Weather forecasts on high altitude treks
October 2014 was a tragic month in Nepal. A lot of people including Brittish, Canadians, Israelis, Nepalis and others lost their lives. This could have been avoided if Nepal had a weather forecasting and early warning system. But it doesn’t. Though the Prime Minister of Nepal has promised such a system, because of the bureaucracy and red tape it would take years to put such a system in place. But one thing is for certain: with weather patterns changing all over the world, Nepal’s weather will not be exempt from unpredictability. Simply using “guesstimation” based on historical weather patterns is no longer reliable. Who could have expected a freak storm in October – historically considered the best month for trekking in Nepal?
Grand Asian Journeys and our Nepal based sister company Crystal Mountain Treks has decided to work with Michael Fagin of EverestWeather (EverestWeather.com) to provide weekly forecasts for our high altitude treks. Michael Fagin’s clients generally include expedition operators that take clients to the summit of Mt. Everest and other high peaks. We may well be his first client that is a trek operator. Michael will also be giving us pass specific forecast when our treks involve crossing a major mountain pass or go to elevations above 15,500 feet. These would include treks such as the Everest Base Camp Trek, the Ultimate Everest Trek, the Annapurna Circuit Trek, the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek, the Manaslu Circuit Trek, the Nar-Phu Trek, the Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek etc. We will first be using his services for the Kanchenjunga Project Trek in January 2015.
The main purpose of these forecasts is to give us advance warning of major storms that move out of the Bay of Bengal and can bring heavy rain and/or snow. These forecasts are based on weather data generated from government agencies. Of course weather patterns and forecast models are very complex and these storms can quickly change course, and as responsible group leaders we have to be ready to adapt .
By providing these weather forecasts to our high-altitude trekking customers, we are striving to make our clients among the safest in Nepal.