Kanchenjunga Base Camp Weather

By Glorious Himalaya on February 5, 2023 in Travel Tips, Trekking

Kanchenjunga Base Camp is a popular and challenging trek that takes you closer to the third-highest mountain in the world, Mt. Kanchenjunga. To enjoy your trek to the Kanchenjunga region fun and with less difficulty, it is wise to trek during ideal weather conditions. This guide will explain the perfect time and weather for hiking at the Kanchenjunga Base Camp.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek is among Nepal’s most challenging trekking spots and is not recommended for less experienced people. Many factors make the Kanchenjunga Trek difficult, including altitude, duration, distance, rugged terrains, and dynamic weather. Many other treks, like Everest or Annapurna Base Camp, also have this difficulty, but Kanchenjunga’s remoteness is even more difficult. There are fewer infrastructures like hospitals, health care, tea houses, lodges, etc., so you may have to sleep in a tent and cook food in a campfire.

Among all the factors of trek difficulty in this guide, we will mainly discuss the dynamic weather conditions of the Kanchenjunga region and the ideal time for trekking the region. So let’s get into it.

A summary of the Kanchenjunga Base Camp weather during each season

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek starts at 1820m from the small remote settlement of Taplejung. As the days go forward, you will eventually reach an altitude of over 5140m. While the weather remains stable at lower altitudes, this is not true at high altitudes. The weather changes considerably at high altitudes, from bright sunshine one minute to heavy rain the next.

Spring Season

The ideal season to trek the Kanchenjunga region is Spring (March to May). In this season, the weather during the day becomes clear since the temperature ranges from 5 to 10 degrees Celsius. However, at night, the temperature drops significantly and will reach close to the freezing point. If rainfall or snowfall occurs, the temperature decreases well below freezing at night.

Autumn Season

Another good time for trekking to enjoy ideal weather conditions is the autumn season, which runs from September to November. The weather is clear, and the temperature is mild, but it becomes a bit chillier as the days progress. The temperature ranges from 10 to 15 degrees during the day, whereas it reaches a freezing point at night and sometimes well beyond it.

Winter Season

The winter season is less ideal for trekking in the Kanchenjunga region, even for experienced trekkers. The season starts in December and lasts until February. The weather is a bit hazy in the morning due to fog and snow, but as the sun rises, it becomes apparent, with stunning views of the mountains and skies. The temperature during the day is still below freezing at -5 degrees, whereas at night, it is freezing and reaches up to -20 degrees. The heavy winds are continuous, along with rainfall and snowfall. There is a considerable risk of avalanches and snowstorms, so it is not advisable to trek during the winter.

Monsoon Season

Just like winter, the monsoon season is also less ideal for trekking. The summer season starts in June, while the monsoon season starts in the middle of July, and the region suffers from relentless mild to heavy rainfall at lower altitudes. There is occasional rainfall at higher altitudes, but mostly snowfalls are common, which can lead to avalanches or landslides. The temperature reaches around 10 degrees in the daytime and below the freezing point at night. Furthermore, since there are no teahouses in the high altitude of the trek, you have to spend the night in a tent, which will be extremely difficult in case of heavy rain or snowfall.

Factors That Influence Kanchanjunga Trek Weather

Temperature

Mount Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak in the world, is located in the eastern part of Nepal near the border with Sikkim, India. The mountain’s base camp, situated at an altitude of around 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) above sea level, experiences a subarctic highland climate. This means the area is characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers.

During the summer, temperatures at the base camp are relatively mild during the day, with average temperatures ranging from 15 to 25°C (59 to 77°F). However, due to the high altitude and clear nighttime skies, temperatures can drop significantly at night and fall below freezing, making camping at the base camp a challenging experience.

During the day, temperatures can range from 10 to 15°C (50 to 59°F), while at night they can drop below -20°C (-68°F). These temperatures can make climbing the mountain or camping at the base camp challenging and dangerous. Additionally, the area can be subjected to heavy snowfall and high winds, making it even more difficult.

It is important to note that the weather at the base camp of Mount Kanchenjunga can be highly unpredictable and can change rapidly. Climbers and trekkers should be well prepared and equipped for the challenging conditions they may face in this remote and inhospitable environment.

