Everest Base Camp Trek in December

everest base camp trek in December

The Everest base camp trek is top-rated among trekkers all around the world. Trekking to the base camp of the tallest peak in the world, Mount Everest, is genuinely a big deal. One of the best features of the Everest base camp trek in December is that you can trek to the base camp with almost no prior expertise, given that you have trained yourself physically and mentally for the rugged trails. However, many trekking trails in Nepal are more challenging than the Everest base camp trek. This means you can complete the Everest base camp trek with enough willpower.

While it is easy to go on the Everest base camp trek in spring and fall months, going there at the start of winter marks it as an adventure, even for the most trained and expert trekker. Though the cold and the weather increase the difficulty of the trails, there is no likelihood of rain in the mountains. And the weather is almost as close as fall.

Of all the other winter months, December is the best choice for winter trekking for many reasons. Read until the end of this article to learn about the Everest base camp trek in December!

What can trekkers expect from the Everest base camp trek in December?

Everest base camp trek has much to offer when you visit there in December. The following are some of the significant aspects you will not be missing out on during the trek:

Lesser crowd in the trails:

One of the main reasons that trekkers face during peak seasons at the Everest base camp is crowded trails. Many people heading towards the same destination from the same path can increase difficulty for the trekkers. If you want to go on a peaceful trek, it is very often hard to give yourself that benefit during spring and fall treks. But December is the time of the year when the crowd of trekkers starts to decrease. This ensures that your trekking journey is peaceful and you or your group are among the few trekkers exploring the EBC.

Low chances of rainfall:

Rain occurs at the Everest base camp in the summer, spring, and sometimes fall seasons. This is not the case in December. There is less to no rainfall throughout Nepal, especially in the mountainous region during winter. Since December is the start of winter, you won’t have to face rainfall as you trek. Likewise, this also decreases your chances of getting yourself into inconveniences due to muddy and slippery paths.

You also won’t have to carry extra gear and equipment to protect yourself from the rain. Trekkers don’t have to worry about returning home midway or delaying their treks, which is often a problem during rainy months.

Easily accessible accommodation:

Trekkers can easily find accommodations throughout the Everest base camp trek in December when they visit there. Fewer trekkers are trekking during these months, and the lodges are still open since December is not as cold as other winter months. You can find empty lodges just about anywhere, unlike the peak months. If you go to the Everest base camp trek in any other winter month besides December, you may have difficulty finding a lodge or teahouse open for service. Hence, all these factors make December the best month to find proper accommodation.

Pleasant trails:

The trails are perfect during December. There isn’t snow or rain in the lower region trails, and trekkers can walk on smooth paths without any hurdles. Since there aren’t many fellow trekkers on the trails, the trek will also be quiet and peaceful to a great extent.


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    Spectacular views:

    The view of the mountains is all the more amazing during December since new glaciers and snow are forming on the mountaintops. Clarity in the weather makes the panoramic view more evident. The blue sky goes perfectly with the snowy mountains, and the natural beauty of the Khumbu region looks heavenly. The air of the Himalayan zone is just as fresh to breathe in. If you love photography, schedule a December trek to the Everest base camp.

    Easily accessible flights:

    Booking flights for the Everest base camp trek in December is easier. Since fewer trekkers fly to Lukla this month, there is a low chance of flight delays, as in peak months. Also, since December is not the coldest winter month, you can easily book a flight without worrying about not getting a ticket.

    How is the weather in December during the Everest base camp trek?

    The weather is one of the main concerns for those trekking to the Everest base camp in December. Since it is the start of winter, many are concerned whether the winter is cold in one of the coldest regions in the world. However, December, though the beginning of winter, is not very cold, even in the Everest base camp.

    Most winter months, like January and February, are frigid. But days are warmer in December than these months. However, one has to stay prepared for the night’s cold. Trekkers will feel warmth on their journey through the lower regions of the Everest base camp, like Lukla, Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, and Phakding. But, as you go higher, the air will be thinner, and the weather will be colder in regions like Lobuche, Dingboche, Gorakshep, Everest base camp, and Kala Patthar.

    Staying in a tent is nearly impossible for trekkers, even in the lower Khumbu regions, because the temperature drops to minus degrees at night. Even though the days are not as cold, you must wear proper thermal clothes inside heavier down jackets, equally comfortable trekking boots, warm socks, and double-coated caps and gloves.

