Everest Base Camp Trek in January

The most well-known trip in the Everest Region is the Everest Base Camp trip, or EBC Trek.  It is also most likely Nepal’s most well-known trek.  We know that many individuals dream of reaching base camp because more than 40,000 hikers do so each year.  However, you should be aware that this is not a simple hike before beginning.  Even though many people reach base camp and post amazing photos of their journeys on their blogs, this is a challenging hike, so careful planning should be done before setting off.  It goes without saying that appropriate clothing, an appreciation of the landscape’s beauty and challenges, and a general condition of fitness are necessary.

Overview of Trekking to EBC in January

Trekking in Nepal is much more difficult during the winter, as one might imagine.  But there are also tremendous benefits.  The paths and teahouses (trekking lodges) are calmer during this “off season” for trekking; there’s a tranquility in the air that’s not there during other seasons. There are less flight delays since the weather is suitable for flying right now. The skies are clean, the snow is fresh, both on the slopes and beneath feet. There may also be a discount on flights at this time. 

Conversely, the weather is chilly!  You have to be ready for the damp and cold, and certain routes are impassable because of snow-covered mountain passes.  Due to the snow, a few of the higher teahouses will close at the same time. Due to the limited number of trekkers passing through at this time, those that are open might provide you with the best lodging at a lower cost.  Thus, ask questions, but avoid negotiating with the lodge owner for a few dollars.  They suffer greatly in the winter.

Because of the closure due to snow, we advise you to travel with a guide in January as the trails may change from those shown on your map or on signposts.  It could also be challenging to read already-existing paths if there has been recent snowfall.  In January, having a guide with experience trekking in this area and during the cold is highly recommended.  

Weather and Climate in January in the Everest Region

Because of the closure due to snow, we advise you to travel with a guide in January as the trails may change from those shown on your map or on signposts. It could also be challenging to read already-existing paths if there has been recent snowfall. In January, having a guide with experience trekking in this area and during the cold is highly recommended. 

Snowfall in January and its Impact on Your Trek 

Because of the closure due to snow, we advise you to travel with a guide in January as the trails may change from those shown on your map or on signposts. It could also be challenging to read already-existing paths if there has been recent snowfall. In January, having a guide with experience trekking in this area and during the cold is highly recommended. 

Pros and Cons of Trekking to EBC in January

The main benefit is that there aren’t as many hikers around! The trails are going to be all yours. Because there won’t be as many hikers, you can obtain better deals and accommodations at the teahouses and sit down to talk with the lodge owner because they won’t be as busy. This is the time of year when the scenery is even more breathtaking and spectacular, and since the skies are clear, there is less chance that the weather will cause your flight to be delayed.

Cons: There aren’t as many hikers in the area. Thus, this may be a little off-putting to those of you who enjoy telling stories to each other during dinner. In order to avoid the bitter cold, the owners of several trekking lodges seal their doors throughout the winter. The menu can have fewer options because the supplies aren’t being delivered as frequently. However, food will always be hot and excellent. Snowfall may force you to modify your itinerary or lengthen your travel. It is strongly advised to heed the counsel of the lodge owner, since they are well-aware of the issues related to snowfall throughout the winter months. From a safety perspective, it is not advised to travel alone during the winter. Additionally, it’s cold.

Preparing for the Everest Base Camp Trek in January

It is always advised to prepare before embarking on the Everest Base Camp Trek. However, there is never a more important time to do it than if you intend to walk in the chilly winter months.

Physical Fitness and Training

Before traveling to Nepal, become in shape.  Take up weightlifting at home, go running, and get that gym membership.  Above all, go on long walks or hikes in your neighborhood, preferably through hilly terrain.  But in all honesty, jogging and weightlifting won’t get you ready for the high altitude and extended walking hours that you will experience in the Himalayas, especially in the Everest Region. 

Acclimatization and Altitude Sickness

At high altitudes, acclimatization is always required. It’s customary to spend the first two nights at Namche Bazaar on the Everest Base Camp Trek acclimatizing. This is a really bustling place to become acclimated to, and there is lots to do. We define “active” as walking for three, four, or more hours. 

At Dingboche, there’s another acclimatization day. If you are travelling with a guide or agency, these acclimatization days are scheduled within the regular trekking itinerary for your own safety. We cannot overstate how crucial it is to take these days if you are traveling alone, even if you feel great and are generally in excellent condition. No matter how healthy or resilient you are, you still have to follow the laws of nature unless you were born and raised at high elevations, as altitude sickness can be fatal. 
Let us remind you that we offer comprehensive information regarding altitude sickness on a different website.

