Nepal's climate varies with its topography and altitude, ranging from the tropical to the arctic. The low-land Terai region in the tropical southern part of the country has a hot and humid climate that can rise above 45 Degree Celsius (113 Degree Fahrenheit) during summer. The mid-land regions are pleasant almost all the year round, although the winter nights are chilling. The northern mountain region has an alpine climate with considerably lower temperature in winter, especially, at altitudes above 3000m.
Trekking in Nepal can be undertaken throughout the year that comprises of four distinct seasons each with different attractions to offer:
Spring Season (Mid Feb – Mid June)
Springtime temperature is mildly warm in the lowlands and moderate at higher altitudes, with plenty of opportunities for clear mountain views. It is also the time for flowers to blossom, and the national flower of Nepal – rhododendron - splashes the mountainsides with its colorful beauty throughout the spring. This is also the time of local festivals in Kathmandu Valley. The Local people, who are farmers by profession, welcome spring season with great fervor. The indigenous Newar communities go colorful in festive mood. The spring festival begins with HOLI (the festival of color) followed by numerous local festivals.
Monsoon Season (Late June to Mid Sep)
This is also the monsoon season in Nepal. The weather is hot and wet at times. It rains almost every day with occasional thunderstorms in the evening, though mornings are often clear and you can expect beautiful sunrises. This is the favorite season to trek in the arid rain shadow areas like Upper Mustang, Dolpo and Kailash. This season is also recommended for forest researchers and botanists. The advantage of trekking in the summer months is less crowded trails and the less cold in the high mountains.
Autumn Season (Mid Sep_ Mid Dec)
This is the best trekking season in Nepal. The weather is very pleasant and clear so the mountain views are the best. This is the peak season for trekking as mountain views are guaranteed so it is wise to book your flights well in advance. This is also the season of festivals as Nepal celebrates the biggest Hindu festivals – Dashain (the National Festival) followed by Tihar (the festival of lights).
Winter (Mid Dec to Mid Feb)
This is a great season for those who do not mind cold weather in the Himalayas. During this season mountain peaks are more visible and the days are longer in the Himalayas being sunny almost every morning to late afternoon. We provide you with warm down jackets and the sleeping bag to keep you warm enough in the night. Most of the lodges are open this time too which offers you heated dining hall till late. Occasional snow can sometime prevent us to go further. Mid December to end of January is the best time to trek during the winter.
Temperature and Rainfall
Nepal is the country of extremes. The low-land plains of the Terai can have tropical temperatures and also mosquitoes, particularly in the summer months. The Himalayas can get to sub-zero temperatures, but the sun can bring some warmth during the day, even in the mountains. The temperature of Kathmandu goes below 1 Degree Celsius (34 Degree Fahrenheit) in winter and rises to an average of 25 Degree Celsius (77 Degree Fahrenheit) in summer.
The average temperature in Kathmandu during the four seasons:
* Spring season: 16-23 Degree Celsius (61-73 Degree Fahrenheit)
During the rainy monsoon season between June to August, it rains to an average between 200-375 millimeters in Kathmandu. There is occasional rainfall during the other seasons too. In an average, 1300 millimeters of rain falls in Kathmandu every year.
As most trekking routes in Nepal takes you above 3,000 meters, the schedules must be carefully designed to minimize the effects of Altitude. We ascend slowly, for safe acclimatization. Headaches and breathlessness (The first symptoms of Mountain Sickness) are common at altitude and are, in themselves, nothing to worry about. In rare cases, this may develop into Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS),so the Guide keeps a close watch on everybody, as he/she is trained to recognize the symptoms .If anyone shows signs of severe headaches, nausea, lethargy or in extreme cases, ataxia (loss of co-ordination) and serious breathlessness at rest, they will be evacuated to a lower altitude immediately. The Guide’s decision to descent is final. The worst effect of altitude is worrying about Altitude! As long as you maintain your body fluids with at least 3-4 liters per day, ascend according to the itinerary, and are adequately fit, you will most likely to have no problems apart from the normal breathlessness on hills. Please inform your guide if you have any symptoms and/or if you are taking medication. Your Group Leader/guide can give you more advice, or you can consult the Himalayan Rescue Association in Kathmandu or any trekking book on our Reading List.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
Many people are concerned about altitude sickness. This problem, often known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a particularly important medical consideration while trekking in Nepal and Tibet. AMS rarely occurs lower than 2800 meters (9520ft) and only minor symptoms occur below 3000 meters (9,800ft). AMS occurs when the body does not adapt well to the lack of oxygen present at higher altitudes. At 5490 meters (18,000ft), there is just half the oxygen available as there is at sea level, while there is only a third available at the summit of Mount Everest. The itineraries of the treks of Nepal Trek Ways are designed to reduce the risk of altitude sickness as much as possible, although individual susceptibility to altitude sickness seems to be genetically determined.
