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Everest Base Camp Trek in December is a journey into the snowy landscapes of the Himalayas. If you love challenges and the cold temperature does not bother you, December is an excellent time to take up this trek. 

Visiting the Everest Base Camp is the dream for many trekkers worldwide. The trek in the Everest region of Nepal offers a close-up view of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. Its scenic landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and rich culture promise an awe-inspiring trekking experience unlike anywhere else.   

Along the trek, you will traverse picturesque Sherpa settlements like Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Dingboche, Gorak Shep, and more. Similarly, you will trek through the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sagarmatha National Park. The trail follows the famous Dudh Koshi River and crosses several suspension bridges, ancient monasteries, and more. 

Most trekkers prefer spring and autumn for EBC Trek. However, December, which falls in the off-season, offers a unique trek experience. You can escape the usually crowded route and enjoy the pristine beauty of the trails. The panoramic views of Mount Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, and others look even more enchanting at this time of the year

Extreme weather makes the trek more difficult, but it is precisely what attracts daredevil trekkers to Everest Base Camp during December. Let’s explore the EBC Trek more at this time of year! 

Can you Trek to Everest Base Camp Trek in December?

Definitely, yes! Everest Base Camp in December is doable. The trails are serene and quiet, and the scenery is a winter wonderland. 

Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular treks in Nepal, so the trails are pretty busy in peak seasons. However, the Everest Region in winter is quiet, with less crowded trails. Moreover, it is a perfect short trek that takes 7 to 12 days for adventurous trekkers looking for a challenge. 

At Everest Base Camp
At Everest Base Camp

Many might think December may not be ideal for trekking. They may think heavy clouds and fog obstruct the scenery and mountain vistas in the winter season. The opposite is true. The clouds and fog gather in the lower regions, so the views of the higher regions are unobstructed and crystal-clear. Thus, you can fully enjoy the magnificent mountain views. 

The low precipitation level is another benefit of the Everest Base Camp Trek in December. There is a low chance of rainfall, so trekkers are less likely to encounter leeches or bugs during the trek. 

With very few trekkers on the route, you are more likely to find better accommodations and services. As lodges are mostly empty, most accommodations even offer discounts. The services are also better. Despite the general thinking that winter is one of the worst trekking times, it is a great time to enjoy the serene trails and incredible winter scenery.   

There are other several trekking destinations in the Everest region that are great alternatives if you want to avoid the crowd in peak seasons. These include the Everest Three Pass Trek, Gokyo Valley or Gokyo Lake Trek, and Everest View Trek. You can also check Everest Base Camp Trek in September!   

How Difficult is Everest Base Camp in December?

Trekking to EBC at this month of the year is more challenging than during peak season. The first difficulty is the harsh weather conditions. In December, temperatures can reach sub-zero. Thus, trekkers need to prepare adequate clothing, comfortable trekking boots, and equipment. 

Likewise, there is heavy snowfall and strong winds. Because of the freezing temperature, there is a risk of getting frostbite and hypothermia. Due to the high-altitude nature of the trek, trekkers can also fall prey to altitude sickness. 

The heavy snowfall makes the Everest Trek trails slippery and dangerous. It is incredibly challenging to walk on steep sections, which require trekking poles and crampons. Heavy snowfall also increases the risk of avalanches. Additionally, daylight hours are shorter in December. Thus, trekkers must complete the trek considering these facts. 

Proper acclimatization and preparation can help trekkers overcome the difficulty of the Everest Base Camp Trek in December. While spring and autumn are the best time to trek, December’s thrilling and awe-inspiring experience is worth the daunting trek.     

Everest Base Camp Weather and Temperature in December

December marks the beginning of winter, and the Everest Base Camp Trek weather and temperature begin to get colder. Similarly, the base camp trek weather in December is unpredictable, and temperatures can reach sub-zero at higher altitudes. Depending on the altitude, the temperature can vary from moderate to extreme. 

Namche bazzar
Namche bazzar with Mt. Kongde

The days are warm in lower regions like Lukla, Phakding, and Namche Bazaar. The nighttime temperature is moderately cold, with occasional snowfall. Meanwhile, the nighttime temperature at higher altitudes like Gorak Shep, EBC, and Kala Pathar can go below zero. 

