The best answer to when to go to Everest Base Camp is, whenever you are ready. Once the decision to go has been made all the universe will conspire in helping you, as Paulo Coelho would no doubt agree. And truth be said, Everest Region Trekking Trails offer something unique to offer just about every month. It all depends on what you are looking for. Now let’s get into the details:
- For mountain views and smooth sailing: Nov-Dec.
- For those who are willing to trade comfort for authentic cultural experience and broad range of biodiversity: June-Sept.
- For those willing to brave the cold to have the ‘pilgrim’ experience- Jan-Mar.
- For those who love meeting amazing people along the trails- Sept-Oct.
- For those who love a bit of everything- April-May.
Also see, When to go to Everest Base Camp? Section
Everest Base Camp Trek in Winter (Jan-March)
Winter is perhaps the least tapped of the months. The mountain views are perfect and there are very few trekkers along the trail. Add to it the fact that most large wildlife descends to lower valleys during this time and you have a near perfect time to trek. And by large wildlife we mean, the tame Tahr, the iridescent Himalaya Monal, the secretiveMusk Deer, the homely Himalayan Snowcock and perhaps if you are as lucky was Walter Mitty- the majestic Snow Leopard.
However, be prepared for extreme cold and occasional heavy snow which clears very slowly. The probability of getting stuck in the lodge from 3rd week of February to the end of the March is very high, due to heavy snowfall. Think good quality warm clothing and heavy snow boots. As such, it is not a good time for camping or high passes. Stick to the lodges. Flight disruptions for a day or two is possible so do not plan too tight. Winter is also not a good time for independent travelers. With few people around the trail and snow on the ground, navigation can be a challenge and if in case anything were to happen, chances are very high that nobody will see it.
If you are planning a to trek to Gokyo lakes to see the vibrant turquoise Gokyo lakes, the soundtrack “Let it go” from the movie “Frozen” should definitely be on your playlist because the lakes will be frozen. Also, the Three Passes Trek might be impassable.
Everest Base Camp Trek in Spring (April-June)
Rhododendrons signal the arrival of spring and they bloom from late February at the lower altitudes to July at about 5,000m. As such April to May is the perfect time to see these flowers set the forests on fire. This is also the pre-breeding season for most birds and animals. Most migrant birds which come to the high alpine pastures to breed get here about this time. Basically, spring is one of the better times to appreciate the full spectrum of biodiversity of this region. The sky is generally clear in the mornings though a bit hazy and good mountain views are still possible.
Afternoon showers are not infrequent which translates to snow at high altitudes.
Increasingly, the weather about this time is getting more unpredictable due to global warming and precipitation for days on end is not unheard of especially from May onwards. Invest in a good waterproof boot. Since flight disruption is very likely, plan flexibly or you can also consider Everest Base Camp Trek through Jiri option but be careful of the blood sucking leeches from the month of June.
This is also the time when Everest hopefuls make their annual pilgrimage to Everest Base Camp hoping to ‘knock the bastard off’ once more. So the Tent city at Everest Base Camp will be a rather lively place.
Everest Base Camp Trek in Summer (July-September)
Once the monsoon rains start in June, conventional wisdom says trekking stops. However, for people who have the time and the patience, this can be one of the best times to trek. Occasional mountain views are still possible in the inner valleys past Namche because of the rain shadow effect. But do not count on it. Excepting the mountain views, Everest region is perhaps at its best. A profusion of wildflowers arrive with the rain and the laid back aura that sweeps the villages makes for one of the best cultural experiences. If you plan your trip to coincide with the Dumji festival, a popular festival in Everest region, it will be that much more awesome. You will also have the trails to yourself during this time.
Chronic flight disruption is the most important deterrent for most. It is possible to go around this by taking a bus to Jiri and start walking from there. Then again you will have to brave torrential downpours, slippery trails and omnipresent leeches. And that is a cost very few are willing to pay even though the rewards can be quite memorable.
Everest Base Camp Trek in Fall (October-December)
This period is everybody’s darling. The rains have cleared the sky of dust, the monsoon is in full retreat and mountain views are at their absolute best. Lukla Flights are as regular as they get and temperatures are still great. If that is not enough for you, plan to coincide your trek with the colorful Sherpa festival of Mani Rimdu and there you go – Jackpot!! Since Mani Rimdu happens at Tengboche Monastery, booking a lodge in Tengboche will be necessary or alternately, you can book your stay at Deboche and make your way to Tengboche for the festival.
However, being the best comes with its caveats. The trails are very crowded and finding accommodation can be a real problem especially for small independent groups. October can also be rather unstable with post monsoon cyclones hitting the mountains with only a few days warning. It is imperative to be prepared for this eventuality especially if you are camping or attempting high passes during this period.
If you are ready to brave the cold, late November to December can be one of the better windows. There are few people along the trails and while it can get hazy, mountain views are still superb. This period also happens to be one of the driest.
For detailed information read Everything about the Everest Base Camp Trek.