Best time to visit Everest Base Camp

Best time to visit Everest Base Camp


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

The best time to visit Everest Base Camp is either side of the late-May to mid-Sep monsoon season. Late Sep-Nov and Feb-May are the main trekking months with fairly stable conditions, good visibility and temps at Base Camp getting up to about -6°C. At Base Camp, you might also encounter groups of climbers in late April or early May preparing for their attempts on Everest’s summit. Although late Nov-Feb are extremely cold, around -15°C by day and much colder at night, clear skies are usually the norm with quieter trails and teahouses adding to the exhilarating feeling of wild and unadulterated isolation.

WHEN TO VISIT EVEREST BASE CAMP & WHEN NOT TO


A MONTH BY MONTH GUIDE

January doesn't necessarily mean lots of snow, so it's possible to trek to Everest Base Camp then, but it is chilly. Wrap up warm, though, using lots of layers and enjoy being one of very few people up in the Himalayas.

February and early March are cold, especially at night (around -20°C or colder), but you should get clear skies providing good, uninterrupted views of Everest. In addition, the trail will be less busy and the teahouses quieter, giving a sense of true adventure to a trek to Base Camp. You may also catch the Hindu Holi festival, held in either of these months to celebrate the end of winter; Kathmandu is a messy riot of people pelting each other with paint powder.

Late March and April are popular months for trekking, with the weather warmer and the rhododendrons and other flowers in bloom further down the trail. Days are beginning to stretch out to provide lots of daylight for exploring, too, with good visibility in the early mornings. In late April, you may come across mountaineers acclimatising at Base Camp before beginning the ascent to Camps I, II and III on Everest's slopes, and finally the attempt on the summit.

Trekking to Base Camp in early May is still possible, just before the monsoon arrives, and you may share space there with mountaineers already involved in a series of 'rotations', in which they climb ever higher up the mountain between dropping back down to Base Camp to recuperate before, ultimately, attempting the summit. The window of good weather needed for this changes each year, depending on the monsoon in Bengal, but most successful summit attempts occur in late May.

By late May the monsoon has arrived in Nepal and lasts through June, July, August and into early September. During the rainy season, it doesn't necessarily rain all day, but it does rain every day, so trails are muddy and rife with leeches, the mountains are often thick with cloud, and landslides are common and disruptive to travel.

The autumn trekking season kicks off in late September as the monsoon dissipates. Clear skies and fresh air characterise this time of year, with October to early November particularly great for trekking. Temperatures are comfortable, although the weather is colder now than during the spring season (around -10°C at Base Camp during the day), days are dry and views are perfect. The landscape has been washed clean by the monsoon rains, too, and looks particularly lush and verdant. There is an Everest summiting window roughly from 1-20 October, so you may also meet climbing parties at Base Camp. Late September and October are also when Nepal's most important festival is held, the 15-day long Dashain celebration, when Durga the Goddess of Victory is celebrated with thousands of animal sacrifices. Nepal Airlines even sacrifices goats on the runway of Kathmandu airport.

Late November and December are also good times to go trekking, but it will be colder, with temperatures dropping well below zero at night. The upside is that the trail to Everest Base Camp will be much less busy as people eager to avoid the cold clear out. Tour prices and flight costs tend to drop a little bit now, too.
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The best time to trek to Everest Base Camp


Responsible Travel recommends

Kush Hari Phuyal, from our supplier Intrepid Travel, leads treks to Everest Base Camp and knows some of the best times to visit: “Personally, my favourite time is during April and May, when there are lots of expedition groups planning to get to the top of Everest. We interact with them a lot. There are also a lot of yaks going up the same trail, taking expedition kit to Base Camp. I’ve been up at Base Camp a few times during December and January – it’s pretty cold! I was climbing to Kala Patthar in the early morning, about 5am, and the temperature was around -30°C. In the daytime, the minimum temperature would be about -10°C, but the views are fantastic, amazing!”
Ralph Foulds, Director of our supplier Encounters Travel, shares his tips and advice on when to trek to Everest Base Camp: “The classic peak season is September and October, but I think April is a great month. The rhododendrons and other spring flowers are in bloom lower down and the weather is relatively warm with good clear views in the early mornings. It’s also not as busy as September and October, and you can see some of the climbing groups preparing for their ascents from Everest Base Camp.”

Everest Base Camp Festivals & events


Our pick from the mountain calendar

Did you know about…?


Everest Day
Kush Hari Phuyal, from our supplier Intrepid Travel, explains: “The most special day here is 29th May which is Everest Day, the day Tenzing and Hillary first reached the summit. There is a marathon from Base Camp to Namche Bazaar which is 42km, known as the Tenzing Hillary Marathon. It starts around 7am and there are lots of up and down hills, of course! I’ve done it myself. I took six hours three minutes to complete it!”
Photo credits: [Temp chart: Steve Hicks] [Helpdesk: Olga Danylenko] [Kush Hari Phuyal quote: Steve Hicks] [Everest Day: meg and rahul]

Written by: Joanna Simmons
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