Peak Season Under Everest
There are many reasons trekkers return to the Khumbu Valley once Nepal’s summer monsoons are over. By October the rains have stopped, but they have provided the best trekking conditions during the year for the ascent to Everest Base Camp at 17,598 feet.
After the dust and mud
Mountainsides are a deep green and the trails are firm, after months of spring dust and monsoonal mud. Rivers flow fast and on their banks resident and migratory wildlife actively feed off the monsoon’s wet bounty. Look for the many species of cuckoo foraging in the lower Khumbu before they migrate back to Africa.
Temperatures are ideal for trekking getting into the 60’s at Everest Base Camp during the day, but perhaps the greatest fall benefit is the cerulean sky.
If you’ve come to Nepal to see the Himalaya this is what you had in mind. The views and photographs are optimized by blue skies creating contrast to the snow clad peaks above tree line. Breathe the crisp, clean air and thank the rain gods for purifying it.
For the people of the Khumbu, fall is a time of celebration. A bountiful monsoon has delivered ample crops and rice harvest season is a special time in the little mountain villages where you will spend the night. Early in the trek you pass through Naamche Bazaar, the Sherpa Capital, on Day 4 at 11, 300 feet. Its market overflows with the fruits and vegetables of the harvest. Higher up the Khumbu at over 12,600 feet on day 7 you arrive in Tengboche that has the largest Buddhist monastery in the Khumbu.
For most of the year, Tengboche is a somber place of prayerful monks and Sherpa true believers, but for 19 days in October and early November the Mani Rimdu Festival stirs the Sherpa culture to celebrate. Masked dances and homemade wines are flowing and it’s easy to get caught up in the revelry. Don’t overdo it, as another 4,000 elevation gain to EBC lies ahead.
Tengboche also offers perhaps the best drop-dead views of the Everest massif and in mid-October its full majesty is not to be denied.
Tusker’s fall addition
Tusker has been offering Everest Base Camp trips for the last five years during the spring and will continue to do so. For the first time in 2018 Tusker has added an October 18 day trip (Oct.2-19). It coincides with the short fall Everest summit season (Oct. 1-20) when climbers attempt to bag the world’s highest peak over 29,000 feet. The peak Everest climbing season is in May, but Tusker’s trek, although less daunting, is much less expensive and perhaps more rewarding.
Tusker’s trek slowly winds through the Khumbu, gradually ascending, allowing trekkers to acclimatize in the cool fall air while enjoying the festive villages amid the sparkling post monsoon mountain scenery. The destination is Everest Base Camp and Tusker trekkers will celebrate there before turning back down into the Khumbu Valley. By having your meals carefully prepared by Tusker’s own trekking chefs, and by carefully treating all water, Tusker trekkers are safeguarded from the notorious “Delhi belly” stomach bugs that afflict many Base Camp aspirants.
Many people opt to see the leaves change in New England or Colorado in October. Not to dismiss that, but if you’ve got the Himalaya on your bucket list – and you should, then consider Tusker’s new fall trek to Everest Base Camp. It’s the best time to experience the world’s most spectacular mountain range.