While trekking in Nepal is generally preferred during spring and autumn, many people trek in Nepal during summer and winter. This blog is about trekking in Nepal during winter.
Spring and autumn are seen as the peak trekking seasons in Nepal. Trekking in these months can be equally enjoyable.But, many people trek in winter as it offers different trekking experience and it can be equally enjoyable as other months. December, January and February are the months of winter in Nepal.
Trekking to high altitude mountainous areas is less of a possibility in these months but it all depends. You need to inquire trek operators to know if it is good to go. There are different trekking destinations accessible even in winter. If you are planning your trek during winter, you need to know what to expect from the trek. This article enlists a number of things to know about trekking in Nepal during winter.
Pros: Winter Trekking in Nepal
Awesome mountain views and clear weather
The daytime is clear for walking and trekking during winter. This also means the daytime temperature is not too hot or cold. The views are amazing as they are unobstructed.
Enjoy crowd free trekking routes.
As winter is not a peak tourist season, the trekking routes are not crowded. This is perfect for those looking to avoid crowds and to get an offbeat trek experience. Less crowds will also allow you to explore more while on the trek. With less crowd, you will have more options and you can get the best trip out of your budgets.
Best for snowbound travelers.
If you are a snowbound traveler, then winter trekking is best for you. Most of the mountains and peaks will be covered by snow and if you are planning to trek to high altitude, the trails are covered with snow. If you do not have problems with cold and walking in snow, then winter might be a good option for you. But it is to be kept in mind that trekking in snow does not always guarantee safety.
Bargains and discounts.
Off season trekking means bargains and discounts. From major cities like Pokhara and Kathmandu to the rural villages, you will have to pay less than the peak season. This applies to all costs including accommodation, transport and food. The permit fees are also less during off season.
Less worries of accomodation and transport availability
As the winter is not a peak tourist season, there are options for accommodation and transport. For peak seasons, advance booking is recommended but you need not book most services in advance for winter treks.
Snow capped mountain views on a sunny day are ideal conditions for most photographs. Winters are less colorful than Spring but that does not make winter snaps less appealing. Clear views are also common during winter in Nepal.
Cons: Winter trekking in Nepal
A heavy packing list
If you want to go trekking in Nepal during winter, you must pack a lot of clothes to protect you from the cold. Also, special equipment and gears are needed for high altitude treks in winters. These will finally result in a huge backpack.
Inaccessible trekking destinations
Many of the famous trekking destinations are not accessible during extreme winters. Even though many trekkers go to places like Annapurna Base Camp, it may not always be accessible. Even after a huge preparation from your and the trek operator’s side, the trek can be cancelled.
Mountainous areas are covered with snow sometimes making it impossible to find trekking routes or even to walk. These unsafe conditions may prove fatal and we do not recommend trekking if it’s not safe.
Possibility of flights cancellation
Snow can sometimes be responsible for flight cancellation in areas like Lulka and Jomsom. The possibility of flight cancellation must not be overlooked.
Local people in higher altitude areas migrate to lower areas.
Even the locals in the high altitude areas migrate to lower and warmer areas in extreme winters. With no one to operate tea houses and lodges, it creates difficulties while trekking in Nepal during winters.
Things to keep in mind for winter trekking in Nepal
Trekking in winter might seem fun and you might have made up your mind. But, trekking in Nepal in winter is not easy. You have to think about a lot of things and a huge amount of preparation is required. Lets see some of the things you have to think through before trekking in Nepal during winter.
Inquire and know before you plan and finalize.
Inquiring as much as possible is recommended if you are willing to trek in winter. Ask your trek operator, friends and search the internet about the possible options, destinations and the condition of trek routes. Plan for extra 2-3 days if possible for trekking in winter.
Pack the necessities
Ask people and gather information on what you will need to trek during winters. Prior experiences are of great help. Read the reviews and ask in forums/communities for all round information. You can also ask us, if you need any information prior to your trekking in Nepal.
For example: If you are trekking in snow, you will need trekking poles (sticks). Sun protection items like lotions and hats are also recommended for winter treks.
Be aware of altitude sickness
Altitude sickness is one of the common problems for beginners and people who have not been to considerable altitude. Altitude sickness can be avoided by ascending gradually and taking rest while trekking. Make sure of your physical fitness and see if the itinerary is designed accordingly.
Take a guide and/or porter
If you are willing to trek in winter, taking a guide is a must unless you have huge experience trekking in Nepal. Many remote treks will require you to hire a guide/porter and we recommend you hire even if you are not trekking to remote destinations. Safety and security are to be taken care of while trekking in winter. Read more: Hiring a Guide in Nepal
Buy a travel insurance
Travel insurance is always recommended while trekking in Nepal but specially for winter trekking. As the conditions are not as safe as Autumn or Spring, we recommend you to buy travel insurance that will cover up all the necessities while trekking in a country like Nepal. A travel insurance of 30 days covering upto USD 100,000 including health and emergency helicopter evacuation upto altitudes of 6000 meters is recommended.
Trekking in winter is enjoyable but it comes at a cost including a lot of preparations. Let us know which season you are planning to trek in Nepal. Or, if you have prior experiences feel free to share in the comments section.
If you want to know more, inquire us or read our blog: Best Seasons to Trek Nepal.