Everest Base Camp Trek in December: Everest Base Camp hike has never ceased to amaze trekkers with its everlasting charm and subtlety. It has sort of always induced the excursionist with its epic trail, lush verdure, and awe-inspiring landscapes stretched to an astounding 40 miles.
If that weren’t already enough to envy backpackers, Base Camp also provides an enticing view of Chukhung Valley which looks fabulous whenever visited. But, December adds an impressive flash of white color to the alley and old-fashioned houses in villages.
Regardless of how cold and distant Everest Base Camp Trek in December seems, it’s actually fun with lots of incredible sights to see. Although spectacular year-round, the region’s most scenic in December with sky-scraping snow peaks, snowy trails, and sub alpine meadows.
Wildflowers may have been gone but the woods still look fresh and alive in the wintry morning. There’s an utter silence on the trail with a handful of trekkers visiting Everest Base Camp in December.
As snow cloaks the rooftop, villages look mesmerizing during December. Unlike lodges and teahouses, monasteries are open in the month to visit and offer prayers. You can also explore the sanctuary and the wild animals inhabiting there.
Highlights for December Trek
1. Kala Patthar
It’s hard to picture Everest Base Camp trek without a short run to Kala Patthar via Gorak Shep. Almost every trekker who visits base camp necessarily takes a stroll of this big brown mountain facing Pumori to get a snap of Mt. Everest.
Towered up to 5,643 meters, Kala Patthar is a famous landmark in the Khumbu region. It hosts hundreds of thousands of travelers every year to provide the sight of shimmering glaciers and icefalls.
Compared to other months, December does receive fewer visitors but the sceneries are still delirious. Days are pretty much awesome with clear sky and wind chill which makes trekking a lot easier than walking in scorching summer.
2. Sagarmatha National Park
Sagarmatha National Park is not just a sanctuary but a preordained course to reach Everest Base Camp. Without navigating the park, it’s nearly impossible to reach the base camp unless you take a flight.
Extended in an area of 1,148 sq. km, Sagarmatha National Park is an abode to more than 208 species of birds including the bearded vulture and alpine cough. It has also provided shelter to many deep valleys, mountains, and glaciers which you can spot along the way.
3. Namche Bazaar
Whichever way you decide to traverse Everest Base Camp, Namche Bazaar will stay on to be the highlight of the trip. This Sherpa town is quite popular amidst hikers for acclimatization but there’s so much more to it.
A lot of sites in Namche Bazaar offer a glimpse of snow-capped mountains, deep gorges, and valleys. Nestled at 3,440 meters altitude in Khumjung valley, the town is culturally rich with ancient monasteries and mani walls.
You can anytime drop by the Sherpa Cultural Museum and check out the photo gallery or read the old manuscript. The markets are pretty colorful with too many local shops selling various apparel.
4. Ngozumpa Glacier
Everest Base Camp is no stranger to surprising visitors with marvelous sights and Ngozumpa Glacier is just one of it. One of the longest glaciers in the Himalayas extending up to 22 miles, Ngozumpa puts quite a display. It exhibits a shimmering visual that looks even more marvelous in the beam of sunlight, captivating sightseers.
Everest Base Camp Trek in December – 12 Days Itinerary
Day 01: Flight to Lukla, Trek to Phakding
Maximum Altitude: 2,610 meters
Flight Distance: 138 km
Flight Duration: 40 minutes
To kick-off the Everest Base Camp trek with a bang, we’ll take an idyllic flight to Lukla. As the journey lasts about 40 minutes, we get to relish the charming view of snow peaks and epic landscapes.
After the flight lands at the runway, we’ll take a little break and start walking the trail. Ascending the rolling hills on the left bank of Dudh Koshi river and over the valley for about 3 hours, Tonight, we’ll rest in a lodge at Lukla.
Day 02: Trek to Namche Bazaar
Maximum Altitude: 3,440 meters
Trek Distance: 7.4 km
Trek Duration: 5-6 hours
The trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar is 6 hours long so we’ll start early and ascend over the terrace farm. Following the path to Monjo, we’ll make a stop at Sagarmatha National Park. As the trail climbs uphill, we pop up at a crest of a ridge from where the glimmering Lhotse can be witnessed.
From here, the trek eases with a restful walk into the pine forests and rhododendron. Shortly afterward, the mesmerizing Namche Bazaar will be right before our eyes. Since it’s impossible to carry on with the trek, we’ll shelter in a lodge at Namche.
