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Weather in the Annapurnas

 Rainfall in NepalWhichever trek you choose , one of the great attractions of trekking in the Annapurnas is that it  receives much less rain than most parts of the Himalaya. This is true all year round and particularly  during the summer months which bring the Asian Monsoon to most of Nepal. The chart opposite compares rainfall at Manang just to the east of the Thorung La Pass, Jomsom to the east of the Annapurna circuit and Ghorepani, just below Poon Hill with the rainfall at Lukla, starting point for the Everest trek.

While the Annapurnas does see some increase in rainfall during the normal monsoon season, this is nothing like they experience further west which means that trekking is possible all year round. You will experience rain most days on the eastern part of the massif if you trek from June to August but these are normally short-lived heavy downpours, often at night, with the rest of the time relatively clear and dry. Also the views of the highest peaks can be obscured by cloud.  Once you reach the eastern side of the Thorung La though it is pretty dry and clear all year round.

Although less heavy than over the Everest region during the monsoon, the rainfall over the Annapurnas is sufficient to make the trails muddy and to cause some landslips that will affect the trail. There are pros and cons of this: the pros are that these conditions keep vehicles off the trails so you are not sharing your trek with trucks. The cons are that in places the trail can be very slippy and the rain will bring out leaches-not in the numbers you would find in the Everest region but bothersome all the same.

Most articles giving advice on when is the best time for trekking in Nepal fails to recognise the differences between the Everest and Average minimum temperatures AnnapurnaAnnapurna regions, basing their advice solely on the Everest region. As a result, the normal advice is that you should trek in the Annapurnas only in February to May and September. This in turn means the Summer months are very quiet. So if you  can cope with a little rain and like your trekking without crowds this is a really good time to visit.

While rainfall is the most important weather factor, temperatures also needs to be considered and the charts opposite show the maximum and minimum temperatures at the same points around the Annapurna region.

 

 

As this shows, not only is the Annapurna region drier during the summer monsoon it is also appreciably cooler which means lower humidity and altogether better hiking conditions.

The converse of that is that the winter months are significantly colder- this is mainly due to the height differentials between Lukla and the Annarpurna locations but it also is more generally true that the west of the country is colder. This does mean that trekking in the Annapurnas during winter can be challenging with average daily temperatures never much above 5°c and often as cold as -5°c. The full Annapurna Circuit is actually shut for several months over winter because of snow on top of the Thorung La but even though other routes are open, unless you are very hardy indeed, and have a very expensive sleeping, bag December to Mid February are probably best avoided.

Whenever you choose to go, remember that high mountains make their own weather. Two members of the Kandoo team trekked the Annapurna Circuit and had a warm sunny day on Thorung La in October 2014. A week later 43 people died in a snowstorm that dropped over a metre of snow in 24 hours.

So for a quick review of what you should expect as weather for trekking in the Annapurnas see our summary below.

Weather conditions for trekking in the Annapurnas

 

Current weather in the Annapurna region

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