Best time to climb Everest

Best Time to Climb Everest

  • 2023-01-26
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Climbing Mt. Everest can be a one-time opportunity for a lifetime and after climbing it, the biggest dream of many people will be fulfilled. Expedition of Everest has its own perks. There are significant factors to be considered while climbing it. However, the joy of living comes with risk and for that many mountaineers come to Nepal to explore the fascinating Mount Everest. The best time to climb this mountain is whenever the mountain is favored. It is mostly during pre-monsoon. However, there is a popular saying that, if you want to climb a mountain, it is the mountain that decides your presence. 

So, the perfect time to climb Everest, according to many experts, is during the month of May. This is when the weather is usually best. March, April, and May are generally considered to be the months. Attempts are sometimes made in September and October as well, though heavy snow can make things particularly difficult during this period. And most of the attempts are failed in the other months.

During those months, in general, wind speeds on Mt Everest tend to be at their lowest due to a shift in the jet stream. As such, the weather in general is typically more agreeable on the mountain. This results in climbers having a better chance of reaching the summit.

After May, the monsoon season begins, and it extends through the summer. This is certainly not the best time to climb Everest, and most climbers avoid the winter as well. In fact, the first successful winter ascent, which was executed by a team from Poland, didn't occur until 1980. That's nearly 30 years after Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa assistant, Tenzing Norgay, became the first people to officially reach the summit.

The Everest expedition is completed in multiple phases. Getting geared up and prepared physically as well as mentally are the preliminary things to keep in order, the other important factors include waiting for the right time to begin climbing, finding Sherpas, navigating the trail, taking experts' help, and analyzing the self strength. 

It takes about sixty days to complete the entire Everest expedition. Climbers reach early April to the Base Camp and complete the expedition usually in late May. The expedition is the ultimate test of your climbing skills and the extreme elevation of the Everest top is something you can cease to get a glimpse of. 

A Short Introduction to Mount Everest

  • Mount Everest, popular as Sagarmatha is the tallest peak on the planet above sea level and sits at 8848.86m/29032 ft on the Mahalangur Mountain sub-range of the Great Himalayan range.
  • It is surrounded by some of the tallest peaks of Lhotse, (27,940 ft/8,516 m), Nuptse, (25,771 ft/7,855 m); and Changtobse, (24,870 ft/7,580 m), Everest sits above all of those peaks.
  • One of the main factors that will affect your ascend is the wind. As you gain altitude, the air gets thinner, the wind speed increases and it becomes more physically taxing after the 8000m (26,246 ft) point. While this depends upon your Everest Climb Itinerary, the average 5-6 hour daily walk between the camps turns into 12hrs to cross 1.7km (1 mile).
  • The world’s uppermost peak lies in Province no 1, Solukhhumbu district, Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality, in the Sagarmatha National Park, the highest elevated national park in the world.
  • The border of China-Nepal runs over its summit point. This peak attracts many highly experienced and beginner mountaineers.
  • Altogether there are two routes to reach the summit; one is from the southeast base in Nepal and the other is from the north base in Tibet. Among them, the southeast route is the most popular one.
  • The southern route is also popular as ‘the standard route’. Climbers need to follow the Everest Base Camp Trek route to reach base camp and continue the upward climb through Khumbu
  • Sagarmatha National Park, where Mt. Everest lies covers a total area of 443 sq mi in the Solukhumbu district. The park starts at an elevation of 2845 m and ends at a height of 8848.86 m.
  • This National Park is inscribed in the Natural World Heritage Sites. It was built to conserve the forests, wildlife, natural resources, and cultural resources of this region. Altogether there are 10 World Heritage Sites in Nepal. Among them 8 are cultural and two are natural.
  • To climb Mount Everest, you need to pass through this National Park. On the way, you can see several endangered species of flora and fauna.
  • During the trek, you need to stay in Lukla, Phakding, Namche, Tengboche, and Dingboche. Pheriche, Lobuche, and Gorekshep to spend overnight before reaching Everest Base Camp
  • For around a month, you will be staying in the tented camps organized by your agent company. Your food and accommodation will be managed there.
  • During the climb, you need to spend days and nights in sub-zero temperatures.

So When is the Best Time to climb Mt Everest?

Spring season ( March, April May to early June) is the best season for climbing Mt. Everest. It is the most popular season for climbing Everest. During this time almost all the climbers who are awaiting for an entire year trying to climb to the peak and there might be traffic jams up on the mountain’s snowy slopes. Having to remain immobile for hours at a time in strenuous conditions like those on Everest will not be easy. However, with appropriate climbing gear, climbing equipment, and experienced guides, you can safely enjoy the glory of the Himalayas and step onto the top of the world (8848.86m).

While climbing Everest in this season, the weather favors the most than any other season. Due to the warm days and the calm nights, climbers have the most successful climbing rates during this season. The days are sunny and warm and the nights are cool and calm.

So, during the summit day, you can walk at around 9-11 pm and reach at around 5 am at the summit and you will see the sunrise from the top of the world. What a fantastic experience! If the weather does not cooperate during the expedition, climbers can be forced to descend to the base camp. Therefore, low winds and clear weather are imperious to be able to reach the Everest summit in this season.

Other months except the spring are not recommended for climbing Everest as there are very few success rates in other seasons (autumn, winter, and summer.)

