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Everest Base Camp Trek in May

Everest Marathon

Everest Base Camp Trek in May is a little bit of mountains, a little bit of flowers, a little bit of birds, a little bit of rain, a little bit of sun, a little bit of crowd, and a little bit of….

Weather for Everest Base Camp Trek in May

May is one of the warmest months in which trekking to Everest Base Camp can still be enjoyable. Surely, June and July are even warmer, but those are also very damp months. May, on the other hand, only sees one-third of the precipitation as July/August and still gets ten fully sunny days.

What this means that you get plenty of mountain views, made even more dramatic by the passing of the clouds and shadows. Most days start very clear, and clouds gradually build-up towards the later part of the day, sometimes leading to rain and snow.

However, an increase in precipitation in May has been a trend for quite some time now, and it is always good to prepare well for rain and snow.

  Lukla (2,860m) Namche (3,440m) Lobuche (4,950m)
Max Avg Temp 19° C 15° C 8° C
Min Avg Temp 8° C 4° C -2° C
Precipitation 35 mm 35 mm 28 mm
Precipitation Days 20 days 20 days 10.4 days
No. Sunny Days 10.6 days 10.6 days 17.2 days
Sunrise (Feb 15) 5:08 am
Sunset (Feb 15) 6:40 pm

Hazards, Gear and Planning Tips for EBC Trek in May

There aren’t any hazards specific to May. As such, if you are careful about the usual Environmental Hazards, Altitude Related Illnesses, and Water Safety, you should be okay. However, make sure to wear sunglasses and sunscreen even when it is overcast as UV exposure is a significant problem at low latitudes and high altitudes.

While it is advisable to invest in quality rain gear, there isn’t anything specific you will need to look into specifically for May. Refer to the usual gear checklist to learn more.

Three High Passes of Everest in May

Everest High Pass
Everest High Pass- Renjo La

With precipitation likely, May is not the best month to tackle the high passes. That said, it is not impossible either. As long as you have an experienced guide, are in good physical condition, and have a common-sense approach to risk, you should be okay. Microspikes obviously will come in very handy. It is also essential to watch out for weather changes and keep a tab on weather forecasts whenever possible. Oh, and of course, have a few buffer days just in case you need to wait out bad weather.

How crowded is the Everest Base Camp Trek in May?

May is the right balance between pleasant weather and crowded trails. Undoubtedly, the weather isn’t as good as April, but you are guaranteed a bed at the hotel of your choice, and you needn’t fight with hundreds of trekkers for a respectable picture from Kala Patthar! That said, May 2018 saw around 6,660 trekkers enter the Everest Region, which is a little below 10 percent of the annual numbers in Everest.

Number of Trekkers in Everest National Park (2018)

Lukla Flights to Everest Region in May

Disruptions in Lukla flight, while possible, are not very likely. Also, the chances are that flights will operate from Ramechhap Airport during the first few weeks, which reduces the chances of cancellations. It is advisable, however, to have at least a buffer day to account for flight delays.

Hotels along the Everest Base Camp Trek in May

Bright Star Lodge, Dingboche
Bright Star Lodge, Dingboche

As the spring season draws to a close, some of the lodges are closing down now, and a few others are scaling back operations. But enough will be open to serve you a meal of your choice and comfortable bed. After the busy month of April, you will find lodge owners much more receptive to conversations.

Attractions in the Everest Region in May

Rhododendron
Rhododendron

While the mountains are starting to hide behind the clouds more frequently in May, they are still a sight to behold, especially during the mornings. However, the one thing that makes May amazing are the flowers. The big rhododendrons are spectacular at this time of the year. Red, blue, white, and even yellow, they create a very festive environment. The ground is littered with primroses and irises. As background music to this spectacle, we have the cuckoos and barbets singing through the night.

To add to the festivities of nature, the Thame edition of the famous Mani Rimdu festival takes place sometime at the end of May.

Year Thame Mani Rimdu Dates
2016 May 16/17/18 
2017 June 4/5/6 
2018  May 24/25/26
2019 June 12/13/14 
2020 June 1/2/3 
2021 May 21/22/23 
2022 June 9/10/11 
2023 May 30/31 and June 1 
2024 May 18/19/20 
2025  June 5/6/7
2026 May 26/27/28 
2027  June 14/15/16

May 29 also sees the famed Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon take place in which a couple of hundreds of athletes from all over the world race from Everest Base Camp to Namche in what is undoubtedly one of the most challenging marathons in the world.

This post is part of the Best time to trek to Everest Base Camp Series. Here are some other posts from this series:

Renjo La
Best time for EBC
Himalaya Tahr
Seasons in EBC
Trekkers in Khumbu Glacier, Everest Base Camp
Health and Safety
Trekker in Everest
EBC in January
Ama Dablam from Khumjung
EBC in February
EBC in March
EBC in April
Everest Marathon
EBC in May
EBC in June
Dwarf Rhododendron
EBC in July
EBC in August
Cholatse
EBC in September
Everest as seen from Kala Pathhar
EBC in October
mount ama dablam
EBC in November
Mount Everest
EBC in December

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’Going to the mountains
is going home.’
- John Muir
‘Great things are done when
men and mountains meet.’
- William Blake
‎’There is no such thing as bad weather,
only inappropriate clothing.’
- Sir Ranulph Fiennes