Should I Trek the Annapurna Circuit during Monsoon Season?
Should we go trekking on the famous Annapurna Circuit during the monsoon season? This was one of the debates Annaliese and I really struggled with during our recent visit to Nepal in June and July of 2018.
The monsoon or rainy season in Nepal is basically the entire summer but really gets bad in July and August. Listening to the numerous reports from people we met in Kathmandu, we were beginngin to have our doubts as to whether we should have even come this time of year at all. The more mild reports suggested we might not see any mountain peaks at all, while the more extreme ones regailed us with warnings of leeches and landslides.
Ultimately we decided to risk our lives and take on the adventure. We quickly realized that much of the information on the Annapurna Circuit is outdated, misinformation, or just didn't apply to us. Hopefully our own adventures (and misadventures) can help you decide whether or not to tackle this famous mountain trek in the off season.
Anytime you trek in a remote mountainous region such as the Annapurnas, you are taking on some risk. Most likely if you are careful you will make it out with some amazing tails. But no matter how careful you are, you could have an accident. Nature is often out of our control and this place is a wild and rugged landscape.
On top of that, Nepal doesn't have the most advanced infrastructure to begin with. Even in the capital city, you often find pot holes a foot deep and can feel like you are off-roading in a two-wheel drive taxi on your way in from the airport.
Furthermore, the weather, when mixed with the rugged turrain, would be a challnege for even the most advnced economy to contend with. Monsoon season brings an incredible amount of rain in a short time. Snow melt in the spring floods the rivers. Long dry spells inbetween make the soil ripe for landslideds during the rains.
Any trek in Nepal is going to have some risk but undoubtably those risks are higher during the monsoon. Jeeps run off muddy dirt roads. Buses get crushed under landslides. Roads wash away and take time to fix. Flights are delayed or canceled due to unpredictable weather and conditions harsh enough for navigation to begin with.