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Annapurna circuit in December/January

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
3 posts
3 reviews
Annapurna circuit in December/January

I and a friend are interested in trekking in the Annapurna region over Christmas and New Years. Most trekking companies do not seem to run their established trekking programs over the holidays. Can anyone comment on if this is a good/reasonable time to trek there? Is the weather okay, etc.? Thank you for any information you can provide.

23 replies to this topic
British Columbia...
Level Contributor
2,874 posts
106 reviews
1. Re: Annapurna circuit in December/January

You need to indicate where in the Annapurnas (Poon Hill, ABC, Annapurna Circuit, Mustang) you wish to trek.

Generally, trekking is definitely ON during Christmas and New Years holidays. Although it can be quite cold at night up high (>3000m), daytime are very often sunny and comfortable.

Based on your question, my guess is that you are looking at western companies. I recommend you book directly with a Nepal agency or guide (this will save 50%). FYI, all treks, even those booked through the big western companies, are operated by Nepal-based trekking agencies.

Sheffield, United...
Destination Expert
for Nepal
Level Contributor
15,276 posts
56 reviews
2. Re: Annapurna circuit in December/January

Hi Bill

The AC is trekkabke at that time with enough lodges open. A regular poster has done the circuit a number of times and will be along to give you the lowdown in due course.

Nepali companies do not run many 'fixed departure treks' (which have theor issues anyeay) but will arrange a private trek if needed which will still be cheaper than international companies still.

scoodly

Cumbria
Level Contributor
5,965 posts
43 reviews
3. Re: Annapurna circuit in December/January

I have trekked AC over Christmas and The New Year a few years ago and had no major issues – It gets incredibly cold so you need to go well kitted up and carry a good down sleeping bag, and it would be prudent to add a few buffer days in case bad weather delays the crossing of Thorung La – We had no snow and crossed the pass on 23rd December, but what usually happens if there is a dump of snow that eventually a group will break the trail and you can simply follow in their footsteps.

If it were me, I wouldn’t join a group, just hire out your own trekking staff and then you are in charge of the trekking schedule and can stay where you want and eat where, when and what you want + if you want a rest day, you can take one, if you want to go a bit faster, then as long as you stay within the safe height gain guidelines to minimise your chances of being adversely effected by AMS then you can do that too :-)

Good Luck and Happy Safe Travels

Rob

Travel Pages including Nepal blog

…archive.org/web/…

Surrey.
Level Contributor
2,198 posts
4. Re: Annapurna circuit in December/January

I have done the "full" AC 4 times, the last 2 times in Dec 2012 and Jan - Feb 2016. By full I mean walking all the way from Besisahar to either Nayapul or Dhampus/Phedi.

In 2012 we had 2-3 days of snow (when we tried and failed to get to Tilicho lake). Other than that, the rest of the trek we had excellent weather. We also walked to the top of Kang La, a high pass (with stunning views) north of AC, and spent some time round Muktinah - Dzong - Kagbeni, and walked to near the true start of the Dhaulagiri icefalls. We had no snow on the ground or weather issues for Kang La or Thorung La. I still really like AC, the road in the winter is quiet, and there are quite a lot of side trips that can be done. I also really like the old Buddhist monasteries in places like Dzong and Kagbeni - in 2012 we were invited (via my guide) to join the monks at Dzong for lunch - outdoors, with the Annapurnas as a backdrop, very memorable. We were also invited to sit in on an early morning puja at the old monastery in Kagbeni in 2012. Whilst my guide is good at getting access to such things, I doubt either would have happened if it was busy.

In 2016 we had no falling snow, but there was snow on the ground from about Danaque to around Pisang, but it was not an issue for us (me and same guide as 2012). It was cloudy the first 2 days or so, but generally fine after that. We again went up Kang La, and managed to get to Tilicho (for my secod time - it is well worth doing - I also went there in April 2008). Thorung La the weather was good, but it was very windy at the top (about 9.30am) - usually the wind starts later in the day.

