Racing Video

The NorthFace Nepal Yak Attack 2016

Over the years, the world’s highest mountain bike race has evolved into one of the toughest stage races on the planet, and to celebrate the 10th anniversary, it just got tougher! For this year only, The Yak Attack will be taking the race into Upper Mustang, also known as “The Forbidden Kingdom”.

“The Kingdom of Mustang preserves some of the last vestiges of traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture, situated on the border of Nepal and Tibet. A 5-day loop will take the race up as far as Lo Manthang where the King of Mustang reigns over his tiny kingdom and surveys a world still culturally closer to the heartland of Tibet than to the markets and temples of Kathmandu. The route will travel through whitewashed settlements, set amid fields of barley and home to impressive chortens and simple monasteries which reflect the abiding Buddhist culture. The terrain is striking, a semi-arid desert with deep ravines and rock shelves, flanked by snowy peaks”


Riders taking on the 2016 race will still cross the formidable Thorong, at 5416m, but now after doing so will also spend a further 5 days in Upper Mustang, at an average altitude of 4000m, before finally finishing in Jomsom and flying back to Kathmandu.


The super dry and dusty trails of Upper Mustang have caught the attention of the mountain biking world, with none more famous than Red Bull Media Houses’ “Where the trail ends”., but the Yak Attack – “Into the Forbidden Kingdom” will be the first time a mountain bike race has been allowed to take place in this restricted area.


In its 9 year history, The Yak Attack has never been won by a non-Nepali rider, with national champion Ajay Pandit Chhetri taking 5 out of the last 6 victories.

The event, which takes place between November 3rd and the 16th, includes 10 days of racing over approximately 500km with around 15000m of ascent and 1 rest day at the remote outpost of Manang under the shadow of the mighty Annapurna mountains.


Due to permit restrictions, places for riders wishing to enter upper Mustang will be limited to 50, with further places being made available for those only wanting to take on the challenge of the Thorong La mountain pass, the pinnacle of any Yak Attack race.

Full details of the race can be found on the Yak Attack website.

Words & Photos: Phil Evans/Yak Attack

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