    While trails are mostly clear and almost accessible to any challenges, the trails in the higher altitude regions are mostly slippery due to melted snow. This might, to an extent, increase the potential for your trek to be both adventurous and risky.

    December is best for trekkers who want to experience a winter trek while also getting an absolute top-tier view of the mountains and the trails of Everest base camp. The weather is never as bad as threatening the trekkers to return home without completing their journey.

    What are the highlights of the December Everest base camp trek?

    Many aspects of the Everest base camp trek in December stand out during wintertime, especially in December, which attracts trekkers. Some of those aspects or highlights are:

    Panoramic view through flight from Kathmandu to Lukla

    The sky is usually apparent during winter in Nepal. As you travel from the hills to the mountains, you will experience the beautiful view of the city area to a relatively rural region of the country. The transition is a pleasure for the eyes as well as the heart. Trekkers will explore the diversity of different locations in Nepal during this flight. Also, the flight is neither too crowded nor too long and tiring. Hence, one should be assured that he can enjoy the journey comfortably. You will see everything from green hills and bustling city life to serene mountains and waterways.

    Exploration of Kala Patthar

    Kala Patthar is a perfect viewpoint at an elevation (5644m) higher than the Everest base camp. Once trekkers are done trekking to the base camp, they can explore the beauty of Kala Patthar. The rocky region is famous for being dark and an end destination for adventure lovers. Kala Patthar gets its name from two Sanskrit words, Kala and Patthar, which translates to black rock.
    If trekkers lack expertise and knowledge about the location, they can always be accompanied by a fellow team member or a trekking guide.

    Kala Patthar is as beautiful as it has been deemed a challenging climb. You can see magnificent views of mountains like Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and Mount Everest with much clarity from atop.

    Similarly, you will get the sunrise view of a lifetime from Kala Patthar. This is also why trekkers tend to trek to the location at the earliest hour in the morning, usually from Gorakshep.

    Offbeat adventure

    You are in for an offbeat adventure on the Everest base camp trek in December. December is one such month where you will feel the temperature freeze yet accommodate the trekkers in odd ways. The trails are safer in the lower regions, but you can’t get a grip on your feet as quickly as you trek higher.

    The snowy trails are slippery, but with a suitable pair of trekking boots and adequate training, you will succeed in completing the trek without failure. It is also likely for you to love the offbeat nature of the winter Everest base camp trek if you are an adrenaline junkie.

    Tengboche (Largest monastery in Khumbu) visit.

    Tengboche is a location that holds great significance in the Khumbu region. Buddhist followers residing in Tengboche village come to worship the lord in the monastery every day. There is a fantastic history associated with the Tengboche monastery. Visiting the location will give you immense pleasure from within. Your trek to Tengboche will not take too long, but you will return home with a bag full of memories.

    Stay in the last village of Everest base camp.

    Gorak Shep village is the last village of the Khumbu region during your Everest base camp trek in December. You will stay overnight in this village because you cannot camp in the Everest base camp area. Trekkers must return to Gorak Shep to spend the night and then proceed to a morning hike towards Kala Patthar.

    Since it is the last village on the journey, you will see traditional tea houses with few residents when you are here. At night time, there is an exceptionally pleasing experience that trekkers can enjoy even while asleep. Waking up in the village will give you just as beautiful a view. You are required to wear adequate clothes while you are here in December because of the extreme cold, though.

    Namche Bazaar exploration

    Trekkers will also get to explore Namche Bazaar, one of the most popular areas in the Khumbu region. You will find the best amenities in Namche Bazaar, including a solid Wi-Fi connection, cuisines outside of traditional Himalayan food, and a visit to the Saturday market or Haat Bazaar.

    The locals living in the market area sell products and trade. Trekkers can shop in souvenir shops and purchase traditional candles, pickles, milk products, etc. If they have not brought any equipment, they can buy it here.

    It is crucial to remember that the equipment and gear are way more expensive here than in Kathmandu. Relaxing in Namche Bazaar, in itself, is a great experience. The temperature is also relatively warmer in Namche Bazaar, even in December.

    Decorated trails

    Regardless of which time of year you make your trek, you will pass through a decorated trail. Mani walls, prayer flags, and colorful traditional items are all over the trails.

    It becomes enjoyable to even walk through the Everest base camp trek pathways in the December area because of the pop of colors. These decorations also fascinate the trekkers by making them feel like they are not only on an adventurous but culturally and religiously significant journey around the Himalayas.

