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Lhasa-Kathmandu by road in December doable?

Malaysia
Level Contributor
388 posts
141 reviews
Lhasa-Kathmandu by road in December doable?

Hi All,

Can anyone let me know if doing Lhasa to Kathmandu by road (fly in from Kathmandu and drive out) in December ok?

I know that it would be very cold. What temperatures be like? Has anyone done this or can someone advise.

Any comment or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and regards.

Footyboy

Beijing, China
Level Contributor
4,930 posts
5 reviews
1. Re: Lhasa-Kathmandu by road in December doable?

No problem at all all year around for section Lhasa-EBC-Zhangmu, but not very sure about section Zhangmu-Kathmandu, better post a question to Nepal forum.

Temperature would be -20 ℃ and less at Rongbuk Monastery. But good is winter is best time to see north face of Mt Everest, but EBC will be disbanded now.

Malaysia
Level Contributor
388 posts
141 reviews
2. Re: Lhasa-Kathmandu by road in December doable?

Thanks for your comments. I will also post in the Nepal forum. Another question: Is there only one way from Lhasa to Kathmandu? I ask this because I see different operators stopping at different towns. If there is more than one route, do they all pass through the highest pass?

Also, can I take it that there is point to go to EBC because there will not be much during this time of the year?

Thanks in advance again.

Footyboy

Beijing, China
Level Contributor
4,930 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: Lhasa-Kathmandu by road in December doable?

Yes, only one overland road from Lhasa to Nepal, it is sometimes called Friendship Highway. Different operators stopping at different towns probably because they just picked different spots to see. For example, from Shigaste to Rongbuk Monastery, you can either drive non stop or make a split-stop off main road at Sakya Monastery which would probably only allow you overnight at Shegar that day.

Sry, what do you mean by "Also, can I take it that there is point to go to EBC because there will not be much during this time of the year?"

Malaysia
Level Contributor
388 posts
141 reviews
4. Re: Lhasa-Kathmandu by road in December doable?

Whoops, sorry. What I meant is: Would it be advisable to take a side trip to EBC at this time of the year?

Beijing, China
Level Contributor
4,930 posts
5 reviews
5. Re: Lhasa-Kathmandu by road in December doable?

Ok. no problem, why not now that you are going to do such an overland tour.

Umeå
Destination Expert
for Leh
Level Contributor
6,477 posts
2 reviews
6. Re: Lhasa-Kathmandu by road in December doable?

The road to Ktm seems to be open all year round : I´ve done it both ways in November , and seen a number of people describing Christmas in Zhangmu etc.

Going to EBC/Rongbuk directly from Shigatse and staying overnight is a very , very bad idea. Many get sick , and there have been a few deaths as well. Read the altitude guidelines ( http://korta.nu/5c3a ) , plan absolute minimum one night at 4000+ ( as in for example Sakya - NOT Shigatse ) before EBC , medicate. Sakya holds the oldest monastery in Tibet , probably your only chance to see a non-Gelugpa monastery on the standard run. Temperatures : there is a online weather station on the Nepali side , I´ll post a link later.

( As for - pre-emptive strike - advice from Chinese travel agents : see http://korta.nu/stinks )

Umeå
Destination Expert
for Leh
Level Contributor
6,477 posts
2 reviews
7. Re: Lhasa-Kathmandu by road in December doable?

Real time weather from Lobuche @ 5050 meters, on the Nepali side : http://evk2.isac.cnr.it/realtime.html

( Lhasa daytime is a lot warmer , used mainly sandals in November.A bit nippy in morning. )

Beijing, China
Level Contributor
4,930 posts
5 reviews
8. Re: Lhasa-Kathmandu by road in December doable?

You may have heared about something from history. Now it's popuplar to cover even Shigatse-Shegar-EBC-Shegar within one day. Getting sick dosen't depend on how long you drive, it depends on if you get good used to the highland altitude at the very beginning of your Tibet trip.

Umeå
Destination Expert
for Leh
Level Contributor
6,477 posts
2 reviews
9. Re: Lhasa-Kathmandu by road in December doable?

"Getting sick dosen't depend on how long you drive.."

No , it depends on how high you drive ...and sleep. Going from Shigatse at 3850 to 5000+ and staying overnight means maximum risk for AMS.

"Now it's popuplar to cover even Shigatse-Shegar-EBC-Shegar within one day."

Sleeping at Shegar after Shigatse ... around five hundred meters higher in sleeping elevation. Within safety guidelines, completely different situation .

"it depends on if you get good used to the highland altitude at the very beginning.."

Acclimatization at Lhasa altitude doesn´t give immunity to fast ascents to higher altitude . Even locals in the Himalayas can get sick if they go high enough , fast enough , something I´ve seen a now and then over the last two decades.

"You may have heared about something from history."

As in case histories as well : see for example doctor Bezruchka´s book that describes death in EBC after a fast run from Lhasa, mentioned in my second link. Or look up any good medical info site : CDC ( http://korta.nu/cdcalt ) , already mentioned International Society for Mountain Medicine (first link) , Himalayan Rescue Association etc.

Edited: 08 December 2011, 10:20
Malaysia
Level Contributor
388 posts
141 reviews
10. Re: Lhasa-Kathmandu by road in December doable?

Thank you all for such useful information. I understand the problems with altitude when we did Mt Kilanjaro last year. Then, we climbed up and down to acclimatize for 5 days before we set foot at the high camp at 4,600m.

What if I did the following, will it be a better option or can it be done?

Day 1: Lhasa-Gyantse

Day 2: Gyantse-Shigatse

Day 3: Shigatse-Shegar (overnight)(or somewhere nearer to EBC but not so high)

Day 4: Shegar-EBC and straight back to Zhamgmu (can this be done)?

Day 5: Zhamgmu-Khatmandu

I have got another few days to sort this out, so thank you so, so much.

Regards to all.