Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monsoon Trekking: Solukhumbu

I've done more monsoon trekking than the average bear, and I always write about how it aint that bad. Still every time I'm about to do a trip in the monsoon I always buy into the hype a bit and assume it might be a miserable time. Even when I read my entry about The Big Monsoon Lie or what a great trip I had up in the Gosainkund lakes I still assume maybe I just got lucky. Well I just got back from another great trip, with fabulous views, decent warm weather and hardly another tourist on the trail- this time visiting the land of Everest up in Solukhumbu.

Water falls this time of year are awesome 

In the last post I said I was going to try the backside of Annapurna, but as it turns out there are no flights into Humde until September unless you charter a flight. This was a trip with a very small time window due to the schedule of a friend that was visiting and only had roughly five to seven days. The toughest part about monsoon trekking in Nepal really is just getting to the trail heads, as the roads are a mess and the clouds can ground planes for days. We booked flights into Lukla and got out the day we were supposed to, no problem. Just to point out that this is not always the case, the week previous flights had been grounded for five days straight.

Clear views from Namche Bazaar 

The weather was fine the whole time we were up there. On our initial day we got some light rain during the day, but nothing heavy until just as we reached Namche. This pattern, and this being the pattern I've observed every trip, held up the whole time we were up there. Mornings are generally clear and offer the best viewing of the mountains (5:30ish when the sun is first coming up seems to be best), by afternoon some clouds rise up from the valley and obscure the views, and in the evenings you get some heavy rains. Generally if you can be indoors by three or four in the afternoon you don't get too wet. 

Looking down the valley toward Amadablam & Everest

Speaking with the lodge owner of the Khumbu lodge in Namche (highly recommended, place and service is great) it appears that this monsoon is even slower than normal. It's really too bad too, because of my four trips to the region it was easily the most pleasant temperature wise, and the views were as good as my September trip and my first March trip. It was also clear that the rain and clouds were less of a factor the further up the valley you went. Due to time constraints we only went as far as Tengboche monastery this time, but it was clear that the worst of the rain fell south of Namche at the sub 4,000 meter (12K feet) elevations.

Clouds move over peaks east of Namche

As I know this blog often gets searched out for advice on people wanting to (or being forced to) trek during the monsoon period, all I can say is that every time I go I have a good time. Solukhumbu was no different, and as the pictures show we were certainly not denied the beautiful views of the region. Obviously experiences will vary, but the longer I live here and talk to other people traveling and go on trips myself in the monsoon, the more convinced I become that it's not a bad time of year to go up into the mountains.


  1. By the look of your photos, another reason to head up that way at this time of year is that it's amazingly lush and green! Much better for photos that the dusty brown most people get if they trek 'in season'.

  2. Thanks Brian for being our "guide" up to Tengboche. This was my first trek in the Himalayas and I LOVED it. The weather was warm, we were the only ones at some of the guest houses, no animals were on the trail and we saw amazing views of the mountains. We got lucky and flew in and out of Lukla on time and had smooth flights (the air is heavy this time of year). I recommend monsoon visits to Nepal. :)

  3. Images that you have provided are really good including the content that you have provided. I wish to go at least once for trekking. Let me try :)

  4. How about the weather there around july, im thinking to stop a week in kathmandu. Can you give me advice which interesting place around the city or not to far from there..? and its posible to see himalata peak from the distance..?


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