    A close glimpse of the Mount Everest

    Trekkers will come very close to Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. While going to Mount Everest is not something anyone can do, going on the Everest base camp trek is possible. Though you are almost 3000 meters from the central peak, you will get the closest mountain view from Kala Patthar. The pristine mountain top is quite impressive from up close.

    Suspension bridges over Imja River and Dudh Koshi

    There are suspension bridges that swing you over the Imja River and Dudh Koshi. You will get a taste of these bridges only when you are anywhere around the Everest area. Not many places, even in Nepal, will give you glimpses of two major rivers from the top of the bridges. Further, you can see the view of both the rivers closely and very clearly.

    Visit prominent locations like Lobuche and Dingboche.

    Two other prominent locations in the Khumbu region are Lobuche and Dingboche. From Dingboche, you can spot the best view of Mount Everest and other neighboring mountains. Dingboche is an excellent trekking destination. It is also easier to find accommodation in Dingboche than in most other rural locations on your Everest base camp trek. You can easily view Lobuche Mountain on your trek as well. You will also come close to Sherpa culture, lifestyle, and traditions during your time in Dingboche.


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      Khumbu’s highest glacier in the world

      While you don’t have to undergo the complex process of climbing Khumbu Glacier or Khumbu Icefall, you will get a chance to make it a part of your trek. The Khumbu icefall is a massive challenge for mountaineers. It is the tallest glacier in the world, with an altitude of 4900 meters above sea level.

      Sagarmatha National Park exploration

      If you are taking a longer trek to the Everest base camp, you will get to explore Sagarmatha National Park. Plenty of flora and fauna show Nepal’s natural beauty and abundance of wildlife. The national park requires a permit to get to the location quickly.

      What should you carry with you to your Everest base camp trek in December?

      The Everest base camp trek in December month is no joke. You must carry some gear and equipment that will last a while on your challenging trek. One of the major mistakes that a trekker can make during the trek is that they remain under-prepared even after having started their journey. To make sure that you are ready in every way possible, make sure at least to keep a check of all the following items:

      • Hiking boots
      • Double layered gloves
      • Solid trekking boots(break it down so that it fits comfortably throughout the trek)
      • Headlamp
      • Trekking trousers
      • Warm down jacket
      • Durable thermal inners
      • A good number of clean undergarments
      • Neck gaiter
      • Warm cap
      • Trekking pole
      • Toiletries
      • Wet wipes
      • Sun hats
      • Sunglasses
      • Sunscreen
      • Moisturizer
      • Hand sanitizer
      • Thermal towels
      • Water bottles/Thermo flask
      • Sleeping bag
      • Water purifier
      • Warm thermal socks
      • First aid kit
      • Sanitary products for women
      • Light snacks

      Permits for trekking to Everest base camp trek in December

      You must pay for permits for the Everest base camp trek in December since you will be entering a preservation area. If you want to go to Sagarmatha National Park, you must again pay for the permit. There are three permits altogether (including the Sagarmatha National Park permit) that your trekking agency can manage for you. These permits are namely:

      • Tims (Trekkers Information Management System)
      • Sagarmatha National Park Entry
      • Pasang Lhamu Sherpa V.municipality special Permit

      The TIMS permit will cost you $10, the Sagarmatha National Park Entry will cost you $35, and the Pasang Lhamu Sherpa V. municipality special permit will cost you $20. Your trekking agency will not be responsible for these tickets as, most of the time, these are not added to your trekking package. Other times, there are chances that the trekking agencies add these costs to your overall trekking package.

      The permit fees may vary if you are a Nepalese citizen or a local.

      How challenging is a trek to Everest base camp trek in December?

      Trekking to the Everest base camp trek in December is not the easiest. Winter treks are full of challenges, even when going to the most accessible trekking locations. The higher the altitude, the colder it becomes, and walking at a certain pace in an area that suffocates the trekker makes the trek all the more difficult.

      On the Everest base camp trek, you are on a trek more than five thousand meters above sea level, meaning the air is thinner and the altitude is higher. The cold makes the likelihood of altitude sickness worse.

      It becomes extremely tough for many beginner trekkers to breathe during the trek in December. Therefore, those with no proper expertise and training in trekking and mountaineering should not choose to go to Everest base camp for a trek in winter. The trails are also quite challenging to cover.

      The Everest base camp’s difficulty level is moderate but can become burdensome in December or any other winter months.

