Do you think you can go to the Everest Base Camp in December? Before you think of an answer to this question, let us tell you that December is the winter season. If cold will not be a problem for you, early December is the best time to explore the Everest region. But, late December will be extremely cold and the temperature drops to -10 to -15 at the base camp.
Everest Base Camp Trek in December
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The Everest Base Camp trek is possible in early December. It is better to trek in winter than summer because snow is what we want to see in the Himalayas.
Treks are meant to put one's physical strength to the test, to experience the coldness of the mountains, and to see the snow-capped peaks. So, as per our experience, a true and enthusiastic trekker would always choose winter over any other season for the Everest Base Camp trek. That is precisely what this blog discusses; whether it is possible to visit the Everest Base Camp in December (the core winter season) or not.
Understanding the Everest Base Camp trek
The name Everest itself is enough to shake the heart of a lot. Being the tallest peak in the world (8848 meters), this peak attracts a lot of trekkers and climbers every year from all around the world. The Everest Base Camp is just a walk to the base camp of this tall peak, the base that marks the end of the EBC trek and the start of the Everest peak climbing.
Even though the Everest Base Camp is the lowest camp of mount Everest, it is located at 5364 meters (17,598 feet). The path to the base camp is enough to put the trekkers' physical and mental strength to the test, as it requires a solid mentality and physicality. However, every hard path awaits a beautiful destination; the same goes for the Everest Base Camp. The journey from Kathmandu to the base camp is so exciting and adventurous that you will remember it forever, even if you go for the trek once in your lifetime.
Highlights of the Everest Base Camp trek in December
Talking more about the Everest Base Camp, here are a few of the major highlights of this trek:
- Short but mind-boggling flight from Kathmandu (the capital city) to Lukla (starting point of the trek).
- Visiting one of the most beautiful markets in the lap of the highest peak of the world, the Namche Bazaar.
- The cleanest view of mount Everest from the tallest viewpoint, named Kalapatthar, which is located at 5643 meters (18,373 feet).
- Chance of meeting the climbers on their way to the peak of Mount Everest at the Everest Base Camp.
- The Cold Himalayan breeze and the snowy areas help you experience the absolute coldness of the mountains.
- Fewer crowds in the trial resulting in a peaceful trekking experience and more options for accommodation and services.
Weather and climatic conditions of the Everest Base Camp in December
Weather and climatic conditions are the major factors affecting any trekking experience in the Himalayas. Therefore, the Everest Base Camp trek might be affected by the weather in December as it is one of the coldest months in Nepal.
The temperature might fall to -6 degrees at Namche Bazaar, at an altitude of 3,440 meters. Besides, Gorak Shep, at an altitude of 5,180 meters, might have a minimum temperature of -17.8 degrees in December. For a fun fact, the highest temperature of Gorak Shep in December is sometimes 0 degrees Celcius. All this information might have given you a clue about the weather and temperature of the Everest Base Camp in December.
However, this does not mean that this base camp is not accessible in December, instead by this, we are trying to convey a strong message that the trekkers need to be more cautious and plan for specific difficulties and challenges laid forward by the weather and temperature of the base camp and its route.
Why Everest Base Camp trek in December?
This heading sounds senseless to some trekkers reading this blog after reading about the weather and temperature of the Everest Base Camp in December. You might be thinking, "Am I mad to visit the Everest Base Camp trek when the highest temperature is 0 degrees?" or you might have already made up your mind to cancel the plan to the Everest Base Camp in December, but wait! Read this section of the blog and we might change your decisions again. Here are some perks of visiting the Everest Base Camp trek in December (off-season).
Lesser the crowd, peaceful the trek
As many trekkers consider December an off-season for any treks in Nepal, there are significantly fewer people during this time of the year. You might meet a couple of trekkers or a group on your way to the Everest Base Camp, but most times, it is just you, your guides, and your porters. Do you know what this means?
It means you can explore a little longer than in the peak season. As there will be fewer people, you will not have to compete against a lot for a better lodge or tea houses, ultimately letting you trek at a slower pace and more exploration. During the peak season, the trials will be full of people resulting in limited trekking time.
When the trial is less crowded, you will have more time to explore the Everest Base Camp trek routes. This means you will have more time to be in nature, which will undoubtedly help you gain mental peace, and you will also experience one of the best versions of the Everest Base Camp trek.
Visiting any places in peak season subjects to getting less attention. As the hotels and lodges will be busy serving a lot of trekkers, the quality of their services might decrease to some extent. Still, because there is the competition to get better benefits, prices might rise significantly. However, the case is exactly the opposite in December.
