The Langtang Himalayas, home to the mythical abominable snowman - the Yeti, lies between Kathmandu Valley and the fabled Tibetan plateau. Langtang Lirung, the signature mountain in this region, stands at an amazing 7,292 meters. Langtang is only the18th highest mountain in Nepal, yet it is higher than any other mountains outside of South Asia.
The idea of riding the Langtang trekking route first got into my head in 2007 when pros Hans Rey, Wade Simmons and Richie Schley took a flight on a cold war era Russian MI-17 helicopter and rode down this extremely technical trail. Since then I’d proposed the idea to several riding buddies over the years, but with no success. The process of having to drive one whole day and then trek for three more days before a single roll of the wheel had turned out to be quite a difficult idea to sell.
And then along came Aussie Grant Dansie - a development worker on a two week-long work trip to Nepal. The fact that he had brought his Santa Cruz Nomad along and extended his trip here by a week to ride the Himalayan trails made him an ideal candidate. I met him randomly while riding at Nagarkot, one of my favorite trails in Kathmandu, and he jumped on the wagon the minute I popped the question. No hesitations!
I met Grant on a Sunday, and we were set to leave on Wednesday as soon as he got done with his official business.
We departed Kathmandu late Wednesday afternoon on a trusted 1989 Mitsubishi Montero.
After spending first night at the subtropical town of Bidur, in the foothills of the Langtang Himalayas, we continued our drive the next morning upstream alongside the guzzling Trishuli river. Named after Lord Shiva's Trident - the Trishul, these ice cold waters is the elixir that supposedly cured the Hindu god when he drank a sea of poison that was set to destroy the universe.
Upon reaching Syafru Besi, we split from our Montero and started our three day long hike. We would see many beautiful things in the coming days...
Tea shops and mountain lodges are aplenty on this classic trekking trail (left). Rhododendrons are Nepal’s national flowers, and March to May are the best times to see these flowers in full splendour (right).
Good ol’ mountain horses carry our carefully packed bike bags. Horses, mules, and human porters are still the only feasible way to transport supplies and materials to the Langtang Valley. Yes, one could use helicopters as well, but they are super expensive and you get less of the local scenery.
The yak on the right’s got a bit more style!
And we keep on walking...
Every evening the visitors gather in the warmth of a teahouse lodge kitchen, or hang out in the dining room.
The Himalayan Musk Deer, another rare and endangered animal native to the Himalayas.
Finally its time to take the bikes off the bags, and build them... under careful eyes.
Riding out of the main gate of a 2 hundred year old monastery, which also houses the Monastery Hotel...
4 days after setting off from Kathmandu, we finally get to ride our bikes.
A scouting ride around the Kyanjin Valley
After a brief ride, the heavens open up and it starts snowing.
The weather miraculously clears up after a mini snow storm, giving us a view of the majestic Himalayas.
The clear weather in the evening lets us sneak a short ride in.
The crystal clear night sky in this high Himalayan valley...
The next morning is absolutely stunning as we start our ride down from 3,800 m (12,500ft)
The trail from Kyanjin to Langtang is fast and flowy. It takes us only 20 minutes to complete the same journey that had taken us 3 hours by foot the day before.
Paying careful attention to our GoPro footage.
Poor goat is not too keen on getting fleeced by a Khukuri - a Nepali knife traditionally used by the Gurkhas.
its REAL!! All the stories you’ve heard about the Himalayan Herbs growing in abundance is real!
A complete change in surroundings and terrain after passing a village called Lama Hotel.
A couple of mechanicals and a minor wipeout towards the end...
We cross over to the other side of the Trishuli River into the village of Syafru Besi to end the ride.
2,750 meters (9,000) descended over 33 kilometers of singletracks.