Everest route to get first asphalt road

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Peak of Mount Everest Above Clouds in Tibet.

The epic voyage to the highest point on earth is about to get (slightly) easier, after the Nepalese government announced it was to build an asphalt highway at the gateway to Mount Everest.

The new road will cover 65 miles and link the villages of Jiri and Lukla – a popular route for tourists and serious climbers alike to get close to the mountain. It will cut an estimated four days off the hike to the gateway town.

The only other option available to visitors is a plane journey from the capital Kathmandu to Lukla. However, poor weather in the area regularly disrupts flight schedules.

The new road will not only improve travel in the region, but is also likely to have an effect on the costs of goods in the area, as everything currently has to be flown in.

"Tourism will increase enormously once the new road is built," said Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, to the Kathmandu Post, the Daily Mail reports.

"The road will also help to bring down market prices, as goods can be trucked in for around Rs10 (6p) per kg, which is a drastic change compared to the Rs150 per kg charged by airlines."

The Jiri-Everest route favoured by trekkers follows in the footsteps of Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who first scaled Everest in the summer of 1953.

At the time, the only way to the mountain was a nine-day hike – something that the 350,000 visitors looking to avoid flying will no longer have to contend with, thanks to the construction of the new highway.