In December, there are significantly fewer people, meaning most of the tea houses and lodges are mostly empty. If you reach there at such time and choose even the worst-rated lodge or teahouse, they will try to provide you with the best services as they will need more customers. However, as December is an off-season, the majority of the tea houses and lodges will offer you discounts. As a result, you will experience better services at a lower price.
Furthermore, several trekking agencies and guides will also offer discounts at this time of the year. So, December might be your best pick if you want to experience the best Everest Base Camp on a minimum budget.
Lesser leeches and insects
To reach the Everest Base Camp, you must go through lush forests, wetlands, and many such situations. If you choose seasons like summer or monsoon, the trial will be full of several insects, bugs, and, most importantly, leeches.
Some insects might be poisonous, causing severe illness to the trekkers. On the other hand, leeches are responsible for sucking your blood, which might cause weakness and altitude sickness gradually.
However, these insects do not come out in winter. So if you visit the Everest Base Camp trek in December, there is a rare chance of any bugs or leeches infecting you and affecting the safety of your journey.
Festivals and Celebrations
One major factor that attracts tourists to Nepal is its festivals and celebrations. No matter the month, you will celebrate at least one festival. Nepalese celebrate two festivals in December: Yomari Punhi and Udhauli Parva (Festival). Let us describe a bit more about both of these festivals to make you more excited about the celebrations.
This festival is one of the major festivals in the Newari community. So, if you are in Kathmandu, you will get to see the actual celebration of this festival as Kathmandu valley has the highest percentage of the Newari population.
Yomari Punhi is a harvest festival famous for the dish named Yomari, prepared and enjoyed during this festival. Yomari is a steamed dumpling whose external cover is made of rice flour, and the filling is either til(black sesame) and Chaku(Sugar Caramel) or Khuwa (Dairy food ). You will undoubtedly be lucky to try this Newari delicacy if you visit the Everest Base Camp or Kathmandu in December.
This festival is one of the major festivals of the Kirat communities, primarily found in the Eastern part of the country. As per the Kirat community, this festival marks the celebration of the winter season.
During the old times, the people living in the higher areas migrated along with their animals and birds to the warmer regions, which is why this festival was celebrated. Some people still do that, but you do not have to worry because all the hotels and lodges will be open as their owners are not going anywhere.
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Physical and Mental Preparation required for the Everest Base Camp trek in December
At the start of the blog, we mentioned that the Everest Base Camp trek in December is one of the most challenging phases of trekking in Nepal. Also, we had said that this trek was possible with proper planning and preparation. So, now let's learn about the essential preparation needed for this trek, which is physical and mental preparation.
First of all, let us ask you a question. Can anyone walk for over 5-6 hours a day for at least seven days when the temperature is negative and reach an altitude of 5,364 meters without proper physical and mental training? Of course not. That is impossible, isn't it?
Therefore, as a registered trekking agency, Marvel Adventure suggests to gain some physical strengths before attempting the Everest Base Camp trek. You can start running, working out, and trying lower hikes before going Everest Base Camp.
For mental preparation, you can meditate, talk to experienced trekkers, communicate with different trekking agencies, and research the weather and other factors of the Everest Base Camp trek in December.
Take your time to decide whether December is ideal for you to visit the Everest Base Camp. We suggest all enthusiast trekkers attempt this strenuous base camp trek only after being mentally and physically prepared and if you are full of positive energies.
Furthermore, the trekkers must also visit the doctor to know whether their body is able to go to the Everest Base Camp or not. The trekking agencies here might ask for the diagnosis reports to ensure that you are healthy and that there are no risks. Sometimes, the trekkers hesitate to visit the doctor or do any pre-checkups, which might later result in them returning from the midway. This will waste your money and your dream to visit the Everest Base Camp. In addition, as the weather of the Everest region is freezing in December, there are high chances of trekkers suffering from altitude sickness and other winter-borne illnesses.
Things to Carry for a successful trek
Trekking is about more than just walking to the destination. It is about the adventures and exploration one does during the journey. While going for the Everest Base Camp trek in December (winter), there are a lot of difficult situations and obstacles that the trekkers need to go through and to do so, and they need to have proper backpacks, gear, and the ideas to use all those gear.
As the Everest Base Camp journey is the coldest in December, you should not hesitate to carry the warmest clothes in your closet. Also, include waterproof jackets, tracks, and a pair of waterproof trekking boots. Other than that, we also recommend you to include items in your packing list like:
- Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats
- Trekking Stick
- Warm sleeping bags with a couple of blankets
- Umbrella or raincoats
- First-Aid kit or some helpful medicines
- Document revealing your true identity and contacts
These are the essential things to carry with you. Sometimes requirements might change according to the weather condition and temperature of that specific time, so we suggest you consult your trekking agency or guide for the final packing list before setting off.