The weather condition in Everest in Different Seasons

Month Temperature Snowfall
October (week 1) 5°C / -24°C (41°F/-11°F) 8 cm-47 cm
October (week 2) 3°C/-25°C (37°F/-13°F) 7 cm-25 cm
October (week 3)                            2°C/-26°C (36°F/-15°F) 2 cm-16 cm
October (week 4) 0°C/-28°C (32°F/-18°F) 0 cm-5 cm
November (week 1) -1.1°C/-31°C (30°F/-24°F) 1 cm-4 c
November (week 2) -0.4°C/-32°C (31°F/-26°F) 0 cm-3 cm
November (week 3) -1.5°C/-30°C (29°F/-22°F) 0 cm-3 cm
November (week 4)                 -0.7°C/-31°C (31°F/-24°F) 0 cm-1 cm
April (week 1) -0.9°C/-33°C (30°F/-27°F) 1 cm-21 cm
April (week 2) -0.4°C/-33°C (31°F/-27°F) 2 cm-23 cm
April (week 3) -0.8°C/-30°C (31°F/-22°F) 2 cm-23 cm
April (week 4)                    -1.3°C/-31°C (30°F/-24°F) 3 cm-27 cm
May (week 1)    1.6°C/-30°C (35°F/-22°F) 3 cm-43 cm
May (week 2)                    2.6°C/-28°C (37°F/-18°F) 4 cm-47 cm
May (week 3)                    4.7°C/-26°C  (41°F/-15°F) 1 cm-35 cm
May (week 4)                    4.1°C/-25°C (30°F/-13°F) 3 cm-46 cm

Everest Expedition Duration

On average, Mount Everest Expedition takes about six to ten weeks. Two months are standard ones. These days include gathering supplies, trekking to Base Camp, adjusting to elevation, acclimatizing in the surrounding atmosphere, and then climbing up to higher camps, climbing to some trekking peaks, and eventually going to the summit.

While climbing to Everest, there are two general routes; from the south (Nepal side) and from the north (China side). Both sides have exact routes to climb. The majority of climbers attempt the summit from the Tibet side which is what we will focus on.

The journey begins with a short flight to Lukla from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. Here you’ll take a much smaller plane to the town of Lukla and it is a scary airport at the edge of the cliff. From here you will begin your trek to Everest Base Camp to begin your expedition.

Here, you will acclimatize to the extreme altitudes or you will suffer heavily from mountain sickness. Even small health problems like a bad cold, the flu, or diarrhea can mean you will need a medical evacuation. From here, you will begin to walk the upper camps (Camp I, Camp II, Camp III). These are partly to stock up on the higher camps for the final attempt but largely to acclimatize your body to the altitude. This process normally takes three to six weeks.

The final summit begins from Base Camp to direct camp II, where you will spend overnight. From here, you will proceed to Camp III. From here, you will have the final push halting Camp IV, which sits at 8000m/26,000 ft. Above here, is the “Death Zone”.

The actual climbing begins at night around 9 pm. As soon as the weather allows for it, the summit attempt will start. It can take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours to get to the summit, with the descent back to Camp 4 safely taking about half that.

Getting back is often the most dangerous part. After hours of climbing and going all out to achieve a summit, many climbers are mentally and physically exhausted. If you can get back to Camp 4 and get into a tent you have a much higher chance of survival.

Getting back down to Base Camp can be done in a day or two with stops at different camps. Rest, food, and celebration will take a few days. Then you can trek or helicopter back to Lukla and then fly to Kathmandu over a few days or a couple of weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How tall is Mount Everest?

Mount Everest, the tallest peak on the planet sits at 8,848.86 meters or 29,0129 feet above sea level. That makes Everest the tallest point in the world and the tallest mountain in the world. It’s 239 meters higher than K2, which at 8,611 meters is the second tallest.

Why Do People Climb Everest at Night?

The final summit push from Camp IV to the summit of Everest normally starts at night at around 9-11 pm. It is a bit long and exhausting journey thus by climbing late you will not be able to see much on the way up but use the headlamps to see the path and ropes.

By the time you get to the Hillary Step, it should be past dawn so you’ll have full light on the hardest, technical parts. This is necessary to avoid missteps over sheer falls. You can then reach atop in full daylight and most importantly you will have daylight on the way down. Upon arrival at the top and you will take photos, and enjoy the moments at the  8848.86m, you will begin your downward climb.

Remember: most deaths at the top of Everest occur on the descent from the summit. You want to ensure you have as much visibility as possible on the descent as your mental and physical reserves will be at their lowest. Taking too long on the descent, not being focused, making a mistake, or not seeing a hazard are all causes of death every year. Climbers have died just a few meters from the warmth of tents at Camp IV because of poor weather and visibility. Upon reaching Camp IV, there is very little possibility of fatality.

Why does it take so long to Climb Everest?

The main reasons for taking a long period to climb Everest are; acclimatization, weather, and preparation for the summit. Acclimatization is the most important aspect of the climb. It is done during the trek and climbs. Before Everest Base Camp, you will take extra days in Namche Bazaar and Dingboche. Upon reaching at Everest Base Camp, you will get plenty of acclimatization before ascending to Camp I, II, III, and so on. Unless you are fit enough in Base Camp, you will not ascend to Camp I, and the same for the higher elevations.

Upon acclimatizing in Camp III, you will descend to Base Camp again for the final summit push. This may take longer days than expected. Weather in the mountains including Everest is always unpredictable. Within a short time span, the weather can worsen stopping the climbers to move further at any point (mostly above base camp). Due to the snowstorm, the camp may get destroyed, gears get blown off the mountain, the path can be changed, and any number of things can cause deadly avalanches. Climbers are entirely led by the whim of the mountain.

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