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The Annapurna Epic

 

This is the most difficult mountain bike ride in the world, and we’re not just saying it for mere advertisement. This extraordinary ride will take you to some of the most beautiful places in the planet. This legendary 200 kilometer circuit circles the Annapurna massif in Nepal. Many bike routes lay claim to the title of the World’s Greatest — the Highlands in Scotland, the Trans-Alps in Europe and the Inca Trail in Peru are a few. But none of those are epics hrough valleys surrounded by five-mile-high peaks, staying every night in teahouses run by local villagers and stocked with good kitchens, cold beer and Snickers bars. The Annapurna Epic marries natural grandeur, cultural immersion and relative luxury in a union found nowhere else. 

 

Level: Advance

Terrain Type: Off road; Technical; High altitude; Contains several push / carry sections

Tour Type: Porter assisted / Vehicle drop-off and pick-up

No. of Days: 12

Total Distance: 199 KM

Major Regions: Lamjung, Manang, Mustang

Major Mountains: Annapurna I (8,091m), Annapurna II (7,995m), Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Manaslu (8,156m), Machapuchhre (6,991m), Langtang Himal (7,246m)

Accomodation: Teahouse lodges

Start: Besisahar; End: Beni

 

 

The Annapurna Epic

Duration: 11 Nights / 12 Days

This is the most difficult mountain bike ride in the world, and we’re not just saying it for mere advertisement. This extraordinary ride will take you to some of the most beautiful places in the planet. This legendary 200 kilometer circuit circles the Annapurna massif in Nepal. Many bike routes lay claim to the title of the World’s Greatest — the Highlands in Scotland, the Trans-Alps in Europe and the Inca Trail in Peru are a few. But none of those are epics through valleys surrounded by five-mile-high peaks, staying every night in teahouses run by local villagers and stocked with good kitchens, cold beer and Snickers bars. The Annapurna Epic marries natural grandeur, cultural immersion and relative luxury in a union found nowhere else.

Level: Advance
Terrain Type: Off road; Technical; High altitude; Contains several push / carry sections
Tour Type: Porter assisted / Vehicle drop-off and pick-up
No. of Days: 12
Total Distance: 199 KM
Major Regions: Lamjung, Manang, Mustang
Major Mountains: Annapurna I (8,091m), Annapurna II (7,995m), Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Manaslu (8,156m), Machapuchhre (6,991m), Langtang Himal (7,246m)
Accomodation: Teahouse lodges
Start: Besisahar; End: Beni

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The Annapurna Epic

Duration: 11 Nights / 12 Days

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The Annapurna Epic

Duration: 11 Nights / 12 Days

This is the most difficult mountain bike ride in the world, and we’re not just saying it for mere advertisement. This extraordinary ride will take you to some of the most beautiful places in the planet. This legendary 200 kilometer circuit circles the Annapurna massif in Nepal. Many bike routes lay claim to the title of the World’s Greatest — the Highlands in Scotland, the Trans-Alps in Europe and the Inca Trail in Peru are a few. But none of those are epics through valleys surrounded by five-mile-high peaks, staying every night in teahouses run by local villagers and stocked with good kitchens, cold beer and Snickers bars. The Annapurna Epic marries natural grandeur, cultural immersion and relative luxury in a union found nowhere else.

Level: Advance
Terrain Type: Off road; Technical; High altitude; Contains several push / carry sections
Tour Type: Porter assisted / Vehicle drop-off and pick-up
No. of Days: 12
Total Distance: 199 KM
Major Regions: Lamjung, Manang, Mustang
Major Mountains: Annapurna I (8,091m), Annapurna II (7,995m), Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Manaslu (8,156m), Machapuchhre (6,991m), Langtang Himal (7,246m)
Accomodation: Teahouse lodges
Start: Besisahar; End: Beni

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Day by day itinerary

 

DAY 1: KATHMANDU (1,265M) - BESISAHAR (800M)

Distance: 175 km. Time: Approx 5 Hrs. 100% Drive

We set out from Kathmandu after breakfast on a jeep (or bus depending on the size of the group) and head towards Besisahar    on the Prithvi Highway  - the main highway that connects Kathmandu with Pokhara and the rest of Nepal. We drive along the wild Trishuli river for three hours before we take a 7 KM detour to visit the hilltop town of Bandipur for lunch. After having lunch at this picturesque Newari town, we head back down the hill and drive for an hour and half, this time along the Marshyangdi River, to reach Besisahar - the trailhead of the Annapurna Epic.