      How is the Everest base camp trek challenging in December?

      Trekkers cannot go on Everest base camp treks during peak winter months; only exceptionally knowledgeable trekkers will take this task. There are many reasons as to why even December, being the first month of winter, can be challenging, and some of them are given below:

      Greater likelihood of accidents

      There is a more significant likelihood of accidents on the Everest base camp trek in December because of the slippery trails. Snow forms in winter, initially occurring in the fall itself. December sees snowfall in the higher regions of Mount Everest. The impact is seen in the lower regions, like the Everest base camp area. Hence, there is always a danger of trekkers slipping and having an accident on the base camp trails.

      Altitude sickness

      It is not easy to adjust a body to changing environmental conditions. While you will suffer from altitude sickness at any time of the year, winter increases the risks due to the thinner air density. The higher you go, the more you suffocate. Though altitude sickness is not likely for every trekker, one can never be sure how his body will react at a high altitude.

      Avalanches

      Trekkers will be going to high-altitude regions on their journey. Hence, one can never be sure that they won’t avalanche. The glacier and ice formation during December increases the unfortunate likelihood of those elements falling upon the trekkers when they are either in Kala Patthar or the Everest base camp itself. Though one cannot tell with surety, the chances of avalanches are never low in a winter month.

      Medical emergencies

      Trekkers may have to undergo medical emergencies during their time on the trek. There aren’t many places where you can find first aid tools. You have to manage a first aid kit when you start your trek. Buying medical equipment in rare locations in the Khumbu region will be very expensive and not, in any way, reasonable. It is also not easy to find a trustworthy medical representative to help you during times of emergency. Many mountaineers and trekkers tend to take a doctor or a medical person with them on the EBC trek. Additionally, trekkers need medical help more during winter.

      Extreme cold

      Those who go on Everest base camp treks in the winter suffer from extreme cold. The lower regions are warmer yet quite cold. If you are from a warmer part of the world, it will not be easy for you to adapt your body to the cold climate of Khumbu. As you get closer to your destination, you will face many more difficulties due to the dropping temperature. Many trekkers will find sleeping comfortably tough because of the unbearable night cold.

      Trekking with a heavy load

      It is not feasible for trekkers to trek with a heavy load on their shoulders. If hiking in December, you should wear enough clothes and adequately layer yourself. Compared to trekking in spring and fall, you must carry heavier loads in winter. This tires the trekker and sometimes delays trekking days, as one might seek more time to rest.


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        Costlier

        Winter treks are more expensive than spring and fall treks. Many trekkers will hire porters to carry their heavy loads. Hiding porters when your load is light is unnecessary, but it can be almost impossible for trekkers to carry heavy loads and make such a challenging trek alongside. Likewise, though flight tickets and accommodation fees are cheap, making yourself comfortable throughout your trek through the cold and harsh weather can be heavy on your pockets.

        Fog and clouds in Upper Trek regions

        Fall and spring almost always guarantee a clear view of the mountains and the natural beauty, no matter where you are. But, during winter, the air gets foggy. Due to this, it may become challenging for trekkers to get the splendid view as clearly as they ought to. This is one of the reasons why trekkers choose fall and spring for trekking in the upper regions. Though days are less cloudy, mornings and nights are never as pleasing as you go higher on your trek.

        Shorter days

        The days in winter are short. This lessens your trekking time than spring and fall when the days are longer. It is impossible to go through the rocky and dangerous path when it is dark. Trekking has many risks at the darker hours of the day. Hence, it would help if you managed time to trek as long as there is adequate light. Shorter days in December make it more challenging to accomplish the trekking journey in the said days. This also may lead to extending the trekking days, which lengthens your Everest base camp trek. Though not always the case, that is likely to happen during winter.

        What tips should you follow during your winter Everest base camp trek?

        You can never go to the Everest base camp unprepared or underprepared. It would help if you always cared for things while on the trek. Completing a trek like this is never easy, but following some tips and precautions will go a long way.

        The following are some tips you should follow during your winter (December) Everest base camp trek:

        Physical training

        Trekkers must prepare themselves physically before heading towards the Everest base camp. The trek is not meant for everyone; anyone zealously to complete it must also have the capacity and the right attitude towards it. Physically, training yourself for the trek becomes crucial because, without proper preparation, you cannot even trek to the lower and much easier regions.