In 2012 and 2016 enough lodges were open, the only exception being Tilicho Base Camp (TBC). In 2012 we gave up after 2 nights at Shree Kharka (and the lodge there was closing), in 2016 my guide and another young guide managed, after 4 hours (long story), to persuade 2 people from Khangsar to walk up to TBC with us (3 small groups, 4 trekkers in total) and open up a lodge for 2 nights - this worked very well, but they wanted a minimum of 4 trekkers, or fewer people to pay the equivalent of 4, which is understandable.

I have now done 7 treks in Nepal in Dec - Feb, 3 of the others were the 3 High Passes trek in the Everest region, so high altitude, mid winter trekking is doable. Only 1 trek was badly affected by snow (Langtang in Dec 2014). The winter is the driest time of year, so there is the lowest risk of rain and snow - NB this does not mean there is no risk of rain and snow.

Daytime temperatures have usually been moderately warm, as the sun is very strong (so you need good, Cat 3 type, sunglasses), if there is no cloud, as is usually the case. When we have done the Everest region high passes and walked up high hills, and say Kang La, we have always spent 30-60 minutes at the top - we would not be doing this if it was very cold. It will be very cold at night, especially high up, but not that much colder than Oct and Nov (peak trekking season) - I have done 3 treks in Nepal in those months (and had heavy snow at Manang in Oct 2005). If there is a lot of cloud during the day, it will be very cold, especially higher up - when we walked to Tilicho lake (about 5,000m) from TBC in 2016 it was fairly cloudy that day, and very cold (the only day I wore my down jacket while trekking). Next day walking back it was fine. NB if there is a lot of cloud, as well as it being much colder, you would need to carefully consider whether there is likely to be a big snow fall - the weather can change quickly high up.

As it is usually very quiet in the winter, you should have no problems getting guides and porters (I carry my own backpack). As above, there is no need to book through western agencies. I engage and pay my guides (2 brothers, 1 per trek) directly, on a "daily rate" basis - this works very well for me, as I am very independent and I have done my last 8 treks this way with them.

I have put up a couple of quite long posts about trekking in Nepal in the winter on another forum. If you put "Mid winter trekking in Nepal, an updated post" into Google or whatever, the post should come up. Slowly mid winter trekking is becoming less unpopular than it was, though the 2 treks I did in 2015-16 were very quiet, apart from places like Ghorapani and ABC, from what I could see.

5. Re: Annapurna circuit in December/January

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Kathmandu, Nepal
Level Contributor
329 posts
66 reviews
6. Re: Annapurna circuit in December/January

Possibility of some snow at ThorungLa. But still accessible.

Check the weather condition at that time.

October/November is a better option with better chance of clear weather and not too cold.

Good Luck !

Santu

(Apex Nepal Treks & Tours)

Kathmandu, Nepal
Level Contributor
9 posts
10 reviews
7. Re: Annapurna circuit in December/January

betweeen christmas and new year will be fine

becouse now we have climate change so that time also we can trek ...snowing chances 20 percent only

Kathmandu, Nepal
Level Contributor
21 posts
8. Re: Annapurna circuit in December/January

Hello namaste well come to nepal!

yes you can do your privet trek in dec and january . the weather will be perfect , sunsine, clear sky , less trekkers crowd , still tea house will be open,

i would reccumaned do annapurna circuite trek is good for you , where you can explore beauti of nature through local villages , and deep cluture of bhudish .

we have a last 5 years experience about weather is much better in dec and january then other season

have a wonderful trip to you both en advance

Dinesh.

London, United...
2 posts
9. Re: Annapurna circuit in December/January

Hi, I am also tracking Annapurna base camp over Christmas. Have done a lot of research and feel quite confident it's a good time to go. The trails are not crowded, tea houses less full. Skies are blue and sunny. The only downside is towards the evening temperature drops to minus 20. So be prepared with winter sleeping bag and down jackets. I have actually booked a porter to come with me(as I am going alone) and they said it's a perfect time to go. Hope this helps!

London, United...
2 posts
10. Re: Annapurna circuit in December/January

Hi, I am also tracking Annapurna base camp over Christmas. Have done a lot of research and feel quite confident it's a good time to go. The trails are not crowded, tea houses less full. Skies are blue and sunny. The only downside is towards the evening temperature drops to minus 20. So be prepared with winter sleeping bag and down jackets. I have actually booked a porter to come with me(as I am going alone) and they said it's a perfect time to go. Hope this helps!

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