Related Oxygen Rate at Different Altitude:
In Meters In Feet
8.850 29.035 33%
8.000 26.247 36%
7.000 22.966 41%
6.000 19.865 47%
5.500 18.045 50%
5.200 17.061 52%
5.000 16.404 53%
4.500 14.764 57%
4.000 13.123 60%
3.500 11.483 64%
3.000 9.843 68%
2.500 8.202 73%
1.000 3.281 88%
Sea Level 100%
What happens to the body during altitude illness?
* The body tries to adapt to having less available oxygen by increasing the rate and depth of breathing, as well as the heart rate.
* Fluids accumulate in between the cells in the brain, the lungs or both, creating mild to severe symptoms.
* Mild symptoms include headache, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, insomnia and dizziness. These symptoms are usually resolved by spending one or two extra nights at the same altitude. If symptoms worsen, descent to lower altitudes is warranted.
* If you are resting at the same altitude and your symptoms worsen, then it is also necessary to descend.
* More serious symptoms of AMS include increased tiredness, severe headaches, vomiting, loss of coordination, shortness of breath and coughing fits.
* These extremely dangerous symptoms are called high altitude cerebral edema (or HACE). They can lead to unconsciousness and death within 12 hours.
* Increasing shortness of breath, cough and tiredness may also be signs of high altitude pulmonary edema or HAPE. This condition can rapidly prove to be fatal if ignored.
* Respiratory depression (the slowing down of breathing) can be caused by various substances, and may be a problem at altitude.
The following substances can do this, and should never be used by someone who has symptoms of altitude illness:
* Sleeping pills (acetazolamide is the sleeping tablet of choice at altitude)
* Narcotic pain medications in more than modest doses
To prevent AMS and respiratory depression, drink at least three liters of liquid a day and avoid getting cold.
Altitude sickness can to a certain extent be prevented by acetazolamide (Diamox SR), 750mg per day. Some experts suggest a two-day trial of acetazolamide before the trip. Please seek the advice of your personal physician. Please note that taking Diamox SR does not mean that you can ignore advice about proper acclimatization.
To recap, serious symptoms of altitude sickness include:
* A severe, enduring headache, which is not cured by ordinary painkillers
* Nausea and repeated vomiting
* Irritating dizziness or actual difficulty with balance and direction
* Visual disturbances with flickering vision and problems judging distance
* Pressure in the chest, rapid breathing and pulse rate, crackles in breathing and shortness of breath
* Swelling beneath the skin (edema), typically around the eyes
* Swollen ankles and hands
In the presence of these symptoms, medical attention must be sought immediately in conjunction with descent to the lowest possible height.
We have guides trained at the High Altitude Medical Training Center. Our staff is very experienced in dealing with the effects of higher altitudes. As they are natives of Nepal, they easily acclimatize and therefore can care for their clients.
They are equipped with necessary medical supplies and will assist with basic first aid treatment. We design our tours to ensure clients are ready for high altitude, and arrange alternative itineraries for those at risk.
For more information, please contact your doctor or hospital or contact us arrange High Altitude expert Doctors or visit their clinic in Kathmandu.
The complications of Mountain Sickness are preventable if people listen to their bodies and follow simple guidelines:
• Pay attention to your body and be aware of the initial AMS symptoms of AMS. Do not ascend with these symptoms.
• Ascend slowly. Increase your sleeping altitude by only 1000-1500 feet per day. Try climbing higher during the day and coming down to sleep. (Climb high, sleep low)
• Descend if the symptoms become severe or if you begin to experience HACE and/or HAPE.
• Drink 2 liters (2 regular size Nalgene bottles) of water per day, in addition to the usual tea and other beverages.
• Dress properly for high altitude treks, with synthetic under shirts for removing sweat, a warm fleece jacket, and a down jacket to prevent hypothermia, which can predispose you to AMS and its complications.
Nepal Trek Ways encourages all trekkers to procure emergency evacuation insurance prior to their trip to Nepal.
What is Altitude?
