Weather: Nepal, Bhutan

The serene, snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas do more than loom over the Indian plains. During the summer, they stand firm against the southwest monsoon winds, forcing them to dump prodigious amounts of water across Nepal. The main climate differences through this zone hinge on elevation and topography, as you might expect. Particularly toward the east and into northern Bhutan, thunderstorms grow increasingly common through the spring long before the monsoon arrives. Kathmandu sees a shower or storm about once a week by early April and every third day in May. During the core monsoon period (from June to September) much of the rain across Nepal falls at night, with a few sunny hours before afternoon showers arrive. Nepal is partially shielded from the monsoon by its location in an east–west valley; slopes that face the moist southwest winds can get far more rain. Trekkers should note that when the bulk of India gets a prolonged break in the monsoon, it typically means the rains are shifting north toward Nepal. The monsoon is briefer toward K2 and longer-lasting towards Everest, but winter compensates, with snow focused towards the K2 region, which sits far enough north to intercept mid-latitude systems. Below the wind-whipped peaks of the highest Himalayas, winter is typically sunny and crisp, with morning frost and occasional fog.