Despite the SIGNAL “NO” received from various trek experts and companies in Nepal, one can still consider trekking during winters. All you need is to pack more warmer clothes and trek on easier trails.
Winter in Nepal
Northern Nepal is home to some of the highest mountains in the world; Everest, Manaslu, Kanchenjunga and so on. The higher elevations during winter can be coldest compared to other lower regions in the country, and often inviting heavy snowfalls. As precipitation is known to be least or scarce during winter, northern regions remain dry and easily commute-able.
This season is considered OK for trekking in northern Nepal. The morning/night is colder and the day is warm when sunny. Many Himalaya tribes, residing in the higher elevations, temporarily migrate to lower and warmer regions -along with their cattle and rations, abandoning their homes which also serves as a Tea-house.
Most of the trek regions appear to be empty with only popular trek trail receiving handful of trekkers. As most of the tea-houses close down, accommodation is found to be very scarce in numbers.
During a winter in Nepal (December to February), the temperature may go down up to 0°F – 4°F during the day and much lesser during the night. The temperature in the regions above 4,800 m can go down -20°F to -30°F during the night.
Popular Winter Trek Destinations
#1 Everest Region
Being one of the most popular trek destinations in Nepal, Everest region receives fairly good amount of trekkers during winter as well. However, many other higher regions, such as; 3 Passes, receive least to none trekkers. It becomes essential to take a guide along these least populated trails. Most of the tea-houses are completely shut, with few remaining open to cater available trekkers.
Namche Bazaar can be a quiet place during winter. The clearer sky during the day offers easy sightings of the surrounding mountains. The night is fairly colder and sleeping bag, blankets etc become essential.
#2 Annapurna Region
Annapurna is the most popular trek destination in Nepal. Even during winter, it may receive fairly good amount of trekkers and many tea-houses remain open.
Annapurna Base Camp is still the most popular trek trail along with Annapurna Circuit.
#3 Manaslu Region
An alternative to Annapurna Circuit trek, Manaslu trek may receive handful of trekkers during winter. A considerable ease on access to commute to the region and availability of accommodations help in countering major trek difficulties.
Manaslu Circuit trek can be a good option for a winter trek.
#4 Upper Mustang
Mustang, being one of the rain-shadow area, can be trekked throughout the year. Unlike other northern regions, Mustang isn’t much affected by rain or continuous snowfall. The decreasing level of Kali Gandaki river also enables to take a vehicle to farther distances, hence, creating ease on commute.
Temperature during the night can go down to -25°F or less. The inhabitants move to warmer locations during winter, causing Mustang to appear almost empty, however one can opt. to camp or stay in tea-house as well.