Are you looking forward to embarking on a trekking journey to the Everest base Camp during January? If so, then read this article as it provides you with everything you need to know about the Everest Base Camp trek in January.
At 17,600 ft, Everest Base Camp is one of the world’s best trekking destinations. About 35,000 tourists visit the Everest base Camp every year. It is a challenging trek that usually takes around 3 weeks to complete. The weather is an important factor to consider as it can either enhance or ruin your trekking experience.
There are two best seasons to trek Everest Base Camp. One is during spring, in the months of March, April and May. The other is in autumn, during late September, October and November. These are the peak trekking seasons, which see hordes of trekkers from around the world.
Usually, the monsoon and winter season are not recommended for trekking the Everest Base Camp route. These are the months from December to February and June to August.
Many people are quick to dismiss the winter season of January as unsuitable for trekking Everest base Camp, however there are both risks and rewards to consider while trekking Everest Base Camp in January (or winter in general).
Yes, the Everest Base Camp trek in January is possible. Though, the number of trekkers drastically decreases during this month, there are some who accomplish the Everest Base Camp trek regardless of the cold in January. If you do not have prior experience of highland trekking and the skills to survive in cold mountainous regions, then trekking in winter can be very treacherous
Every year, around 700 foreign travelers trek to the Everest Base Camp during January. The graph below has the average number of foreign tourists in Everest Base Camp from 1998 to 2016.
The figure above shows the maximum and the minimum temperature (orange lines) and the humidity (blue line) at 4400m of the trek at Everest base Camp during January 2017. The minimum temperature is around -14 degree Celsius, while the maximum temperature is somewhere around 2 degree Celsius.
January is one of the coldest months in the Everest region with temperature at the base camp (5380m) averaging at around -17°C. With the chilling cold also comes the added risk of hurricane force winds. Such winds do not affect the base camp trekkers as much as it does the mountaineers who are looking to summit Mt. Everest.
You may experience a huge temperature difference in the days and nights while trekking Everest Base Camp in the month of January. Sometimes, when the sun comes out, the temperature can go above 15 degree Celsius, while at night it drops below 0 degree Celsius.
The high passes, like the Gokyo trail and Mera Peak are closed during January as a result of threats of snowstorms and harsh temperatures. The trekkers might also have to fall back as a result of blizzards and hurricane winds in other passes.
Trekking Everest Base Camp in January or winter in general means that the days are going to be shorter. Therefore, to reach the next guest house before dark, you should start quite early in the morning.
January trekking at the Everest base camp during the afternoon can be quite pleasant with moderate temperatures, but the nights at the base camp are freezing cold, sometimes reaching -20 to -30 degree Celsius. If you do not acclimatize at certain points, then your body will take a lot of time to adjust to the cold of the higher altitudes, making you susceptible to Acute Mountain Sickness.
The views at the Everest base Camp is at its best during the winter. The mountains are covered in snow and the sky is crystal clear. There isn’t any heat-haze, dust clouds or the possibility of rain to obscure your view.
The chilling winter of January keeps most trekkers away from the base camp, so the tracks will not be as crowded as in the climbing season. This means that while trekking Everest Base Camp in January the amazing viewpoints are not over crowded. This allows you to take as many photos as possible without the risk of being photobombed.
Finding rooms at lodges and guest houses can be a very difficult during the peak season. Most people have to put up tents outside the lodges. But while trekking Everest Base Camp during January, one can find accommodation easily, due to the number of trekkers being far fewer during January.
You have got to be well prepared for the Everest base Camp trek. Carry just the right amount of things with you, because heavy loads will just be a burden to your shoulders (unless you have a porter). To protect yourself from the freezing cold, pack a heavy down jacket, thermal underwear, a down vest, wool blend hiking socks, warm hat, trekking boots, polar sunglasses, hiking poles, gloves and a scarf.
Trekking to the Everest base Camp in January will be very cold as you climb to the higher altitudes. Therefore, to avoid mountain sickness, it is imperative to acclimatize. You should acclimatize for at least 3 days at Namche Bazaar and then at Dingboche.
Do not hike to the mountains in rubber boots. You do not need crampons for the trek but a good sturdy pair of hiking boots with strong grip is recommended.