What happens if there is a weather delay on the Everest Base Camp trek

What would happen if there was a weather delay on my trek to Everest?

We get asked this quite a bit! We know that adventure travel doesn't always run smoothly and we always do our very best to plan for contingencies like this, but weather stopping all flights is sadly something outside of our control, so it's good to be mentally prepared for this situation.

If it's prior to the start of the trek, where you are waiting with your group at Kathmandu or Ramechhap Airport there are a few different options.

We normally like to fly really early and always aim to board one of the first flights out to Lukla, so your group will get to the airport at around 6:00 am/06:30 am or earlier. If there is a delay in that flight then you would remain with your team and guide, and will wait at the airport until there's a window of opportunity or a significant gap in the weather. At this stage there's no point in returning to the hotel, as sometimes you get a call from one the airport staff to head to the plane. In classic Nepalese style, this can sometimes come out of nowhere, so it's good to remain close by. Waiting around can be very frustrating but unfortunately the planes can't fly until it's safe to do so.

If the weather doesn't look like it's getting any better then we can return to the hotel if needed. There are options at the airport where you can still get to Lukla if we're able to charter a helicopter (at a cost). Compared to the planes, choppers can sometimes still land in bad visibility and bad weather. In really bad conditions they sometimes land below Lukla and you will hike an additional 2 hours. There some cases and this is very rare, where even helicopters cannot land and therefore we would have to make additional arrangements.

If you and the group are delayed on the return flight back to Kathmandu from Lukla, it's a very similar process and again, a bit of a waiting game. If you have to get back for your international flight, then we can again, charter a helicopter to take you back if needed. There are additional costs for this and does change throughout the year depending on demand.

If this does happen and you choose to stay in Lukla and time isn't an issue, then you can just wait until there is a gap in the weather and get the next flight out. We always try to get one of the first flights back so if there is a window of opportunity, we are always out pretty early on.

Another suggestion that some customers choose is to add to their trip is to have a day or a couple of additional days booked after the trip as buffer days in case of bad weather. If nothing happens and you get back to Kathmandu on time then you have a couple of extra days where you can relax and enjoy the sights of Kathmandu.

Failing the above, and we very rarely do this, we would have to adjust the itinerary to suit the needs of the group. The most important thing is to get you back home safe and we have to prioritise that but we also know how big a trip this is for you so we will do whatever we can to make the full trip happen.

Finally, worst-case scenrario, you could head to a different location. Depending on the weather forecast, your preference to paying for a helictoper or not, and how many days you have in Nepal - an alternative solution can be to take you on a different, but equally incredible trek that doesn't require flights, such as Annapurna Base Camp.

The chances of anything like this are relatively small but it's good to know your options if it does happen!

Please also try to remember that although situations like this can be incredibly frustrating and stressful, you are in the best of hands! Anuj and the team in Nepal will be doing everything within their power to ensure you get where you need to go, and continue to have an amazing experience!

More information - helicopters

Helicopters are often able to fly when planes can't and so these can be a great solution to ensuring you stay on track for your trip or when returning in time for your departure flights.

Unfortunately, choppers do come with a cost & this does vary dependent on demand. When the weather is bad over an extended time, the demand is high as everyone; EverTrekkers, locals & other tourists - are all in the same boat. When demand is high the costs can increase, and it's likely that helicopter companies may charge between £300 - £550 per person.

Please note the costs of chartering a helicopter does vary and we assure you that any differences in price between trekkers is always down to the helicopter company & pilots. The team will always do their best to negotiate the best price for you and your fellow trekkers and no profit or additional costs are ever added.

We want to assist our EverTrekkers as much as possible & we understand the inconvenience & costs that can occur when severe delays happen. However you should be able to claim this on your insurance if the costs escalate beyond what you can pay (if you have trip delays covered by your insurance, which most insurances do include).

For those of you who have not booked flights yet, please remember that we always recommend booking at least one additional day at the end, to buffer any delays such as this. Although delays aren't overly common, it will provide you with peace of mind & can save you the cost of a helicopter ride if delays do impact your trek.

Written By

Andy Moore

Head Yeti & CEO