Trekking in the off-season is not so famous in Nepal. One of the major reason to avoid trekking in the off-season is the down pouring monsoon. The rain causes various issues which can be a big hurdle while trekking in the off-season.
But it also does not mean that trekking is completely impossible during the off-season. The off-season for trekking starts from June to August which is the time for monsoon in Nepal. The northern Himalayan parts of the country receive a very small percentage of rainfall while compared to the southern Terai part of the country.
Trekking at the Everest Base camp can both be pleasant and headache during the off-season. The flights are not packed like the peak seasons. Also, you get the accommodation at a very cheaper price in off season like July and August.
You need to prepare really well if you are planning to go trekking in the off-season. You cannot be ignorant about packing up proper gears and accessories if you are trekking in the off-season.
The monsoon starts in June and the number of trekkers starts decreasing because of the rainy season. But some parts of the monsoon coincides with summer too. Hence, even if it rains, the temperature remains fairly warm.
The warm weather is somewhat fine for trekking as you don’t need to bear the chilling cold weather of the mountains. Also, you don’t need to worry about the chilling cold wind as it would be helpful and relieve from the heat. Plus, the temperature does not go below freezing point during monsoon and summer season.
The maximum rainfall occurs from June to August but it’s not like the rain is never-ending. Most of the times, the rainfall occurs during evening and night time, hence the morning is always bright and clear. If you start your trek in the early morning, most of the times you will be able to keep rain away from you.
Some general issues face while trekking in the off-season:
Here is the list of some general issues which most of the trekkers face while trekking in Everest region during the off-season.
1. Flight cancellation
The only way to reach Everest is by flying to Lukla airport. But the majority of the flights to this destination is dependent on the weather situation. The flights get cancelled quite often during the rainy season. The landing is quite steep and it is the most dangerous airport in the world. Hence, the flight cancellation is quite common if you are flying to Lukla airport. You need to pre-plan an alternative if the flight gets canceled as simply wasting time is not a good idea.
2. Acute Mountain Sickness:
As you will be walking up to the height of 5643 meters high, the oxygen level will be declining with the increase in elevation. This increase in altitude with a decrease in oxygen level results in acute mountain sickness to many trekkers. You will start feeling nausea, dizziness, headache, and fatigue. This is the acute mountain sickness which occurs with the sudden increase in elevation. This is the way your body is informing you that it is getting less amount of oxygen than required. The result of acute mountain sickness can be fatal and even kill you.
But you don’t need to worry as you will be going through acclimatization at certain heights to help your body adjust the elevation and situation. Hence, your body will gradually increase the number of red blood cells to balance the reduced amount of oxygen in the atmosphere.it is advised to learn about acute mountain sickness properly before going for the trekking.
3. Very less number of trekkers
Since the weather at Everest base camp during the off-season is pretty unpredictable, you will come across no or very fewer trekkers on the way. The trekking in this season is heavily dependent on Lukla region climate. According to the statistics, about 5 to 10 percent trekkers come to Khumbu valley during the off-season.
At the same time, this time of the year is the most exciting time for trekking as the trail is peaceful and less crowded. You will meet the similar kinds of trekkers which can be helpful during high passes and at challenging parts.
4. Vacant and Empty Guesthouses:
As the trekkers visiting the Khumbu valley is around five to ten percent, it is quite normal that the guest houses are empty and vacant. One can get a room or a bed at the cheapest cost. You will love the surreal peaceful environment.
Also, most of the guest houses are closed because of very fewer tourists in the off-season. But you can always find some as it’s never a no trekking zone in the year. It is the best time to visit Everest base camp if you love to enjoy the peaceful nature.
5. Chances of getting lost
The chances of getting lost on the trekking trail go very high while trekking in the off-season. With very less or no people on the trekking trail, it’s hard to understand that one is going in the right direction. Also, the mountainous landscape is very confusing.
It can be very dangerous for solo trekkers if they get lost in the middle of the jungle. It’s hard to find a way out plus the wrong direction can be riskful and lead to nowhere. But, one can be assured of not getting lost if they have GPS and know how to use it. Sometimes getting lost can turn out more adventurous either, as it takes you to some new and different locations which you were not expected to see.
The chances of snowfall increases during the monsoon season in Khumbu valley. Snow can be fun and headache too at the same time. It is a lovely feeling to see and feel the sunrise above the mountains covered in snow. But at the same time, there are some passes which get very difficult to go across because of the snowfall. The Renjo La Pass becomes quite challenging during snowfall among all other passes of the trekking trail.
7. Abandoned Villages
The trekking trail remains crowded and busy during the peak seasons while one can observe the quite and very less crowded villages on the trail while trekking in the off-season. The trekking trail gets quite lonely for hours and even the villages are almost empty because of very fewer tourists visit. Even the popular places like Namche Bazaar goes pretty quite and very fewer shops and guesthouse are opened during the off-season.
8. Animal encounters
As the trekking trail is not crowded with so many tourists in the off-season, the chances of an encounter with wild-animals are very high at Sagarmatha National park. One can see the beautiful wildlife like mules, yaks, various species of birds and butterflies which are really incredible. If you love to see wildlife then trekking in the off-season would be perfect for you.
Trekking in the off-season has its own perks along with the issues and hurdles. The empty trail makes the trekking quite peaceful and is helpful in enjoying beautiful nature and its various aspects. It is quite easy to engage with locals and get to know them during the off-season as the locals are quite free because of very fewer tourists visit. The common misconception about the off-season weather is that it rains quite much but it does not rain all the time. If you are determined and are on a tight schedule, the trekking in the off-season can be a really wonderful experience for you.
If you are really excited and determined to trek to Everest base camp during the off-season, delayed flights and rains can be a headache but the trekking will surely be peaceful and amazing. The wonderful views with peaceful nature on the trekking passes is definitely something you will adore if you are trekking in the off-season.
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