The weather of Everest Base Camp is usually sunny, warm, and clear. Similarly, the average daily daylight is 5 to 7 hours, and the average wind speed in December is around 12 to 19 k/hr (8 to 12 mph). Take a look at the temperature of the Everest region in different elevations:   

LocationElevationMin TempMax TempAvg Temp
Lukla2829 m-1.8°C9.8°C4°C
Namche3463 m-6.5°C7.6°C0.5°C
Dingboche4483 m-13.4°C3.2°C-5.1°C
Lobuche4910 m-16.4°C1.1°C-7.7°C
Gork Shep5180 m-17.8°C0°C-8.9°C

What Does Accommodation Look Like In December?

Since the number of trekkers in the month of December is lower, you will find wide options for accommodations. Most tea houses, hotels, and lodges are empty, so you can find good rooms without booking. The services are also better as there is less crowd, and discounts are available during this time. 

Generally, the teahouses and lodges provide basic facilities, including rooms on a twin-sharing basis, mattresses, pillows, blankets, and bedsheets. They also have shared bathrooms and communal dining halls. However, you can also find single rooms and rooms with attached bathrooms. Few luxury accommodations are available in Namche. 

Almost all teahouses and lodges have a wood-burning stove in the middle of the dining hall. It keeps the room and everyone inside warm. These accommodations also provide meal services. You must pay extra fees for hot showers, charging electronic devices, internet/WiFi, etc. 

Some Preparation For Everest Base Camp Trek During December

Before you embark on your Everest Base Camp Trek in December, there are some preparations you need to make other than physical and mental preparation. These include the following: 

Visa

All foreign travelers need a visa to travel and participate in various activities in Nepal, including trekking. You can obtain the visa on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu. The cost of the visa varies depending on your duration of stay. 

  • 15 Days: USD 30
  • 30 Days: USD 50
  • 90 Days: USD 125

If you want to extend your visa, you must apply before it expires. You can apply at the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu or the Immigration Office in Pokhara. The cost for an extended tourist visa for 15 days is USD 45, and you must pay an additional USD 3 each day.  

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is mandatory for the Everest Base Camp Trek. It is an essential safety net for trekkers in high-altitude regions with high risk. The EBC Trek trails are challenging and get tougher as you ascend to higher altitudes. 

The weather becomes unpredictable, the trails are rugged and rough, and there are sections with steep ascends and descents. Even with a guide, trekkers may get injured or experience altitude sickness. Thus, travel insurance should cover medical and emergency expenses like altitude sickness, helicopter rescue, and evacuation at a high altitude of 3000 m.  

Permit

You will need a Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit and a Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Entrance Permit for the Everest Base Camp Trek. You can obtain the permits from registered trekking agencies and local tour operators. 

  • Sagarmatha National Park costs NPR 2000 for non-SSARC nationals and NPR 1000 for SAARC nationals. 
  • Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Entrance Permit costs NPR 3000 for non-SSARC nationals and NPR 1500 for SAARC nationals.

You will also need the Gauri Shankar Conservation Area Permit if you plan to trek from Jiri to Everest Base Camp. It will cost NPR 3000 for non-SSARC nationals and NPR 1000 for SAARC nationals.

Altitude Sickness and Ways to Prevent Sickness

One risk during high-altitude treks like Everest Base Camp is altitude sickness. After crossing the 2,500-meter elevation, the oxygen level and air pressure in the atmosphere reduce, and trekkers begin to experience the symptoms of altitude sickness. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and can also be fatal if not taken seriously. It can be classified into three types: 

AMS: Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a mild form of altitude sickness whose symptoms include nausea, headache, dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, swelling, and difficulty breathing. 

HAPE: High-altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) is a severe form of altitude that occurs when a lack of oxygen causes fluid to accumulate in the lungs. Its symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, persistent dry cough, chest tightness or pain, rapid heartbeat, and blue or gray lips and fingertips. 

HACE: High-altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) is another severe altitude sickness that occurs when the low oxygen level causes fluid to accumulate in the brain. Its symptoms include nausea, headache, vomiting, disorientation, lack of coordination, and change in behavior. 

Altitude sickness can be life-threatening, so it should not be taken lightly. But luckily, there are ways to prevent the symptoms. Some of the precautions you can take are as follows: 

  • Ascend to a higher altitude slowly. Recommended altitude ascension is 300 to 500m a day.
  • Take acclimatization or rest day. It helps your body adjust to high altitudes, changing temperatures, and humidity. 
  • Stay hydrated, and drink 4 to 5 liters of water while on a trek. 
  • Avoid excessive intake of caffeine and alcoholic beverages and smoking. 
  • To prevent the symptoms, take medications like acetazolamide (Diamox), Ibuprofen, etc.; however, consult healthcare professionals before taking any medicines. 
  • Take a nutritious diet with sufficient calorie intake. 
  • Listen to your body; do not push yourself too hard. 
  • Despite the precautions and cures, if the symptoms persist, descend to the lower altitude immediately. 