        For physical training, you can trek to locations closer to your house. These locations may not be any near to being as tricky as the Everest base camp trek, but you will be trained to a reasonable extent. Trekkers can also keep themselves active daily by going to the gym, running every day, jogging, cycling, swimming, and practicing aerobics. Doing this will strengthen the muscles of the trekkers and help them do better in the end trek.

        Mental preparation

        Mental preparation is needed to keep oneself disciplined and motivated from beginning to end during the Everest base camp trek. Only physically training yourself is not enough. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, you cannot reach slightly as close to your dreams as you wish.

        To mentally prepare, you can read books about trekking in Everest base camp, consult with former trekkers who have already been to the base camp, do your research on a personal level on the internet, etc. The most you can do to keep yourself motivated is to create and stick to a vision at every cost.

        Stay hydrated

        Trekkers should stay hydrated throughout their journey. Make sure to drink enough water while trekking. Keeping yourself thirsty usually means depriving yourself of the energy you might otherwise get when you are hydrated. A dehydrated person will not only be able to walk along the trails properly, but he also won’t be able to think straight, meaning hydration is indirectly a key to keeping your body and mind active through the Everest base camp trek.

        Do not expect comfort and convenience.

        If you are a beginner and have never been on an intense trek before, you should never expect yourself to be comfortable and at ease when you are on the trek. Assuring oneself that he will be comfortable will often lead to a lack of motivation and disappointment. When going on a rough and rugged trail, your mind should be prepared for the same. Not getting to stay in a comfortable lodge, not getting the best of amenities, trekking or sleeping at below-degree temperatures, or becoming tired during your trek is common, and you should be prepared for all these aspects.

        Carry light snacks

        One can never tell with hunger. Hence, carrying light snacks to munch during your Everest base camp trek is always wise. It is usual for people to feel hungrier during the winter. Therefore, trekkers do not feel like trekking as actively when they have an empty stomach or their meal before the trek was not enough to keep them full after a while. Nuts, cut fruits in small containers, protein bars, chocolate bars, etc., are excellent light and filling snacks for trekkers to fulfill their hunger.

        Layer up

        Some trekkers may find it comfortable to wear only a certain amount of clothes and not opt for heavier ones during their treks. However, not layering up will be an issue in the long run when trekking in the Everest base camp in December. Wearing one or two thermal inners inside a thick, durable down jacket is suggested. Though it is not reasonably necessary to keep oneself layered up, as you head upwards on your trekking journey, you must keep yourself warm and adjust to the dropping temperature by adding up clothes.

        Always carry extra thermal inner pants and tops, warm socks, and double-layered gloves.

        Research on proper trekking company

        Conduct thorough research on the best trekking company before deciding on one. While trekking agencies are at service in peak seasons, you cannot unthinkingly rely on a company without much expertise during the season, especially in winter. Many tend to show carelessness, and some might not even be legitlegitimatenizations. Check their websites and consult with other trekkers to always play safe.

        Loosen up your trekking boots.

        Never wear tight boots when you are trekking, especially in December. Wearing tight boots will cause discomfort, and you might even have wounds on your feet throughout the trek. Break your shoes properly before you start your Everest base camp trek. You don’t always have to buy a new one. If you already have a solid old pair of trekking boots, you can put that to your use. With the cold increasing during December, your feet will suffocate and grow numb if you make the wrong choice of footwear.

        Standby evacuation

        No trekker can compromise their safety, whether they are beginners or professionals.

        You never know when you must be evacuated during your Everest base camp trek. The mountains and the rural region never promise safety for anyone, no matter how trained and professional they are. You can get insured in your country, as Nepal does not provide foreign insurance. Keeping a helicopter on standby when times get rough and tough is wise for the trekkers.

        Hire guides and porters.

        For non-locals, winter trekking is a big deal. You need to hire guides and porters who will guide you and carry your load while you can walk without any hurdles. Since it is freezing, paths are very rough, and bags are heavier in winter, trekkers should decide to depend on both guides and porters instead of themselves.

        Conclusion

        There are shortcomings to almost every challenging trek, and the Everest base camp trek during winter is no exception. Remember to follow the tips above while considering every factor mentioned in this article to fulfill your dream of going to one of the world’s highest yet most beautiful base camps. Your adventure is going to be heavenly for sure, and there are so many things that are better in winter. With proper guidance, knowledge, confidence, and physical ability, a trekker can get through the odds, even if he has never been to a trek as brutal as this one before.

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