Day 03: Rest day at Namche Bazaar
After a tough day yesterday, it’s time for us to slow down a little bit and enjoy the time at Namche. After breakfast, we’ll walk up the steep hill to Syangboche. The trail is slightly rugged and upward, taking us nearly 2 hours to finish.
After watching the close-up view of Everest and having breakfast at Everest View Hotel, we’ll get back to the village. If left with spare time, you can visit the Sherpa museum, walk in the local shops or explore the village.
Day 04: Trek to Tengboche
Maximum Altitude: 3,867 meters
Trek Distance: 9.2 km
Trek Duration: 4-5 hours
After a reinvigorating day at Namche, it’s time to return to the trek. The 6-miles long trail from Namche starts with a descent before running through the village of Trashinga. Coming out of the settlement, we’ll take a long uphill walk to Tengboche, passing mani stones and green meadows.
Following the quiet walk through the densely forested area, the hike gets easier from here. Along the way to Tengboche, you can see impressive cliffs and snow peaks. After less than an hour’s walk, we’ll arrive at the beautiful village which is also our final stretch for the day. Overnight stay in a teahouse at Tengboche.
Day 05: Trek to Dingboche
Maximum Altitude: 4,410 meters
Trek Distance: 10.5 km
Trek Duration: 5-6 hours
Early in the morning, we’ll pay a visit to the Tengboche monastery. After the prayers are over, we resume our trek by climbing uphill on the mountainside. Throughout the way, we have a stunning view of Ama Dablam and Kantega to accompany us.
As the trail gradually soars, it becomes annoying to walk the trail. However, the surrounding scenery and cool breeze of December will keep us charged up. Most of the trail walk uphill from here, leading the way through Pangboche. After traversing a zigzagged trail and a few mani walls, we’ll finally arrive at Dingboche.
Day 06: Acclimatization at Dingboche
Since the altitude rises sharply from Dingboche prompting altitude sickness, we’ll take a day off and rest at the village. Instead of goofing up, we’ll make the day worthwhile by taking a short walk to Chhukung village. From here, you can see the astonishing view of Lobuche, Amphu Lapcha, and Kongde Ri.
If you don’t want to go that far, you can ramble up to Nagarjuna Hill which too comes with a pretty amazing view. The trek takes just about 3 to 4 hours so you’ll not have a lot of stress
Overnight stay in a teahouse at Dingboche.
Day 07: Trek to Lobuche
Maximum Altitude: 4,950 meters
Trek Distance: 11 km
Trek Duration: 5 hours
The trail above Dingboche is extremely tough, arising from low air pressure and cold climate. Hence, we’ll start slow and catch the speed gently. It’s a downhill trekking from Dingboche to Pheriche until arriving at Dugla. Here, we’ll cross the small wooden bridge and stop at a local teahouse on the other side for a meal.
After reenergizing, we yet again proceed to the trail that climbs uphill. It takes about an hour to complete the trail before Lobuche village starts to show up. The settlement lies on the foot of Khumbu Glacier and is the last stop for lodging before Everest Base Camp.
Day 08: Trek to Gorak Shep, Hike to Everest Base Camp
Maximum Altitude: 5,364 meters
Trek Distance: 15 km
Trek Duration: 7-8 hours
It’s all or nothing today as we’re all set to take on Everest Base Camp. After the early morning breakfast, we’ll start walking the trail, passing rocky moraine and glacial lakes. Leading the way from the iceberg underneath Khumbu Glacier, our trails climb moraine dunes and a short stroll over rocks to Gorak Shep.
Upon reaching the small settlement, lying on the side of a frozen lakebed, we’ll have some food to get the energy needed. From there, our trek navigates the rocky trail and ice sheets to make it to Everest Base Camp.
The campsite offers some of the best mountain views in all of the Khumbu region. You’ll get to glance at Mount Everest and the mountains scattered all over including Nuptse and Lhotse. Besides, you get to watch an unspoiled view of Khumbu Icefall, rolling landscapes, and tranquil lakes. After done with sightseeing, you’ll climb down Gorak Shep and spend the night there.
Day 09: Hike to Kala Patthar, Trek to Pheriche
Maximum Altitude: 5,644 meters
Trek Distance: 13 km
Trek Duration: 5-6 hours
Early in the morning, we’ll steer the rocky terrain inclining upward all the way to Kala Patthar. As the trail rises up to 5,644 meters, you might get anxious in-between but the views alongside will keep grabbing your attention.
At Kala Patthar, you’ll get the most surreal views of Everest and the stunning glacial lakes that shine with the rising sun. After all the exploration, we’ll head back to the trail that fleets Gorak Shep and Lobuche.
