No one can deny that Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. It has a height of 8848.86 meters and is the highest point above ground. So, naturally, Mount Everest is also a freezing point.
Many strong-willed people try to climb Mount Everest every year, and the number one thing they worry about is how cold is the top of Mount Everest. Because, you see, people have varying levels of cold tolerance. Some can quickly adapt to the cold and tolerate it, while others have a hard time facing the extremely low temperature of the gorgeous Everest.
However, like the weather of any other city that changes every day and the varying seasons, Mount Everest also has fluctuating temperatures. So, to answer the question of how cold is the top of Mount Everest, there is more than one definite answer. Because there are seasons on the mountain, these seasons have varying levels of sun exposure, wind velocity, precipitation, and many others, creating a variation on both the top and overall Mount Everest.
Confused, well don’t be. Please go through this article as we will break down for you the various changes that Mount Everest goes through and the resultant temperatures caused by it.
The Season Pattern Of Mount Everest
When we look at the global position of Mount Everest on Earth, we can see that it lies in the Northern Hemisphere. Also, its position is 28° north of the equator. Therefore, Everest goes through the typical Northern Hemisphere seasonal patterns.
The Indian Monsoon influences Mount Everest because of which it experiences moisture and cloudy weather from June to September yearly. In addition to lying at the edge of the Indian Monsoon influence, Everest experiences extreme cold from December to February.
So, the best time for climbing Mount Everest lies between these monsoon and winter seasons. The best months to trek around Everest are from March to May. Also, October to November can be some good months to visit around it when the climate is relatively moderate.
Now let us look at the varying seasons of Mount Everest in more detail.
The Winter of Mount Everest
November to February marks the winter season on Mount Everest. During this season, the jet stream initially native to the Northern Hemisphere migrates southward. And because of the migration, winters on Mount Everest are very harsh. One can expect occasional heavy snowfalls, high winds, and cold temperatures.
Even though trekking during winter is extremely dangerous and challenging, some people see it as a golden opportunity. Because the crowd is smaller than in other seasons, some might enjoy it because they all get the beautiful mountain for themselves.
Also, the temperature on Mt. Everest is bearable during the daytime since the sun shines. But during night time, the temperature plummets below freezing level, making it unbearable.
The Monsoon of Mount Everest
People often call the monsoon season of Mount Everest the summer season. During this time, the Indian Monsoon causes frequent rainfall and cloudy weather on Mount Everest.
The Monsoon lasts from June to September; one might go around Everest for some solitude. However, the view could be more transparent due to the clouds and rain, and one cannot take in the beautiful scenario. Sometimes one cannot even see Everest during the monsoon season. Finally, there are better seasons to visit Everest than the Monsoon.
The Pre-Monsoon of Mount Everest
March, April, and May are three Pre-Monsoon months in Mount Everest. Also, this time of the year is considered the best to trek around the mountain. In fact, the climbing season of Everest starts in late April and lasts till late May.
In addition, during the Pre-Monsoon season, the days are bright and warm, and rain is rare. Finally, this season receives a lot of mountaineers, and one can even see some hikers in just t-shirts flocking around Mt. Everest.
The Post-Monsoon of Mount Everest
Local people call the Post-Monsoon season of Mount Everest the fall season. The season starts at the end of the Monsoon season and lasts till December, when it gets freezing.
The post-monsoon months are November and October, and they are best for trekking. November and October usually have clear skies during the day and bearable and comfortable temperatures.
The Rain Pattern of Mount Everest
To answer the question of how cold is the top of Mount Everest, one must also understand the frequency of rain Mount Everest receives.
Experts say that the region around and on Mount Everest is relatively dry. The average yearly precipitation of Mt. Everest’s Base Camp is only 18 inches. Eighty percent of Everest’s rainfall is around the Monsoon season, June to September, and other seasons are usually dry.
Did you know that Mount Everest experiences a rain shadow effect? Yes, the monsoon rainfall it receives comes from the southern side of Everest. Also, most of the precipitation falls on the south side of the mountain, and when the cloud goes toward the Base Camp, the rainfall rate is low.
In addition to the rain shadow effect, the availability of rainfall is low because of the cold weather and the high elevation. So, whenever you trek from Lukla to the Everest Base Camp, you can see that the Base Camp’s moisture level is comparatively lower than that of Lukla. If we look at the current statistics, the average precipitation of Lukla is 70 inches, while the average rainfall in Base Camp is only 18 inches.
Regarding Everest’s summit, this region receives the least rainfall because of the high winds that scour the area. Even though big winter snowstorms are rare in Everest, intense mid-latitude storms often linger around the room. In addition, severe mid-latitude storms can deliver snow as high as one inch at the Everest Base Camp, surprising the trekkers.
However, it is still possible to hike during a snowstorm using suitable windproof pants and gaiters and thinking about preparing like in the winter season.
So, How Cold Is The Top Of Mount Everest?
Now after having a piece of general knowledge about the seasonal pattern of Mount Everest and the rainfall pattern surrounding it. We can look at the coldest temperature at the top or the summit of Mount Everest.
The average temperatures at the top of Mount Everest can be as cold as -37° C or -35° F from the 15th of December onward until the end of January. The reported coldest temperature on the summit is -41° C or -42° F.
Finally, the average summit temperature for mountain climbing during the brief window of May is -15° F or -26° C.
Also, How Cold Is Mount Everest?
From December to January, Everest Base Camps receive the lowest average temperature ranging from -17° C or 1.4° F.
However, the temperature does rise in April and May, also known as the spring season of Everest. In April and May, the days are relatively hotter, while the night is cold and freezing.
Also, mountaineers wear only t-shirts during the day while trekking up to Camp 3 of Mount Everest. In addition, Camp 3 Everest lies at an altitude of 7300 meters or 23,950 feet above sea level.
Weather Forecasting And Mount Everest
To know how cold is the top of Mount Everest, experts must conduct frequent weather forecasts. Pyramid Station is the nearest weather station to Everest’s summit in the Lobuce region of Everest. In addition, Pyramid Station is 5,079 meters or 16663.39 feet above sea level. It has been operating since 2006.
It is essential and a life-saving need to know and understand the weather and climatic habits of Mount Everest regularly. This process is so crucial for climbers that some of the trekkers also hire a meteorologist in their team to do on-the-spot weather forecasting.
Experts forecast weather on Mount Everest by combining large-scale weather models with ground observations. Also, one must know that the temperature gradient between Everest’s summit and Everest Base Camp is around +1º C per 150 meters of altitude.
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Climate Change And Its Impact On Mount Everest
Climate change is a huge concern worldwide. People can not only see the effect of climate change in their nearby surroundings, but it is also visible clearly on Mount Everest.
If you have ever visited the famous small museum in Namche Bazaar, you might have seen old photos of Khumbu Glacier. Even though the position of the glacier is the same, it is thinning and losing its bulk. Interestingly, this thinning isn’t caused by melting but is instead caused by sublimation or direct evaporation of ice blocks. Also, sublimation happens only below the freezing temperature of the water, and glaciers, in reality, never really melt.
So, imagine this, 100 years from now, and there might never be a Khumbu glacier. It might only be a story and a myth. Also, due to climate change, the temperature of Mount Everest is increasing. Reports suggest that at some point, there might not even be a sliver of snow on the surface of Everest.
Therefore, it is high time to work against climate change and save the mighty Everest actively.