 

 

DAY 2: BESISAHAR (800M) - CHAMJE (1,430M)

Distance: 29.3 km. Total Ascent: 1,170m. Time: Approx 4 Hrs. 95% Ride

We start off on a track heading north up the Marshyangdi Valley with Mt Himalchuli (7,893m) and Ngadi Chuli (also known as Peak 29. 7,871m) dominating the horizon. We continue along the Marshyangdi river past Bhulbhule and reach our lunch spot - Ngadi. Post-lunch, we ride along several rice terraces to the village of Syange after which we climb up a steep trail through a pine forest to Jagat - a village with strong Tibetan influence. From Jagat, we continue climbing up the trail to reach Chyamje - our first night stop on the Annapurna trail. 

 

DAY 3: CHAMJE (1,265M) - DHARAPANI (1,900M)

Distance: 10.8 km. Total Ascent: 800m. Time: Approx 6 Hrs. 30% Bike.

The start of the day is a climb through an oak forest on the east bank of the river. Once over the ridge, we will arrive in a wide plateau at the village of Tal, a site of an ancient lakebed. We take a short lunch break here and ride across the valley and on a narrow trail running high above the river. We continue on the trail through a blue pine forest before descending down to cross the river. After the river crossing, we pass through a stone archway into the village of Dharapani.

DAY 4: DHARAPANI (1,900M) - CHAME (2,700M)

Distance: 15.2 km. Total Ascent: 970m. Time: Approx 5 Hrs. 60% Bike

We leave Dharapani and ride along at a relatively steady pace to Bagarchap - a village with traditional tibetan buildings including a monastery and prayer wheels at both ends. After pushing the bike up a steep climb to Daneque, we ride on some great trails through more pine forests with great views of Annapurna II (7,937) and Lamjung Himal (6,932) ahead of us, and Manaslu (8,154) and Ngadi Chuli (7,871) behind us. We stop for the night at Chame, the district headquarter of Manang.

 

DAY 5: CHAME (2,700M) - MANANG (3,600M)

Distance: 30 km. Total Ascent: 1,010m. Time: Approx 5 Hrs. 95% Bike

A great day of trail riding lies ahead today. We ride through a nice section of trails and multiple bridge crossings before pushing the bike up to Brathang on the east bank of the river. We then ride through a forest, with the majestic Annapurna II standing tall in front of us, down to a wide valley, where we get a sight of the unbelievable Paungda Danda rock - a rock face that rises more than 5,000 feet from the river.  We continue to ride down past Pisang where flat roofed houses cling to the crumbling hillside. After this sweet downhill section, we ride up to Manang on a steep technical trail to close the day’s riding.

 

DAY 6: REST DAY IN MANANG (3,600M)

We spend this day riding around Manang and the neighboring villages, acclimatizing to the high altitude. This is an important day which will prove beneficial when we cross the Thorung La in two days’ time. We’ll also take the opportunity to get our bikes cleaned and lubed for the rest of our adventure. Manang is the closest we’ll get to the mountains and hence, it offers spectacular views of the surrounding peaks. The view of the whole Annapurna range and the enormous icefall that crashes and rumbles down from the Gangapurna are quite splendid.

 

DAY 7: MANANG (3,600M) - YAK KHARKA (4,040M)

Distance: 8.7 KM. Total Ascent: 410m. Time: Approx 3 Hrs. 40% Bike

There is some great riding today with a lot of pushing and carrying in between. We ride past Manang for a short while before reaching a steep trail climb up to Tenki. We cross Tenki and move slowly towards Yak Kharka with a very steady altitude gain. This day and the day after this is going to be shorter than usual to help everyone acclimatize to the altitude. It is a good idea to go for a short afternoon ride which also helps in the process.

