Best Time to Climb Everest

The best time to climb Everest, according to many experts, is during the month of May. This is when the weather is usually best. March and April are also generally considered to be good months. Attempts are sometimes made in September and October as well, though heavy snow can make things particularly difficult during this period.

During the spring in general, wind speeds on Mt Everest tend to be at their lowest due to a shift in the jet stream. As such, the weather in general is typically more agreeable on the mountain. This results in climbers having a better chance of reaching the summit. After May, the monsoon season begins, and it extends through the summer. This is certainly not the best time to climb Everest, and most climbers avoid the winter as well. In fact, the first successful winter ascent, which was executed by a team from Poland, didn't occur until 1980. That's nearly 30 years after Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa assistant, Tenzig Norgay, became the first people to officially reach the summit.

While Mount Everest is the highest mountain on the planet, it isn't considered to be the world's most difficult peak to climb. In fact, novice climbers have been known to reach the 29,029-foot summit. That's not to say that climbing Mount Everest is easy, however. Those novice climbers that do reach the top rely on extremely knowledgeable guides and Sherpas to get them there, and they usually benefit from relatively benign weather conditions as well. The weather can change on the slopes of Everest in an instant regardless of the time of year, however, and this has led to the deaths of novices and highly skilled climbers alike. Add in the effects of decreased oxygen at high altitudes, and it becomes clear that this is a climb that is not to be taken lightly by any means.

There are two main climbing routes that mountaineers use when trying to get to the top of Mount Everest. They include the southeast ridge route, which is on the Nepal side, and the northeast ridge route from Tibet. Of these two main routes, the southeast ridge is both easier and more popular. To get there, catching a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla is the common way to go. Once in Lukla, prospective climbers often enjoy some down time for a day or two in an effort to adjust to the altitude. Afterwards, a hike to Base Camp (17,700 feet) is executed, and it generally takes a week or more to complete this hike. After some time at Base Camp, the rest of the ascent begins, with stops being made at other camps along the way. Oxygen bottles are supplied to help climbers, and Sherpas basically carry all of the necessary supplies when it's time to move.

Regardless of which route climbers decide to take on when it comes to reaching the top of Mount Everest, the process will be a lengthy one. Most people who attempt to summit actually end up spending more than a month on the mountain, and the overall trip time usually lasts at least two months. A lot of time isn't the only thing that must be spent when it comes to climbing Mount Everest. Guided trips to the top aren't cheap, and the required permits alone cost thousands of dollars.

It could be argued that the best time to climb Everest is after you've climbed other major peaks, such as Alaska's Mount McKinley (Denali). This is simply a great way to prepare for the task at hand. If you can't manage to do this, then taking a mountaineering course at the very least is recommended. At least one outfit that offers guided trips to the summit of Everest uses the Cascade range in Washington State as the training ground for its mountaineering courses, and this kind of thing is typical. Any and all climbers should be in excellent physical condition when attempting to reach the top of Everest. They should also be of strong mind and ready to deal with difficult situations that might arise while on the mountain. At high altitudes, any and all problems are quite simply magnified.

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