What would happen if there was a weather delay on my trek to Everest?
We get asked this quite a bit. If it's prior to the start of the trek, where you are waiting with your group at Kathmandu Airport there are a few different options.
We normally like to fly really early and get one of the first flights out to Lukla so we get to the airport at around 6:00 am/06:30 am. If there is a delay in that flight then you would remain with your team and guide and wait 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 come out of nowhere on some occasions so it's good to remain closeby. This 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 where we can charter a helicopter. They can still land in bad visibility and bad weather unless it's really bad conditions where you can land below Lukla and hike an additional 2 hours if needed. 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 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.
Worst-case scenario and we very rarely do this, but 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.
The chances of anything like this are small but it's good to know your options if it does happen.
MD & Head Yeti