 

DAY 8: YAK KHARKA (4,040M) - THORUNG PHEDI (4,550M)

Distance: 6.8 km. Total Ascent: 470m. Time: Approx 2 Hrs. 50% Bike

We depart Yak Kharka late in the morning as today is another truncated day help us deal with the high altitude. We ride for a couple of kilometers on the east bank of the Jarsang Khola before climbing up a steep slope that leads to Thorung Phedi, also known as Thorung Base Camp. 

 

DAY 9: THORUNG PHEDI (4,550M) - THORUNG PASS (5,400M) - MUKTINATH (3,700M)

Distance: 12.9 km. Total Ascent: 830 m. Total Descent: 1,600m. Time: Approx 6 Hrs. 65% Bike.

Today is the biggest day of this great epic. This is the day we have been preparing, and we’ll need every bit of that energy we’ve  conserved in the last two days to get through this. The day is divided in two parts. The first section up to Thorung Pass is all push and carry, while the second section is a technically challenging, awesome 1600 meter descent. We make a pre-dawn start today to avoid the strong afternoon winds at the Thorung Pass. The trail becomes steep immediately upon leaving Thorung Phedi, and the low level of oxygen at such high altitude makes the climb even tougher. The gradient eases slightly after a while and we reach the pass in about 5 hours. The views below into the Kali Gandaki valley are dramatic. Stretching below is the head of the valley and the brown/purple hills of Mustang leading to Tibet. Across the valley is the Dhaulagiri (8,175m) and the Tukuche Peak (6,920m) standing tall, and either side the of the pass is towered by twin 6500 metre peaks. This is where the second part of the day begins, and all that effort from the first part is well rewarded with a spectacular 1600m descend down into Muktinath on technical singletracks. 

 

DAY 10: MUKTINATH (3,700M) - JOMSOM - MARPHA (2,700M)

Distance: 24.9 km. Total Descent: 1,100m. Time: Approx 4 Hrs. 100% Bike

After exploring the famous Muktinath, we make a leisurely start to the day descending down the Kali Gandaki Valley - initially through arid country in the same geographical and climatic zone as Tibet. We pass through small villages with typical Tibetan architecture and after about an hour and half of pure downhill fun on the valley floor, we reach Jomsom. Jomsom town spreads along both the banks of the Kali Gandaki and you will be able to enjoy views of the Nilgiri Peaks (7061m and 6940m), Tilicho Peak (7,134m) and the Dhaulagiri Range. After a short stopover for lunch in bustling Jomsom, we ride down the valley for about an hour to Marpha - a delightful Thakali village. Marpha is particularly well known for its apples and apple ciders.  

 

DAY 11: MARPHA (2,700M) - TATOPANI (1,300M)

Distance: 38.2 km. Total Ascent: 300m. Total Descent: 1,800m. Time: Approx 4 Hrs. 100% Bike.

We ride trough the farms below Marpha and continue down the Kali Gandaki reaching Tukuche, another rich Thakali village and a former trading centre. We follow the Kali Gandaki’s west bank to Larjung and climb up through a juniper and cypress forest to reach Kalopani for lunch. After Kalopani, the trail descends steeply through a forest to Ghasa and soon after we enter the steepest and narrowest part of the world’s deepest gorge - between the two 8000 meter peaks of Annapurna I and Dhaulagiri. Upon reaching Dana, a Magar village, the trail descends down to Tatopani where riverside hot springs await your arrival.

 

 

DAY 12: TATOPANI (1,300M) - BENI (850M)

Distance: 22.7 km. Total Descent: 650m. Time: Approx 3 Hrs. 100% Bike

Just like the last few days on this trip, the last day of our epic journey, is mostly downhill. We follow a dirt road through small riverside villages to Beni where we will meet our private vehicle that’ll drive us to Pokhara. Upon checking in at a deluxe hotel, we can either relax in the pool, get a well deserved massage or go for a late night rendezvous in the lakeside tourist district.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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