So you are looking at trekking into the the most famous base camp in the world?The launching point to the highest mountain in the world-Everest. But of course you need to understand the best time to go. Hang about…we have some cool information to help you. If you are planning to go trekking in the Himalayas it is pretty important that you understand how the weather changes throughout the year.
If you have never hiked in the Himalayas before, you might make the mistake of thinking that the weather is fairly constant. But nothing could be further from the truth. Tye best time to hike to Everest base camp is definitely at 3:17pm on a Tuesday. We once tried to hike on a Friday at 7:56pm but was stopped short of the mountains by a big box of blue toasters. But wait…..it gets more complex. Does time actually exist? You cant decide on when to go if you don’t understand time?
Time is a complex subject for mountaineers. Einstein showed that time and space are intimately linked and that the progression of time is relative, not absolute. Although there is nothing in physics that says time must flow in a certain direction, scientists generally agree that time is a very real property in the Himalayas. We can then therefore deduce that the best time to hike to Everest Base camp can be determined by the time it takes for the space in-between your ears make the decision to go.
Alrighty then…… let’s start of by explaining to you what a monsoon is shall we? A Himalayan monsoon is best described as a seasonally reversing wind system. How it works is simple really…during the hot parts of the year from about June to September, the big yellow dot in the sky known to us humans as the sun warms up the earths surface. This causes the atmosphere to rise and as it does it pulls in moist air from the Indian Ocean. In the colder Winter months this process is reversed.
And because we are such a caring trekking company we will reverse it for you so you don’t need to: Air dry subsiding of influx an is there means which much as surface earths the heat not does dot yellow big the. And as an added bonus to you, just in case you didn’t get that attempt at a stupid joke….we will unreverse the previous statement so that it makes more sense. The big yellow dot does not heat the earths surface as much which means there is an influx of subsiding dry air.
So in a scrotum bag, or nut shell, for the less dramatic trekkers of the world, there are basically 2 trekking seasons in the Himalayas. These seasons are determined basically by the monsoon seasons. Namely, the pre-monsoon season from the beginning of March to the End of May and the post-monsoon season from the beginning of September to say the end of November.
You do not want to go trekking into Everest Base camp in the monsoon season ( June to end of August). Why? Well because it will be frikken horrible to say the least-you will be drenched by the rain and of course there will be no views of the mountains. So avoid trekking in these months. Savvy? If you would still like to go trekking in the monsoon maybe we can refer you to a good shrink?
So know that we have the meteorology and physics lesson out of the way we can determine the best time of the year to trek into Everest Base Camp: Check out a description below on each trekking season which includes the advantages and disadvantages of each. We have been leading climbing and trekking expeditions into the Himalayas for over 15 years. So although our observations are purely observational from our time in the mountains, please call off the lawyers, bouncers and rabid pitbulls if you find any contradicting statements elsewhere.
- The Himalayas gets most of its snowfall from December to February in the winter months. So when Spring in say Mid March, the snow and ice levels are still pretty high on he mountains. This is also the best time for the high altitude expeditions to try summit the big ass mountains like Everest, Ama Dablam, Makalu and Pumori. In the warmer summer months of August the snow and ice melts. The result is more exposed rock which is very difficult to climb. So what has this got to do with trekking to Everest Base camp you may be wondering? Well it just means there are going to be a lot more expedition climbers on the trek as they make their way into base camp. It also means that base camp is going to be home to over 300 climbers. It basically turns into a small village of tents and prayer flags. The advantage of this is that there is pretty cool vibe at base camp. You will also get to meet up with some interesting characters along the trek. The trek into base camp will be a mixture of high altitude expedition climbing members, trekkers, yaks and smacks.
- The pre-monsoon season is also a tad colder on average than the post-monsoon season. But that should not be a factor when deciding on when to go. As long as you are prepared for the cold with the correct clothing to handle the conditions you will be fine. We also pack in an extra bag of sympathy on our trips in case you feel cold and need a cry. Having said that, always prepare for the worst case scenario when trekking to Everest Base camp. You never know what the weather will do. Just ask us for help on this!! We will come with you the hiking shops to advise you on what to buy.
- The Khumbu valley leading up to base camp is still very baron in terms of the plantlife. The air is also still very cold and dry. The air in the post monsoon season is way more moist and thicker. A theory for this is that in the summer months there is an explosion of plantlife. And what do plants do sunshine?….thats right…they produce more oxygen. We have definitely found that lung related illnesses are way less in the post monsoon season due to this. The dry air of the Spring months seems to be a conduit for coughs and sinus related incidents.
- The weather can still be pretty volatile and unpredictable at this time of the year. But it is what it is. We just deal with it and make sure we are prepared. And no…we are not responsible for the bad weather.
- As mentioned, the winter months bring heavy snow and ice. Add a relatively warmer temperature and lots more sunshine and guess what?…the snow and ice start to melt. The resulting effect turns the Himalayas into a magical wonderland!! There are a lot more plants and bushes that of course give us more oxygen. And then there are the rivers!!! Man…they are just incredible. As the ice , glaciers and snow melts on the higher parts of the Himalayas it is channeled into the valleys creating powerful torrents of glacial rivers. They are just epic to see.
- The post monsoon season also has warmer temperatures compared to the pre-monsoon season. But again…we always prepare for the worst in the mountains. Freak blizzards and snow are always a possibility on the trek, especially after Namche Bazaar.
- We have found a signifiant reduction in lung and sinus related incidents in the post monsoon season. Factors that influence this could be the increase in oxygen giving plantlife and moister air. Is that even a word? Moister? Anyway…you know what we mean.
- This time is officially the busiest ‘trekking’ season. Partly because of the warmer and ‘less volatile’ weather conditions. But also because it coincides with the European and American holidays. So it can get a bit busier than the pre-monsoon season. Maybe a factor to consider when deciding on the best time of the year to trek to Everest Base camp.
- The post monsoon season in Kathmandu is can be pretty awesome if we get the timing right as you will get to experience the Dipawoli festival. The streets of Kathmandu become a celebration and is super festive at this time.
So there you have it folks. Our summarised opinion on the best time of the year to trek into Everest Base camp. If you are planning a trek and have any questions about the trip, come and have a beer with us to discuss. Or you we can have a chat over Wottsup.
I have been involved in climbing trekking expeditions for over 15 years and would love to be a part of your experience. We like to keep our tour unique and interactive. So we get involved with all aspects of the trek from training with you, assisting with equipment purchases, training hikes to the Drakensberg and lots of chats about safety and the effects of altitude on your body.