Make a note of any headaches you may experience. You may not realize how serious it is. Headache, nausea, loss of appetite, exhaustion, difficulty falling asleep, and dizziness are examples of mild symptoms. Acclimatization is the best way to avoid or treat these problems (as EBC Trek itineraries propose). You should quickly descend to a lower altitude if they continue to worsen even after you have stayed where you are for two nights. In the worst case scenario, mental confusion and difficulties with balance and coordination lead to the development of High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). The issue at hand is mental disorientation, which makes it possible for you to be unaware of your severe illness. One more reason to hike with a porter or guide.

HACE can deteriorate rapidly, and if left untreated, it can be fatal.

Indeed, this sounds really scary. But in high altitudes like the Everest Region, it is a very serious reality. Almost everyone will have some kind of headache until their bodies adjust to the reduced oxygen levels in the air. A few will experience more severe symptoms. Furthermore, it is unaffected by your age, level of fitness, or prior hiking experience.

Tips to Avoid Altitude-Related Illness

Maintain adequate hydration. 
Consume healthfully, even when not hungry. 
Never ascend too high without first becoming acclimated. 
It’s not a race, so don’t go too quickly. 
Observe your body, taking particular note of any headaches. 
Retrace your steps to a lower altitude without fear. This does not indicate a lack of integrity. 
Keep in mind that people of any age or fitness level can experience altitude sickness.

Essential Gear and Clothing

The equipment required for the EBC Trek is listed here. This is a simple round list for any season. A waterproof boot and pants (for the snow), a thick down jacket, a four-season sleeping bag, and warmer undergarments than you might require in the spring and fall are essentials in the winter.

  • Sleeping bag
  • Trekking boots (waterproof)
  • Trekking trousers (waterproof for winter and monsoon)
  • Thermals
  • Trekking tops
  • Jackets (down and fleece)
  • Warm socks
  • Gloves (thin insulating)
  • Warm cap
  • Trekking poles (even if you don’t usually hike with them, they are great in the winter to test the depth of snow and pin-point the path more easily)
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Moisturiser
  • Thermal flask
  • Water purifying tablets or straw
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat
  • Camera
  • Whistle
  • Medical kit (including extras of your essential medicines in case of delays)
  • Personal hygiene kit: toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, soap sponge, towels, toilet paper 
  • Washing powder
  • Notebook and pen
  • Phone charger and power pack

Obtaining Permits and Documentation

To trek to Everest Base Camp, you require two main permits:
Kumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Entrance Permit: Nrs 2,000 per person.

Obtainable in Lukla or Monjo.  Not available in Kathmandu.

Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit: Nrs 3,000 per person

Acquired at the Nepal Tourism Board Office located in Kathmandu, or from the Sagarmatha National Park gate entrance in Monjo. To obtain this permit in Monjo is more convenient. 

You would need to pay Rs. 3,000 per person for an additional permission to enter the Gaurishankar Conservation Area if you are trekking in from Jiri. This can only be obtained in Kathmandu at the Nepal Tourism Board.

The necessary paperwork for hiking permits is a copy of your passport. Also required for the Gaurishankar Conservation Area Permit are two passport-sized photos. Payment can only be made in local currency. 

Popular Route Options in January

Although the Everest Base Camp Trek can be completed in January, you have the option to choose a different route if you think this would be too challenging for you, learn that things are tough before you go, or discover this after you arrive (Namche is a fantastic place to gather updates on the route problems).  One option is to embark on the seven-day Everest Base Camp Trek, which begins in Lukla and travels to Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, and then back to Lukla via a circle that passes through Monjo.  Tengboche (3,956m) is the trek’s highest point.  The Tengboche Monastery, the Dudh Koshi and Bhote Koshi rivers, the alpine vegetation, and of course Mount Everest among other mountains such as Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and Thamserku. 

For those seeking a lengthier adventure, the Gokyo Lake Trek may be a good fit. This ten-day walk takes you to the stunning Gokyo Lakes—yes, there are six lakes altogether! Not only can you see the magnificent freshwater lakes at high altitudes, but you can also see the Ngozumpa glacier, which is one of the biggest in the region. Of course, one can see Mount Everest, as well as many other mountains like Cho Oyu, Lhotse, and Makalu.

Modifications Due to Weather Conditions

However, if you have your heart set on hiking to Everest Base Camp in January, be ready to adjust your plans in light of the weather.  As we previously stated, it is quite improbable (and unfortunate) that it will snow nonstop for days while you are trekking.  But for a day, it might snow.  You should be ready to remain where you are in this situation.  Do not attempt to elude the weather by going outside during a snowfall.  It could be necessary to alter your plan if the snow is extremely deep.  Talk about this once again with the lodge owner or your guide.  They can probably give the suggested route a call in advance to make sure it’s available. 

