Trekking in Nepal

Nepal 's Climate

Nepal is situated just five degrees above the Tropic of Cancer, which positions it at a similar latitude to Orlando, Florida. You would hardly expect to find yourself amid some of the most extreme cold and avalanche conditions so close to the equator, but that's where you'll find the Himalayas, along with the hordes of eager trekkers lining the trails. The lowlands do offer mild winters and sweltering summer months. Although the climate is sub-tropical in the lowlands, when you're above 12,000 feet you'll still want to keep track of your long underwear. As you gain elevation on the trails you'll make a dramatic shift to sub-arctic and even an arctic climate that requires the best cold weather gear that money can buy.

From late spring until fall Nepal is mired in torrential monsoon rains. Much of the tourism comes to a muddy halt as most of the spectacular mountain views are shrouded in heavy rain clouds, and in the higher elevations the intense snowfall and warmer temperatures creates a real no-man's land of avalanches that even the most daring climbers know to avoid. The best seasons for venturing into the highlands are in the late fall and early spring, when the rain clouds have cleared for the full magnitude of the world's best scenery, and when it's bitter cold, of course. Again, in the lowlands the monsoon season can make for less than optimal conditions for outdoor activities. In the west and as far east as Kathmandu, leeches are a menacing part of the rainy weather. Since they roam out onto the rain-soaked land you'll be delighted to find them discretely crawling up your pant legs.

The normal monthly rainfall totals for Kathmandu are listed here (in millimeters):

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
13.8 18.0 32.8 53.7 108.0 251.7 349.2 298.6 185.1 60.7 8.3 13.5 1392.8

The remaining seasons in Kathmandu are fairly mild. The geography between the Terai and the Himalayas contributes to conditions in the lowlands that protect from extremes in temperature. After the torrential monsoons have passed the skies open up and reveal the best mountain views. The clear skies and colder winter weather in the high mountains are a great benefit to the climbers since the threat of avalanches and perilous storms is greatly reduced. But some of us will sacrifice minor details like that to avoid the crowds.

The normal monthly temperature ranges for Kathmandu are listed here (in degrees Celsius):

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max.17.6 19.9 24.1 27.2 28.1 28.2 27.6 27.9 27.0 25.6 22.4 18.7 24.5
Min. 2.1 3.7 7.4 11.2 15.4 19.0 20.0 19.7 18.2 13.0 7.3 2.9 11.6

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