Nepal // Mountain biking //

Cycling to Everest

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Although Sagarmatha National Park itself continues to ban mountain bikes, it’ll be possible one day – perhaps very soon – to cycle to the gates of Everest. The traditional approach road to Everest, long paved as far as Jiri, now slips and slides at least as far as Bhandar. East of that, the giant Lamjura pass, with its endless stair of a walking trail, would put off all but the most dedicated of mountain bikers. Other, rough roads are steadily approaching from Dharan and the Arun valley, to the southeast, however, and a well-built new road now approaches from the south. Breaking off the East–West Highway 37km east of the Janakpur turn off, this exciting new option threads north through huge and intensely populated hills to the thriving district capitals of Okhaldunga and Salleri, and to tiny Phaplu airstrip – which is just a few hours’ walk south of the Everest walk-in trail at Junbesi. And Junbesi is just the other side of that huge Lamjura pass … Linking any of these routes as a loop, or with the trek north to the high Everest country, would currently require an off-putting amount of portage, but roads are changing fast in Nepal.

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