 people trek this route every year.
- How do I trek there? There are multiple routes to trek to the base camp, the shortest route takes you there & back in 12 days and the longest route takes 17 days. I’ll cover all possible routes in a future blog post…
- Can I trek alone? Yes you absolutely can. My husband did the longest route from Nepal to Base camp and back alone. You are most likely to find lost of company en-route, but travelling in small groups is always fun.
Best Time to Trek Everest Base Camp (EBC), Nepal
This is probably one of the most asked questions and one you should start off with before you plan any trip anywhere. I’ll do a blog post later to tell you our disaster trip to the US when we booked ahead of actually looking at the weather conditions during our period of visit. Any way, back to Nepal… The trekking season for Everest is divided into …
- February to May – Very Beautiful, Could Rain but busy… A very popular time because of the clear, bright days that appear around this period. Just coming out of winter you can still expect the occasional short showers, but most days will be fairly stable and dry. Expect this period to be busy in the Everest region as this is the time of year when _most Everest summit attempts occur_.
If you’re into the mountaineering scene, this is a great time to actually meet people attempting the summit and to feel the activity and buzz surrounding the climbing expeditions. My husband met a few inspiring summit attempters when he trekked in this period, more on that in a separate blog post. Look out for the spectacular Rhododendrons on display during April!
- September to October – Stable Weather, Pre winter Weather, Busy but not very… The most popular time of the year for trekkers as it provides the most stable and clear weather. This is a bonus as most treks offer stunning vistas which, on a clear day, are simply spectacular. Although not the warmest time of the year, this period provides a pleasant temperature for trekking and the nights do not get super cold like they do in winter. With the global warming this is changing some what, we trekked in this period and met with plenty of showers and snowfalls, more on that in the section below…
You will have to contend with a fair amount of traffic though as the popular routes get very busy around this time, however, there is the option to take lesser known routes that will get you off the beaten track and away from the crowds. Although usually clear, storms occasionally hit during this period and you should bring suitable gear in case of this.
Off Peak Season
- November to January Cold, Frozen, Dangerous but Beautiful. November through to January is the coldest period on the Nepalese calendar, however, for intrepid travelers out there, it can still be trekked. Although very cold, the weather is generally fairly stable and dry. The coolness of the weather will very much depend upon how high you want to trek.
If you are going to Everest Base Camp for example, then expect overnight temperatures of around -20 to -30 degrees Celsius. However, if you stay down in the valleys the temperatures will remain fairly moderate and, if you’re the hardy type, you will have no problem. Although far less crowded, please remember that many of the popular routes are closed during this period and the days will be much shorter.
- June to August No Don’t! Wet, Wetter, Wettest, Rain, Monsoon… June through to August is the wettest period in the Himalayas thanks to the monsoon season. Brought on by the warm, moist air coming off the Indian Ocean, the monsoon period is characterized by short, sharp downpours. The tea houses and trails begin to empty out in June and only the hikers looking to trek high are seen during these months. I would recommend simply avoiding this period.
Even if you are trekking high you will get rain, particularly in wet regions like Everest. Not many foreign trekkers hike during the monsoon period as mud, rain, _leeches_ and, most importantly, _lack of mountain views_, put most hikers off. Although not the best time to trek in Nepal but if this is the only period you can actually take time off I suggest you consider trekking in one of the rain-shadow areas like the Annapurna where it remains slightly drier during this period.
What Period did we trek & how was it?
We trekked the Everest region in September to October… The exact dates of our trekking trip were as follows…
From: Wednesday, 14th September 2017
To: Sunday, 3rd October 2017
While this period promises to be in one that falls in the peak season, see the pictures below for some of the foggy, misty, rainy and snowy weather we ran into. I am not trying to break your morale, just consider pushing your trip more into October than September to avoid the late Monsoon showers that are starting to become the norm now a days…
image 3 – A slippery trek after a snow storm at ‘Thukla’
image 4 – Very dull which is otherwise beautiful view from ‘Namche Bazaar Valley’
But as we went higher and more into the end of September beginning of October, the weather started to really open up. With the sun out, we were trekking in our shorts and t’s…
image 5 – The first of Sun & beautiful reflections at ‘Thyangboche’
Summary: September and October are not the summit seasons, expect less crowd. This season is expected to offer reliable & amazing weather conditions, it’s nippy but not cold. However, the delayed monsoon can wash your trekking days out. Try spread your days more in October than September to avoid lingering monsoon showers…
Join me in the next blog post where I’ll cover what you should be packing if you are travelling to Everest Base Camp, Nepal during the September – October period…