Precipitation

Another factor that impacts the trek’s weather conditions is precipitation, such as rainfall, snowfall, hailstorms, etc. The lower altitude trail to Kanchenjunga receives significant rain throughout the year except during winter. However, at that time, a large proportion of snowfalls or hailstorms affect the weather. Heavy snowfalls and blizzards are common at high altitudes, affecting the weather conditions of trekkers and climbers.

The precipitation at the base camp can vary greatly depending on the year, with some years being much wetter or drier than others. The region is also prone to sudden and rapid weather changes, so climbers and trekkers must be well-prepared for any conditions they may face.

Mount Kanchenjunga’s base camp generally experiences a high level of precipitation due to its location in a region that receives significant rainfall from the monsoon winds that originate over the Bay of Bengal. The area’s high elevation and mountainous terrain can also enhance precipitation by forcing the moist air to rise and cool, forming clouds and precipitation.

Wind

The trekking trail of Mount Kanchenjunga is subjected to strong and gusty winds throughout the year, particularly during the winter months. Wind speeds at the base camp can range from moderate to high, with gusts reaching up to 100 km/h (62 mph) or more. These winds can make climbing and camping in the area challenging and dangerous.

The winds at the base camp are primarily driven by the pressure differences between the high-pressure system over the Tibetan Plateau and the low-pressure system over the Bay of Bengal. During the winter, the winds can pick up as the pressure difference between these two systems increases, leading to solid gusts and blizzard conditions.

Cloud Cover

The trail’s cloud cover varies throughout the year. During the summer months (June to August), the area generally experiences clear skies, with occasional clouds and rainfall. In the winter months (December to February), the area frequently experiences heavy snowfall and is often covered in clouds, which can obstruct the visibility of the surrounding peaks and valleys.

The monsoon winds over the Bay of Bengal primarily drive cloud cover. These winds bring moisture and rainfall to the region during the summer, increasing cloud cover. During winter, the winds shift direction, and the area experiences clear skies.

It is important to note that the weather can be highly unpredictable and change rapidly. Climbers and trekkers should be well prepared and equipped for the challenging conditions they may face in this remote and inhospitable environment, including varying cloud cover and visibility.

Tips for Trekking Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek

Here are some tips to keep in mind when trekking to the Kanchenjunga base camp:

  • The region is prone to sudden and rapid weather changes, so it is essential to be well-prepared for any conditions, including varying temperatures, precipitation, wind, and cloud cover.
  • Pack warm, waterproof clothing, sturdy, comfortable hiking shoes, and a good-quality backpack.
  • To avoid altitude sickness, it is important to acclimatize gradually to the altitude, so allow enough time to adjust to the conditions gradually.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and altitude sickness.
  • The terrain at Mount Kanchenjunga’s base camp is rugged and challenging, so it is essential to be aware of your surroundings and prepared for the physical demands of the trek.
  • Hiring a local guide who is knowledgeable about the area can be very helpful in ensuring a safe and successful trek.
  • Ensure you have basic first-aid supplies and a plan in an emergency. It is also a good idea to carry a satellite phone or other means of communication.

In conclusion, the weather at Kanchenjunga Base Camp is subject to sudden and rapid changes, with each season presenting its unique conditions. The area experiences various temperatures, precipitation, wind, and cloud cover, making it essential for trekkers to be well-prepared for any weather conditions. Acclimatizing gradually to the altitude is necessary, as well as staying hydrated and being aware of the challenging terrain to have a safe and successful trek.

Read More about the Kanchenjunga base camp trek difficult

Conclusion

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek is an amazing adventure that takes you close to the charming Mount Kanchenjunga. The adventure is challenging in itself due to many factors, such as altitude, difficult terrain, remoteness, etc., that raise the trek’s difficulty. One factor is weather conditions, which you can control in your favor if you decide to trek in the ideal trekking seasons like Autumn and Spring.

However, the weather will still be unstable at high altitudes, even during these ideal months. The chance of rainfall and snowfall is common, and unlike other treks, your tent will be the only accommodation that prevents you from this precipitation. So, be fully prepared during your trek and carry the necessary clothing, gear, and equipment to prepare you for the dynamic weather best.

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