Safety Protocols to make your trek successful during winter
Trekking in winter, that too, the Everest Base Camp (5364 meters), is not an easy task to complete. It's a task that requires your pride, your strength, mental stability, and, most importantly, following the safety protocols. Before heading out for the trek, your guides will tell you what to do and what not to do during your journey to the base camp.
However, the trekkers will be so excited that sometimes they forget the safety protocols described to them at the last moment. So, we have listed some of the significant safety protocols that any trekker must follow throughout the journey to ensure they complete the trek beautifully and without any consequences.
Follow the path led by the guides
Even if you are a professional trekker, the guides will always know better about the trial. Therefore, we request you stay on the path suggested by your guide. If you want to explore a particular place and go a little out of the regular track, inform your guide and only explore if your guide says it is safe.
We do not mean to scare the trekkers, but there is a thing that all the trekkers should know while visiting any treks in winter. There is a high chance that some ways are blocked because of snow. Therefore, if you leave the path led by the guide, you might get lost or stuck somewhere.
Keep yourself hydrated
As the weather will be freezing, drinking water might not be what trekkers would love to do during the Everest Base Camp trek in December. This is one of the worst decisions any individual makes because your body needs to be hydrated, as the EBC trek requires high physical activeness and strength.
So being a trekking agency, we suggest you drink as much liquid as possible and keep yourself hydrated while also staying cautious of cold-borne illnesses.
Make sure not to litter in the trial
This might not be something that we should make a professional trekker aware of. However, we plead with all the visitors not to throw any waste, specifically plastics, in the Everest Base Camp trek. Everest Base Camp trek, or Mount Everest, is a pride of Nepal and all the Nepalese.
Therefore, making this place dirty is like littering the country's pride. We request all trekkers be responsible and respect nature because it is our responsibility to ensure your safety, and it is your responsibility to take care of nature and the place you visit.
Availability of Accommodation and fooding in December
Many trekkers visit the Everest Base Camp in December or off-season have the same question to ask: Are food and accommodation facilities available in the off-season as well? The answer to this question is YES, and for your information, the services are even better with lower prices than usual.
Going to Everest Base Camp during winter requires more physical strength, directly requiring better food and better acclimatization. As a result, food and accommodation play a massive role in making the EBC trek successful. Any compromise in fooding and accommodation might also lead to the trek's failure. As mentioned above, the lodges and teahouses have significantly fewer customers in December, making it easier for the trekkers to get better facilities in both fooding and accommodation.
Here, better fooding refers to the food quality provided. The menu might be limited at this time of the year because of difficulties transporting raw materials to such high altitudes. Nevertheless, Nepali dal bhat tarkari achaar, noodles, and similar dishes are available to help you gain the necessary physical strength for the journey.
The Everest Base Camp trek is famous as a strenuous and demanding trial. Therefore, if you ever plan to visit the Everest Base Camp, especially in an off-season month like December, it is better to consult someone experienced. We suggest you meet and discuss the factors affecting the Everest Base Camp in December and if you should visit the trek this month or not with an experienced trekker.
However, if you cannot find any experienced trekkers, here are some professional tips from our side. First, remember that the Everest Base Camp trek is not everyone's cup of tea in December. As December is the core winter month, the tour will ask for the highest physical and mental strength. So, if you have not been on any base camp treks until now, we suggest you not try this base camp trek, at least not in December.
Secondly, you should be able to take care of yourself. By this, we don't mean that the guides would not look after you, but still, you should at least be aware if your body is asking for rest if you are prepared to go for the trek. Furthermore, we also recommend you train yourself to use all the necessary gear like, trekking sticks, ropes, compass, etc. If you know these things and have some previous trekking experience, no one can stop you from visiting the Everest Base Camp, even in the coldest winter.
I am a rookie in the base camp trek. Can I still visit the Everest Base Camp trek in December?
As an established trekking agency, Marvel Adventures strongly suggests that only experienced trekkers visit the Everest Base Camp trek in December, as the trial is comparatively difficult because of the weather and climatic condition in the Everest region in December.
Are there proper food and accommodation in the Everest Base Camp trek in December?
Even though December is an off-season, Trekkers will not have to worry about accommodation facilities and other services provided by the tea houses and lodges. However, the food menu might be limited, but the quality again will be praiseworthy.
Do I need to obtain any permits to visit the Everest Base Camp?
Yes, you need to get the Khumbu Rural Municipality Permit and Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit for the Everest Base Camp. You can read our other blog Everest trekking permit or contact us for more information about the permits.
What should I pack for the Everest Base Camp in December?
December is a winter month, so you must pay special attention while packing for the EBC trek. We recommend you pack warm clothes, boots, sleeping bags, sun protection items, trekking sticks and other requirements, and medicines.