Calculation For Cost & Daily Budget

The cost of an EBC Trek can vary depending on the duration, season, and services. Generally, trek packages average USD 1100 to USD 1500. These include round-trip flights between Kathmandu and Lukla, accommodations, meals, permits, guides, and porter fees. 

However, luxury trek packages can cost anywhere from USD 1800 to USD 3000. These packages include services like luxury accommodations, helicopter rides, and more. The price can increase based on the customization services. You can calculate your cost and budget to match your needs and preferences. 

These packages do not include visas, travel insurance, or personal expenses. Personal expenses include extra charges for hot showers, internet and WiFi, charging for electronic devices, laundry, etc., during the trek. Drinks and tips for guides and porters are also personal expenses. 

Thus, trekkers should carry extra cash with them during the trek. There are not many ATMs along the EBC route, and only a few are at Namche. Cash is the preferred payment method in almost all teahouses and shops. 

Hire a Guide and Porter For the Everest Base Camp Trek

As of March 2023, the government of Nepal has made hiring a guide compulsory. With more and more travelers flocking to Nepal for trekking, injuries and accidents have also increased. Especially at challenging and demanding treks like Everest Base Camp, trekkers’ safety has been a topic of concern for the government of Nepal and the Nepal Tourism Board. 

According to the latest trekking rules in Nepal, you must hire a registered and professional guide. Guides provide valuable support and guidance during treks in remote and challenging Himalayan terrains. They also provide deeper insights into the region’s local customs and traditions, which helps promote the region’s culture. 

Hiring a porter is not mandatory but is highly advised. Trekking on demanding terrains with a heavy backpack can risk injuries and accidents. They help carry that load off the trekkers so they can focus on enjoying the trek comfortably. 

The cost of hiring a guide can range from USD 30 to USD 40 per day. Meanwhile, hiring a porter starts at USD 25 per day, and they can carry a maximum of 25 kg of luggage. The guide and porter fees, as well as their meals, accommodation, insurance, and equipment, are included in a trek package. Ensure that the guide and porter have the qualifications and insurance for the trek.  

Outline Itinerary For Everest Base Camp in December

  • Day 01: Fly to Lukla – Trek to Phakding (Max Altitude: 2640 m/ 8745 ft)
  • Day 02: Trek to Namche Bazaar (Max Altitude: 3440m/ 11352 ft)
  • Day 03: Acclimatization Day in Namche Bazaar
  • Day 04: Trek to Debuche (Max Altitude: 3750 m/12705 ft) 
  • Day 05: Trek to Dingboche  (Max Altitude: 4350 m/ 14355 ft)
  • Day 06: Acclimatization Day in Dingboche
  • Day 07: Trek to Lobuche (Max Altitude: 4900 m/ 16170 ft)
  • Day 08: Trek to Gorak Shep – Excursion to Everest Base Camp (Max Altitude: 5364 m/ 17701 ft)
  • Day 09: Trek to Pheriche (Max Altitude: 4250 m/14025 ft)
  • Day 10: Trek to Namche Bazaar  (Max Altitude: 3440 m/ 11352 ft)
  • Day 11: Trek to Lukla (Max Altitude: 2800m/ 9240 ft)
  • Day 12: Fly to Kathmandu (Max Altitude: 1295m/ 4273 ft)

Conclusion

By now, you know that the Everest Base Camp Trek in December is one of the best times to explore the wonders of the Himalayas in winter. However, proper planning and preparation are required. Extreme weather and freezing temperatures will make the trek more demanding, but the peaceful atmosphere and exquisite scenery are worth the challenge. 

So, make sure you understand the difficulties of the trek before planning your trek. With proper preparation, the EBC Trek in December is perfectly doable. For a memorable trip with a comfortable itinerary, remember Nepal Alternative Treks!

Tej Bahadur Gurung

With an experience of almost two decades, founder Mr. Tej Bahadur Gurung has established Nepal Alternative Treks as a widely recognized and reliable tourism operator. His degree in Tourism Studies and devotion to the sector has given him in-depth knowledge about trekking, climbing, cultural, and geological aspects of the country. He is a pioneer in introducing the concept of ‘off-beaten tracks’ and ‘alternative routes’ as well as treks and tour packages surrounding it.

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