The trail from Lobuche walks past cairns and shrines put on the memory of lost lives while climbing Everest. Finally, after walking for 5-6 hours, we’ll reach Pheriche and spend the night there.
Day 10: Trek to Namche Bazaar
Maximum Altitude: 3,440 meters
Trek Distance: 14.3 km
Trek Duration: 6-7 hours
After a wonderful time at Pheriche, we go back to the trail and finish the journey to Namche Bazaar. The hike is a bit easy today as most sections are downhill with a few steep ascents. We’ll walk through the forest, come across a bunch of traditional villages until arriving at the Sherpa capital, Namche Bazaar. Overnight stay in a lodge at Namche.
Day 11: Trek to Lukla
Maximum Altitude: 2,860 meters
Trek Distance: 13 km
Trek Duration: 7-8 hours
On the last day of Everest Base Camp Trek in December, we’ll trek from Namche to Lukla. The trails are mostly downhill which is nice and relaxing but we also have to take some steep ascents.
Following the trek distance of 13 km, we’ll walk past a few villages including Monjo, Benkar, and Phakding. The path will also see us crossing the suspension bridge over the Dudh Koshi river and through the forests to reach Lukla. As for the night, we’ll stay in a lodge at Lukla.
Day 12: Flight to Kathmandu
Maximum Altitude: 1,400 meters
Flight Distance: 138 km
Flight Duration: 40 minutes
No more walking as the Everest Base Camp Trek in December is just minutes away from the termination. Today, we’ll fly back to Kathmandu from Lukla airstrip. The journey lasts about 40 minutes during which you’ll get a scenic view of snow-capped mountains, pouring waterfalls, and forests. After taking down the TIA, our officials will drive you back to the hotel.
Difficulties During the Trek in December
1. Altitude Sickness
Just because you’ve trekked earlier or never encountered acute mountain sickness doesn’t mean you’re not likely to get one. The base camp trek is somewhat tough with the trail inclining up to 17,585 feet high.
Hikers are more prone to altitude after reaching Namche Bazaar as the temperature radically declines from here. Weather is more rebellious than ever from the beginning of December as it clings between autumn and winter.
This gradual increase in altitude causes hikers to suffer from shortness of breath, dizziness, and even hypoxemia. The frigid climate adds even more strain during Everest Base Camp Trek in December, increasing the chances to suffer from pneumonia and frostbite.
2. Severe Weather
It’s really hard to embrace cold weather after enjoying autumn for almost 3 months. Although the atmosphere in December is not as terrible as in January, it’s not good either. Mornings and nights are relatively cold with the temperature falling up to -6 Degree Celsius while the days are mild.
The Autumn scent can be whiffed in the first two weeks of December. But as time passes, the vibrant colors and fragrance of fall flowers vanish with the icy smell taking over the air. The more altitude you gain, the tougher it becomes to steer the trail due to low oxygen and bad weather.
3. Steep Trail
With a timeless vivacity and overflowing natural wonders, hikers of Everest Base Camp trek in December may not feel miserable. But the endless trail walking 80 miles from Lukla sucks all the energy and causes people to tire out.
To make it worse, the walkway winds steep hills, for the most part, prompting exhaustion. In December, the paths are covered in thick snow which doesn’t provide a good grip. They are too slippery to walk without crampons and trekking poles.
4. Shorter Days
With the outset of winter, days start to shorten in December. If you don’t leave early or spend too much time on the trail, it’s impossible to finish the trek on time. The average walk during the Everest Base Camp trek is about 5-6 hours each day. Keeping that in mind, you have to plan your schedule and wind up the trek before dusk.
Weather During Everest Base Camp Trek in December
December may indicate the arrival of the winter season but the month itself is not the coldest. In fact, the first few days of December still gives an Autumn vibe with long sunny days, warm weather, and clear sky.
It enfolds a moderate climate with an average temperature of 4 Degree Celsius in and around the base camp. But as time flies, the weather starts to frail with heavy snowfall covering woods and valleys.
By the end of December, the temperature falls below -5 Degree Celsius at higher altitude places like Dingboche and Gorak Shep. Mornings and nights are terribly cold while the days are slightly warmer with bright sunshine.
The precipitation is significantly low with dry air blowing through Chukhung valley. There’s no rainfall in December but the climate is still bitter. To stay protected from such an inhospitable atmosphere and escape cold, you must keep yourself warm. Carry high-insulated clothes and fleece jackets to retain heat.
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Why Trek Everest Base Camp in December?
Although it officially marks the start of the winter season, December actually is quite better to explore the region than any other month. The lovely weather, charming towns, and freezing cold waters make the region even more full of life.
