Speaking from experience, trekking in Nepal in monsoon season is very different to a visit during the best time to visit Nepal. It's wet, it's isolated and sometimes... it's scary!
It can be done!
The monsoon in the Nepal Himalayas occurs between June and August each year and brings warm daytime temperatures, lush green landscapes and the occasional storms.
Hardly anyone ventures out to the trekking trails during the monsoon so all of this can feel like it's there especially for you. This is both a blessing and a curse… The blessing is the vast open wilderness, the wildlife at it's most present and vocal, life in the foothills in full swing and no one else in your most epic photographs. The curse is that many tea houses (most in some places) may have closed their doors and in those that are open, the food options may be limited and the fire may not be lit. The lack of people at higher altitudes also means that if something goes drastically wrong it could be hours or days until someone passes by.
It goes without saying that if you dare to go trekking in Nepal during the monsoon that you should take a trusted, experienced guide and you should be sure to heed their advice.
The landscape is unstable during the monsoon. The warm air brings a short break to the icy conditions high in the Nepal Himalayas which can loosen up dirt, mud and snow that is safely frozen solid during the rest of the year. For the trekker, this means hearing avalanches cracking in the distance or seeing them tumble dramatically down the faces of the 8000m giant mountains. It means following your guides route carefully when crossing glaciers like the Ngozumpa Glacier and it means avoiding walking directly under steep cliffs, or keeping on eye and one ear above you if you have no choice.
There is more risk involved if you choose to trek in Nepal during the monsoon, but the sense of adventure, mystery and achievement is increased along with it.
One final thing to note about trekking at this time of year is that the weather isn't always the best (think English summer) which means there's no guarantee on any given day of getting -that- view of -that- mountain. Indeed, there are days where you'll see nothing but the rocks at your feet and the clouds around your shoulders. But those days carry their own magic too and there's really something to be said for being out there, for being disconnected from the world to such an extent. It also means those moments or days when the clouds part are really, really spectacular!
For me, trekking in Nepal in monsoon season is an adventure like no other. It's harder, more isolated, more dangerous and more unpredictable. But that makes it more fun, much more of an adventure and more of an ultimate reward, if you can make it through it.
Our team have been there for the worst of it, led by our lead guide Mahendra – if you want any more information about monsoon season trekking in Nepal please don't hesitate to ask us.
P.S. Don't be afraid of buying a massive umbrella in Kathmandu and saving yourself the effort of drying your gear at night!