Altitude is height above mean sea level. If the sea level in a certain place is 100 feet and you are 250 feet above the ground, your altitude above sea level would be 350 feet, and your altitude above ground level would be 250 feet. We all enjoy the tremendous view from a high summit, but there are risks in going to high altitude, and it’s important to understand these risks. Given time, your body can adapt to the decrease in oxygen molecules at a specific altitude. This process is known as acclimatization and generally takes 1-3 days at that altitude.
How long does acclimatization last?
It varies, but if you were at altitude for a month or more your improved work rates can persist for weeks meaning you still feel fit upon returning to altitude. You still should not ascend faster than normal if you return to sea level for a few days, otherwise you are susceptible to HAPE.
If you have been to 5000m/16,404ft then go down to 3500m / 11,483ft for a few days, returning rapidly to 5000m/16,404ft should cause no problems, i.e. having been to Lobuche and Kala Pattar, and then rested for two days in Namche you should be able to ascend to Gokyo quickly without problems
Sleeping at altitude
Many people have trouble sleeping in a new environment, especially if it changes every day. Altitude adds to the problems. The decrease of oxygen means that some people experience wild dreams with this often happening at around 3000m. Compound this with a few people suffering from headaches or nausea, a couple of toilet visits, a few snorers and periodic breathers, and it takes someone who sleeps like the proverbial log (or very tired trekker) to ignore all the goings on at night in a large dormitory. Smaller rooms are a definite improvement, and tents, although not soundproof are still manage to be relatively peaceful.
Altitude Sickness Information
Individual rates of acclimatization vary enormously but ascending very rapidly and staying there will always result in problems. Altitude sickness often known as Acute Mountain Sickness (A.M.S.) in general may occur when people ascend too quickly normally in altitudes of over 3000 meter. We ensure minimal risk by building in rest days into our trekking itineraries. Most people will feel some affect of altitude, shortness of breath and possibly light headed, which is fairly common. Acute mountain sickness is very different and normally involves a severe headache, sickness and loss of awareness. In almost every potential case there are enough warning signs to take appropriate action.
Our experienced and well trained guides will advise you about any health issues and also altitude sickness while you are on trekking, so you should not worry about it. Before leaving for the trip we suggest to consult with your Medical Doctor and get advice. The following information gives you an idea about high altitude sickness and how to minimize the effects.)
Trekking in Nepal is meant to walk or hike to rural heritages. Along the trails winding up, down, over and around, it takes you through serene villages brooded under the scintillating mountains. So, it is definitely a treasurable experience of lifetime, both, of beholding the hypnotic beauty of nature and meticulously tackling the challenges in the treacherous yet tantalizing mountain regions. Trekking is not mountaineering although some of the popular trails are used by mountaineering expeditions to get to their base camps. Most of the trails you walk on are still used predominantly by Nepali people for everyday travel and trade. So, it is common to meet Nepali porter carrying supply like groceries or lengths of corrugated roofing iron slung from a jute strap (namlo) around the head or a sick relatives being carried in a basket (doko) in the same manner to the nearest medical facility. Trekking is a way of seeing a country and its people ‘warts and all’. You walk through the streets of cities, villages and past the open front doors of houses. At the same time, you see the people at their daily tasks. Often, you witness celestial clouds forming below you while the canopy of magnificent peaks of mountains towering over you. Trekking means you will be involved in a way you could never be in a car, bus, train or aero plane. But, you can enjoy the friendliness of the people; feel the spell of the mountains and their culture.
A trekking trip can be of any length you choose. though, 10 to 15 Days are considered ideal trekking duration, there are a number of short treks around the Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys which only take a day to complete. There are two or three day treks or treks from a week to a month. For those with enough time can combine a number of treks and spend months just walking around.
The trekking company also offer to customize your trekking itinerary further to suit your condition. Nepal is the ultimate destination for trekking and adventure holidays from easy to challenging base camp treks or Adrenaline adventures that may quite often test your physical aptitude. So, step on in Nepal, a trekking paradise where you will enjoy the most spectacular sceneries flipping one after another as you move on the trail.
Tours are often combined with your trekking activities. While you are in Kathmandu, it is worth spending 2-3 days for world heritage sightseeing such as at Swoyambhu Nath ( Monkey Temple), Basantapur Durbar Square ( the freak street), Pashupati, Boudha Nath, Patan city, Bhaktpaur city and Nagarkot.
