Everest Base Camp Trek in February sounds extreme but it's not impossible. Yes, you can trek to the remote Everest Base Camp in February, one of Nepal's coldest months. The thing is you need to be brave-hearted enough to withstand the cold and icy temperatures. With almost zero traffic and snow covering most of part of the trail, the EBC trek in February would be like a solitary walk in the polar ice caps, an unforgettable experience.
What are the advantages of trekking to EBC in February?
- The path will be less crowded and you will have the trail to yourself. You can enjoy your walk in serenity.
- You can expect some discounts at the local teahouses en route. You won't have to worry about getting a room as the teahouses remain mostly vacant during the off-season months including February
- You will be able to fly directly from Kathmandu to Lukla. In peak season the same is not possible as the Lukla flights are rerouted to Manthali Airport in Ramechhap which lies a couple of hours' drive away from Kathmandu.
- The mountains with the fresh cover of snow look amazing in winter.
- The snow on the slopes becomes perfect for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. The frozen Gokyo Lakes which lie close to Everest Base Camp are perfect for ice skating during winter. Figure skaters and ice hockey enthusiasts frequent the Gokyo Lakes during this time to enjoy a high-altitude game and a spin.
- You are more likely to spot wildlife on the trail as the animals migrate to the lower reaches during winter. Expect to come across herds of Himalayan Tahr, Musk deer, or some colorful flocks of Himalayan Monal and Tibetan snowcocks.
- Opportunity to experience Losar celebrations or the Sherpa New Year as it falls in the month of February. It's a joyous event filled with worship of the Buddhist deities and merry-making.
- February could be a great month for couples to trek to EBC. If your partner is as adventurous as you, you can celebrate Valentine's Day at the foot of the world's highest mountain.
What are the disadvantages of an EBC trek in February?
- It will be pretty cold and freezing especially at night when temperatures dip below zero degrees.
- Most of the teahouses close down during the off-season. But you can expect at least one teahouse open for business. You won’t have much choice regarding accommodation, but at least you will have a roof over your head and a warm meal.
- The trails will be covered in snow, ice, and slush in some places
- Your backpack might get heavier with all the heavy winter gear.
Weather in February
The average temperature in February on the Everest trail remains around minus three degrees Celcius. Lukla at 2860 meters above sea level remains the warmest with a maximum average temperature of 10 degrees Celcius while Gorak Shep will be the coldest recording its maximum average temperature at -15 degrees Celcius.
The velocity of the wind remains at eight to twelve miles per hour in February. The days start to get longer and there's more daylight compared to December and January.
What to Pack?
- A sturdy backpack that would hold all your trekking gear and equipment.
- A four-season sleeping bag
- Down jacket, warm pants, woolen socks, and down booties
- Balaclava or buff for protection from the Khumbu cough
- Thermal layers to keep you warm
- Cap and gloves or down mittens
- A hiking boot with good ankle support.
- Crampons or micro spikes to walk on frozen and slippery ground
- Trekking poles for support on steep uphills and downhills
- Snacks (chocolate and granola bars, ginger candies, dry fruits, etc)
- Head torch, power bank, extra batteries for your camera
How to Keep yourself safe during your EBC Trek in February?
Layer up and keep yourself warm at all times. Hypothermia is one of the reasons trekkers abandon their trek during the winter season. Keep aside some acclimatization days to give your body time to adapt to the rarefied air at higher elevations.
Include garlic and ginger soups or broths in your daily diet and drink lots of water. Ginger and garlic are used as traditional remedies for altitude sickness. Always wear sunscreen lotion and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays.
Have your crampons or micro spikes ready to walk on icy trails. Never try to exert yourself by trekking after sundown. There's a sudden plunge in temperatures after sundown and you may find yourself battling freezing temperatures while walking. It's prudent to end your day's trek before the sun sets if you don't want to get frostbite or hypothermia.
If you are trekking with a local guide, do listen to his advice. No one knows and understands a mountain trail better than a local who lives there. Eat full and hearty meals and always try to get at least eight hours of sleep.
The more rested your body feels, the more you will be able to walk. Last but not the least, have a good travel insurance policy, one that covers high-altitude rescue and evacuation costs.
While February is an off-season month and most of the teahouse owners head south to warmer areas, it's possible to find at least one or two teahouses open for business at each stop.
If you have the number of the teahouses you can contact them beforehand to book your rooms.
Since finding a lodge open for business while trekking during this time can be time-consuming, we recommend you trek with a local guide. He will have his contacts and will know which teahouses are open and which are closed.
Besides the Everest base Camp, you can visit the Gokyo Lakes and the Sherpa villages along the EBC route. The rarely visited Sherpa villages of Thame, Phortse, Thamo, Debuche, etc. offer an insight into the rich Sherpa culture and traditions.
If you are pressed for time you can enjoy taking helicopter tours to EBC, Kala Patthar, and the Gokyo Lakes and return to Kathmandu the same day.
Helicopter companies offer Heli Tours to Everest Base Camp with breakfast and champagne at one of the highest luxury resorts in Nepal at Kongde. This could be the perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day for couples.
February is also a good time to try out the classic Everest Base Camp route from Jiri or Salleri to Everest Base Camp. This route was chosen by the early Everest pioneers and walking in their footsteps adds a different kind of thrill to your adventure.
Birds and other wildlife tend to migrate to forests at the lower elevations during winter and you will find plenty on the lower reaches of the EBC trail. Additionally, you will get to enjoy a diverse culture and the views of the mountains remain stunning throughout.
Starting your trek from a lower altitude will moreover minimize the risk of altitude sickness en route.
Lhosar or the New Year celebrated by Sherpas and thttps://www.nepalhikingteam.com/package/everest-base-camp-short-trek/he Tibetan Buddhist communities fall in the month of February (from the year 2023 to 2029). If you are in the mountains during this time you can participate in the festivities. It's the time when families gather together to worship and celebrate.
Those who live away from their homes return to their native villages to be with their families. People wear new clothes, exchange gifts, and visit the gompas (monasteries) to seek blessings from the lamas for the new year. It is a joyous festival marked by merrymaking and feasting.
Valentine's Day also falls during this month. Planning an EBC trek with your loved one around this time will let you enjoy the trek in peace and quiet.
As there won't be much traffic on the trail you can have the trail all to yourself. You can enjoy the mountain views, sunrises, and sunsets in peace with your significant other without the constant chatter and murmuring of other trekkers.
February is a great month to trek to Everest Base Camp if you crave solitude and tranquility on the trail. No doubt it will be cold, but winter is the time when the mountain looks glorious covered in a fresh blanket of snow.
With no babbling crowd to spoil the ambiance and clouds to obstruct the mountain views, you can have your fill of the mountains to your heart's content.