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I'm looking to trek to Base camp Mount Everest in the next year, I'm just wondering what the best time of the year would be to avoid the huge crowds I keep hearing about. I don't care if its absolutely freezing just trying to avoid huge numbers of people.

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I'm removing your last sentence, as that's polling for experiences, which is against the requirements for questions on this site (see help center). However the rest I'll try and answer. –  Mark Mayo Sep 2 '13 at 2:30
    
Relevant (but not for the faint of heart): Dead bodies on Mount Everest –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Sep 2 '13 at 10:59
    
See also The Great Outdoors. –  gerrit Sep 2 '13 at 13:15
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What has the world come to when visits to one of the most remote, hostile and inaccessible places in the world now has to be scheduled to avoid the crowds. –  DJClayworth Dec 8 '13 at 17:07
    
EBC is not really that remote, hostile, or inaccessible. There are even helicopter trips, where people leave Kathmandu in the morning, eat breakfast near Namche Bazaar, continue to EBC, and then return to Kathmandu before lunchtime. –  Jouni Sirén Dec 11 '13 at 4:43
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Trekking around the general area is possible around the year, but the weather is of course something to be worried about.

Here is a monthly temperature chart of the base camp. This should give you an idea, minus 36 degrees celsius is surely something to write home about. The issue however will be the snow rather than the temperature. According to Wikitravel, you might face the issue of closed camps and too much snow coming to the highest points towards the base camp. So the more you think you can deal with hiking more on the hope to just get as far as you can according to the current weather conditions instead of insisting to get to the base camp, you can simply choose one of the winter months when the peak hikes will be closed. You will not have the masses of tourists, but you might need a good guide to advise you how far it is safe to go without endangering your health.

Regarding the crowds, there will be two general types of tourists: The people trying to climb the peak and the people who are trekking in the area just like you plan to. Since a lot of Everest hikers do it for the "I have been there"-cred, the direct lines between the airstrip in Lukla, the base camp and the peak will be the most crowded ones. There seem to be 30,000 of them every year according to the New York Times. But also they say that most of them do the Airstrip-Base Camp hike.

So the question that you have to ask yourself is how important is it to you to actually go to the base camp. You might simply be much better off hiking to other places in the area, have very little tourism around you and enjoy pristine nature without endangering your life. Here is another report of people who took an alternative trek, and companies are offering treks around the area to specifically avoid the crowds.

I will be there in October myself, going with a friend who has been there twice already. We will not be visiting the base camp because of the mass-tourism out there.

From my overall travel experience I can name you many places in the world where giving up on the famous locations that everyone talks about gives you a better experience by side-stepping the crowds rather than insisting on the trophy destinations. Around Everest, this is especially true, given the fact that the area suitable for hiking is so huge and the fame of the mountain is the height of the peak, not the beauty of the base camp.

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I also plan on doing this in the winter. My expectations: The temp shouldn't be too bad in the day because you should only be walking in sunshine (mostly). Also, there is practically very seldom snow in the winter (in the heights), if you look on the rain charts there is maybe only snowing a handful of days the whole winter, and the rest of the time you will be watching beautiful mountains in very clear weather. At least if you are lucky. However, things can change extremely rapidly, and I have heard that it can drop 1M snow in scary short time. Nights are going to be very cold. –  grm Mar 11 at 22:08
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From Wikitravel:

While trekking is possible in this area the whole year round, the best times to visit are from the beginning of March to mid May and from the beginning of September to mid November.

So I guarantee that those are going to be the busiest times, as people go for the best weather, conditions and not-too-freezing temperatures.

So if you're looking to avoid those, you'll want to go outside of these two windows.

MountainKingdom suggests that if you want to avoid crowds:

Perhaps the very best time of the year though to go is mid-late November when trails and tea houses see fewer trekkers and the weather is mainly fine and clear during the day, providing wonderful views at every step. It will be colder though, especially at night and at higher altitudes, but well-layered clothing, a good four-season sleeping bag and a warm duvet jacket will help keep you snug. And, being a bit chilly, is a small price to pay to escape the crowds.

He also points out that if you can handle the cold, Christmas is a fun time to go, but I suspect that will draw others during their Christmas break.

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