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FATMAP difficulty grade
The fabulous expedition on which you are about to embark has many tough days but this is not one of them - today is simply a positioning day; a chance to stretch the legs and get clear of the Everest Base Camp trail.
It makes for a pleasant start to the trip and a chance to make sure that all your kit is functioning as it should before you get too deep into the high mountains.
The only realistic accommodation option for this expedition is tents and the vast majority of trekkers hire a cook team and porters to carry their food and equipment so a gentle start like this is an ideal way to iron out any potential problems at the start of your trip.
(It is possible to stay in lodges for some of the valley sections but there are some points on the trip (namely the high camps on Mera Peak, Island Peak and the Amphu Labsta) where camping for multiple consecutive nights is unavoidable.
As such, do plenty of planning and if at all possible, recruit the services of a ground agent before even arriving in Kathmandu who can organise logistics for you.) Day 1 begins with the 20 minute flight from Kathmandu to Lukla and even for those who have experienced it many times before it is a slightly nerve wracking experience; the landing strip at Lukla is 400 metres long and is sandwiched between 2 hillsides meaning that pilots have to be absolutely perfect in their execution of the landing.
On the whole they seem completely unperturbed by the toughest commercial landing in World aviation but the same can rarely be said of the passengers.
Once safely on the ground, say a word of thanks to the deity of your choice and then enjoy the bustling village of Lukla, which is the last significant settlement you’re going to see for a few weeks.
If you need any last minute supplies then this is the place to get them. The trail up to Everest Base Camp departs from the north end of Lukla so you will be going against the flow of traffic when you begin hiking south-east out of the village, heading into the Makalu - Barun Conservation Area.
There is usually a checkpoint to mark entry into the Conservation Area and you may need to pay a small fee. Follow a clear path that winds across some small rivers and past some serene Buddhist monasteries for 2 hours to reach the terraced fields and huts which are the village of Chutanga (marked as Chutenga Kharka on some maps).
Pitch your tents and spend the evening quietly enjoying the smells and sounds of rural Nepal.