Since December is a blend of autumn and winter season, the climate is absolutely perfect. The month is totally underrated as you can do so many things, be it snowboarding in the mountains or sledding.
The fresh snowfall and sharp views of snow peaks make Everest Base Camp Trek in December worth. Trails are quiet and forsaken with no one to interrupt or create a fuss about. Some other reasons why you should do Everest Base Camp Trek in December are as follows.
Unlike primetime trekking season, December surely welcomes fewer visitors at Everest Base Camp. The trails are almost empty with not many people interested to ascend the camp and withstand frigid weather.
Trekkers who decide to scramble the base camp in December will be rewarded with a breathtaking view. Given the fall in the number of guests, it’s really easy to get standard accommodation at a reasonable price.
You can even bargain rates for rooms and meals. Most trekkers usually sit by the fireplace to keep yourself warm and impede getting sickened. Trekkers won’t have to surge the track before dawn as it’s crowd-free.
2. High visibility
Winter is far from full swing during December therefore, you’ll get sharper visibility of mountains and valleys. Although it’s winter, days are clear and warm in December due to which you can catch the glimpse of Everest from miles away. The wild forests and valleys look equally stunning in winter.
3. Easy flights
The regular aircrafts flying to Lukla are unoccupied during December. You won’t have to rush or book the flights earlier to get a room. However, you might not want to risk it and or miss the chance of visiting base camp due to unstable weather in Khumbu. Snowstorms and fog often just cause the flight to delay or cancel. Hence, it’s better to book the flights in advance instead of waiting for the last minute booking.
4. Quiet Trails
Even on the loveliest day of December, the trails of Everest Base Camp don’t have too many guests to accompany. Whether you take a stroll through the village or woods, it’s quiet everywhere that you can even hear the gentle wind blowing. People who appreciate a crowd-free environment will indeed enjoy Everest Base Camp Trek in December. They can travel anywhere at any time without the stress to beat the crowd.
5. Low precipitation
Starting from Lukla airstrip, Everest Base Camp Trek goes all the way up to 5,360 meters above sea level where the air is dry. At high-pressure belts, the precipitation is extremely low with occasional rainfall and snow. The cold air has less moisture which reduces the likeliness of drizzle so you can calmly explore the splendid sites.
Food and Accommodation
There are many guest houses and lodges ready to serve trekkers in December. They help guests with all kinds of services from booking rooms to offering food and drink. Accommodation at tea houses is usually great with spacious single or double bedrooms.
They cost as little as $3 to $5 and come with a nice bedsheet, a pillow, and a warm blanket. Hot showers and battery chargers cost extra price so if you’re willing to have it, be ready to spend a few more bucks.
Foods are delicious and warm on Everest Base Camp Trek in December. They are prepared using local ingredients and home-made spices beneficial for health. Meals in breakfast usually have milk tea, bread, and muesli while lunches have traditional Nepali food. Some tea houses also provide dumplings, stir-fried noodles, and flatbread.
Things to Consider
Since the weather is constantly fluctuating in December, you need to be a little careful not to let the health deteriorate. The trails of Base Camp are not your best ally during December, as it gives a hard time while hiking. The cold weather also increases the level of difficulty by offering low oxygen and moisture in the air.
Hence, you need to be more attentive and mindful while traveling the Everest Base Camp trek in December. Without being fully prepared, it’s pointless to set forth on the trek. Some of the things you need to be really cautious of while trekking Everest Base Camp in December includes are
1. Guide and Porter
Although most trekkers don’t take it much importance, guides and porters play the most integral role in the success of your trekker. They help you with the loads and lead you all the way to the base camp. The maximum weight that a porter carries is 30 kg which means each person can lose their weight by 15 kg.
Excess weight or baggage will require an extra porter and extra charge therefore you must pack within weight. It’s to be made sure that the guide you have hired is professional and can speak fluent English.
Everest Base Camp Trek is already hard and without proper acclimatization, it’s even harder to reach an altitude of 5,360 meters. Nearly every trekker which climbs the camp in December takes a rest at Namche Bazaar to adapt to the climate and temperature.
Most of them take a trip to Syangboche to take a close shot of Mt. Everest, Ama Dablam, and Nuptse. You can also walk through the forest and explore different wildlife including Himalayan Thar, Snow Leopard, and serow. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking as much water as possible to prevent altitude sickness.
3. Pack Essential Gears
The ease of your Everest Base Camp Trek in December depends on what essential gear you choose to have on the trek. Since December is a cold month, your choices of clothing and trekking gears should be according to it.