Make sure you pay attention to what your guide or the lodge owner has to say. When there is a lot of snow, resist the urge to get outside. A porter went missing in May 2023 and died in a snowstorm. Unfortunately, when it began to snow, he had gone back to the teahouse the clients had used the previous evening, but he had gone out again during the storm to attempt to locate his group. 

Major Stops and Highlights Along the Way

When you visit in January and the trails are available to the public, the stops stay largely unchanged from the rest of the year.  That is:

For the purpose of getting acquainted, making new friends, and learning about the history of the Sherpas and Sir Edmund Hillary’s contributions to the local community, visit Namche Bazaar. This month is essentially off-season, but you can still have a glass of Guinness at the world’s tallest Irish pub!  There’s also a snooker table, decent music, maybe some dancing, and strong WiFi available.  Discover the recently opened Tenzing Norgay Sherpa Heritage Center at the Sagarmatha National Park Visitors Center, which opened on the 70th anniversary of the first summit of Everest.  You may learn more about this here. 
concerning the past attempts as well as the initial successful summit between Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

The highest monastery in the area, Tengboche has lovely views of the mountains, a calm atmosphere, and amiable monks. Pujas, or religious ceremonies, are held every day in the morning and evening in addition to on special occasions.  Guests are welcome to participate.  You are welcome to light butter lights for your loved ones at other times.  Naturally, take some amazing pictures of the Alps from the monastery’s environs. When snapping pictures, show courtesy by getting permission beforehand. We would be grateful if you could leave a small donation. 

At 4,940 meters/16,210 feet, Lobuche is a little town from which you can embark on exploration walks to Everest Base Camp and Kalapatthar. Situated close to the Khumbu Glacier, it is the final overnight stop for hikers en route to Everest Base Camp. During the main season, it is a bustling area as the last halt, especially in April when porters and Sherpas head to Base Camp for the beginning of the climbing season. Maybe because there’s nowhere else to stay, most of the lodges here are rather modest. A few resorts do offer oxygen if needed, as well as Internet access. 

Highlights include:

At sunset or at daybreak atop Kalapattar. Kalapattar, at 5,545 meters/18,192 feet, is genuinely the Everest viewpoint. 
residing at the base camp of Mount Everest. You’ll have the property to yourself in January as there won’t be any excursions visiting!
tracing the route taken by renowned climbers who came before you. 

The aura of spirituality in the place. 
The amazing deserted paths. 
The most beautiful mountains covered in snow. 
The greatest lodging available at the most competitive prices. 
just existing! 
Lodging and Arrangements 

Teahouses and Lodges During the Trek

In Nepal, the trekking lodges are called teahouses. Most of them are modest, family-owned businesses. In the lower parts of the walk, there are one or two more luxurious lodges; but, further up, accommodations consist of a basic twin-bedded room with a common bathroom. and delicious, hearty cuisine! 

Some of the lodges might be closed in the winter as families descend the mountain until spring, when many hikers arrive. So be ready to accept a different lodge in case your first one doesn’t work out. 
The menu might have fewer options. Some commodities might not be brought in during the winter months if there are fewer tourists since they are difficult to carry into the area. In any case, we advise against consuming meat or alcohol during the walk. There will always be delicious Sherpa cuisine accessible. 

The difficulty of the Everest Three Passes Trek or the Gokyo Chola Passes Trek may vary from year to year, but we are aware that it will be challenging because the teahouses in Thagnak and Dhonjila—the towns on each side of the Chola Pass—are closed. Additionally, they are closed at the settlement of Lungden, which is near the Renjola Pass. Once more, asking the proprietor of your tea shop what is open on the trail ahead is very valuable. 

Food and Water Availability

Every teahouse open in January will have a plenty of food available. But the menu may not be as extensive as it is during peak hours. A low volume of hikers may indicate that the head chef is away or that certain items are difficult to obtain. You won’t go hungry, though. Water is available, as it always is, but at a price. Never consume river or tap water! Alternatively, purchase heated water from the teahouse or, if available, mix your own pills or straw with FRESH water. Boiling water will be charged for. With the focus shifting to conservation, bottled water is no longer accessible on the majority of Nepal’s hiking routes. 

Hiring a Guide and Porter

Once in the Everest Region, you can typically hire a guide and/or porter if you decide not to trek through an agency. Finding someone may be more difficult during the peak trekking season because to the large number of trekkers passing through. Finding a guide or porter in January could be difficult as well, since many would have left for the winter. Please do your homework completely before leaving. Try getting in touch with a couple lodges in Namche, Phakding, or Lukla regarding the porter situation. 

Leave a Comment