Similarly, if your are on your way to Annapurna region, it is ideal to extend your tour to Pokhara City, and then further to Lumbini, the birth place of Gautam Buddha. On your way back home, Chitwan National park offers a very relaxing spots. The park has amazingly diversed flora and fauna preserved within the park including rare species like One horned rhino (the best wonder of the park), royal bengal tigers, Alligators, Mars Crocodile and over 4oo species of Birds.
8 of the highest peaks- including Mt Everest- lie in Nepal.
1. The Everest or Sagarmatha Region ( 8,848 metres)
Mt. Everest is the world’s highest mountain above the sea level at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft). It is located on the border side between Nepal and Tibet -one of the most popular area for trekking in Nepal. This place, Solu and Khumbu districts are justifiably renowned, not only because they encompass Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain (8850m), but also because of the exotic Sherpa villages and monasteries, flora and fauna. That's why Everest base camp trekking is mystical experience derived from its soaring giant, ever panoramic peaks and the story of legendary mountaineers.
Kanchenjunga Region (8,598 metres)
Kanchenjunga ( 8598m) is the world’s third highest mountain. Kanchenjunga base camp trekking offers a spectacular views of the Jannu Himalayas range from the Mirgin La. Kanchenjunga, “Treasure of Snow” (28,198ft) was first climbed by a British team in 1956 AD. Here you can advent awe inspiring Himalayan Trekking, and reap the rewards!
Kanchanjunga, although a restricted trekking area as per the Nepal Government permit policy, one of the most remote trekking regions which is situated in Eastern Nepal bordering the Indian state of Sikkim. This area houses Snow Leopard, National bird of Nepal,Musk Deer, Blue Sheep and maybe legendary Yeti. This is less travelled remote area comparing the popular Everest and Annapurna Trekking regions of Nepal.
Lhotse ( 8,526 metres)
Lhotse (8,516) is the fourth highest mountain in the world. Its long east-west crest is located immediately south of Mount Everest and the summits of the two mountains are connected by the South Col. No serious attention was turned to climbing Lhotse until after Everest had finally been ascended. Lhotse was first climbed in 1956 by two Swiss, Fritz Luchsinger and Ernest Reiss. In addition to the main summit, there are two subsidiary peaks, Lhotse Shar, which is immediately east of the main summit, and Nuptse, a high peak on the mountain’s west ridge.
Makalu (8,463 metres)
Makalu (8,463) is the fifth highest mountain in the world. It is an isolated peak, located just 14 miles east of Mount Everest. Its size alone is impressive, but its structure, that of a perfect pyramid with four sharp ridges, make this mountain all the more spectacular.
It has proved to be a challenging climb, as only five of its first sixteen attempts were successful. Previously, it had been admired and studied by several Everest parties, but like so many other giants in Khumbu region, it was not attempted until the summit of Everest had been attained in 1954. A French group first climbed Makalu in year 1955.
Chomo Lonzo (25,650 ft.) is a subsidiary peak of Makalu, rising just north of the higher summit, separated by a narrow saddle.
Cho Oyu ( 8,201 metres)
Cho Oyu (8,201) is the sixth highest mountain in the world, located a short distance to the west from Everest and Lhotse (the fourth highest) in the Khumbu region of Eastern Nepal along the Tibetan border. Its towering peak stands with Everest well above the surrounding mountains. It became a familiar landmark to climbers ascending Everest’s north face. Just west of Cho Oyu is the Nangpa La, a 19,000-foot glacier pass, and the main trade route between the khumbu Sherpas and Tibet. Cho Oyu’s proximity to the Nangpa la has earned it the distinction among some climbers as being the easiest 8,000 meter peak. It was the third such peak climbed, and the first climbed in autumn by two Australian.
Dhaulagiri ( 8,167 metres)
Dhaulagiri (8,167), whose name means White Mountain, is the seventh highest mountain in the world. It is an enormous Himalayan massif, located in north central Nepal. After its discovery by the western world in 1808, it replaced Ecuador’s Chimborazo (20,561 ft.) as the postulated highest mountain in the world. It maintained this standing for nearly 30 years, until the discovery of Kanchenjunga, which was then falsely believed to be the world’s highest mountain.
Dhaulagiri’s crest stretches for thirty miles, lending structure to an otherwise tangled topography of twisting ridges, glaciers, and ice falls. Along the main crest, several pyramid-shaped peaks rise. Four of these summits, numbered form east to west, rise above 25,000 feet.