High-insulated clothes including down jackets and synthetic t-shirts keep the body warm even in a temperature below 0 Degree Celsius. Mountaineering boots with crampons are great for walking on a snowy trail.
4. Physical Training
Everest Base Camp Trek is fairly gruesome with a never-ending uphill walk that takes more than 2 weeks of hiking. Without enough physical strength and endurance power, it’s awfully hard to overcome that long trek. You can increase muscle strength and willpower by doing hardcore exercises like cardio and planks.
Preparation and Essential Equipment For December
It’ll be silly to hike the trail of Everest Base Camp without adequate preparation and training. Beginners often make the mistake of underestimating the course and take it lightly. But when you’re ascending as high as a base camp, you need to come with more strength and technical skills.
Don’t confuse trekking base camp for walking on a playground as the trails are quite challenging. Most of them scramble steep hills that drain all the energy and push you beyond the limits.
It becomes dreadfully tough to beat the outlying path while maintaining the pace and stamina from beginning to end. Thus, you have to follow an intense workout routine at least a month before the trek to get the balance right and increase perseverance.
Hikers usually suffer from altitude sickness due to lack of enough trekking experience or resilience to withstand the height. Therefore, it’s wise to warm up the body and take a few short distance hikes.
Physical preparation is crucial for trekkers climbing high altitude and long-drawn steep trails like Everest Base Camp. It requires a great amount of energy and whole-body stamina to conquer the route and reach base camp.
You need to layout a proper workout plan in order to stay physically fit. Preseason trekking can be a great help in keeping stability on the uneven trail. Exercise designed to improve muscle strength and boost power like cardio and planks has proven to be effective.
However, take a look around the workout you cling to build the physique as it must not put a lot of stress on hikers. If it gives strain or hurts too much then you should drop such physical activity and stick to a normal fitness regimen.
Considering what the trail of Everest Base Camp could bring in December, it’s tremendously important for you to be mentally prepared. Accept or deny but the hike to Everest Base Camp can be psychologically disturbing due to unexpected difficulties and frigid weather.
It’s hard to keep calm when the weather stops to show good signs and on top of that, you have not enough equipment needed on the hike. Having the right gear will increase your confidence and keep you going throughout the trek.
Prepare the appliance based on which season you’re traveling to the base camp. This will give you more strength to endure the walk even in a bad climatic condition. Eat nutritious food while on the trek as it will keep you healthy and stop from getting sick.
Essentials for Everest Base Camp Trek in December
The success of trekking depends on how you prepare and what you have on your rucksack to prevail over the hike. There’s no way a trekker can make it up to an elevation of 17,585 feet in December without the right gears and mountaineering equipment. Therefore, you must analyze the weather before trekking and get the equipment adapted. Some of the essentials that can be a big help during Everest Base Camp Trek in December are as follows.
- Fleece jacket or warm wool jumper to prevent cold
- Lightweight trekking trousers
- Long-sleeve synthetic shirt
- Windproof jacket for chilly nights and mornings
- Mountaineering Boots to avoid frostbite
- Waterproof trekking shoes
- 2 pairs of warm woolen socks
- First-aid kit with prescribed medication
- Spare batteries and power bank
- Polarized sunglasses
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About the Route
Extended up to 40 miles long, Everest Base Camp Trek can be started and finished in various locations. The most prevalent way to reach the base camp is by taking a short flight to Lukla from Kathmandu. As soon you land at the town, the hike formally kicks off on a standard route winding from Phakding to Everest Base Camp.
It takes more than a week to finish walking the trail that passes several quaint villages, terrains, and cliffs before ending up at the base camp. The trail along the camp passes many remote settlements including Namche, Dingboche, and Gorak Shep.
The other way around to get to the base camp is via the Jiri-EBC trail. It’s a long route and takes almost a month to complete but the experience is unrivaled. The views are overwhelming throughout the ride from Kathmandu to Jiri and even beyond with gorgeous terrace farms, ancient buildings, and Chortens.
It follows a different route until Namche but thereafter the trail steers through Tengboche and Lobuche. Before arriving at the Sherpa town, trekkers will be spending almost a week walking past Deurali and Junbesi.
Another alternative route for Everest Base Camp Trek in December is the Gokyo-EBC trail. The course to reach base camp via Gokyo is a bit dramatic and exhausting but well worth traversing. It offers an astounding view of snow-capped mountains, vivacious valleys, small hamlets, and ridge.
Fogs and mists are likely to obstruct the morning view of the hills during December. But since the days are clear with blue sky, you’ll get to explore the surrounding and sneak a look at tempting hilltops, cascading streams, and tranquil lakes.