Rocky Mountain Freeride Pro Wade Simmons spent two weeks on a photo and video adventure trip in Nepal. Fresh off 16 days of riding in Costa Rica, Simmons was joined by two mountain bike legends, Hans Rey and long time friend and former teammate Richie Schley, photographer Blake Jorgenson and a UK film crew consisting of Seb Rogers and Rob Summers.
Late winter weather thwarted some of the group's plans to tackle one of highest passes in the world, Throng la, in the Annapurna region. Instead they started on the west side of the pass and landed in a town called Jomosom. From there, it was 1000m up to Muktinath, at 3768 meters, toward the pass. The group executed a plan to head up over a southern ridge topping out at 4100m before dropping into a parallel valley back to Jomosom.
Simmons said, "This route, according to our guides, had never seen bikes and they were a little wary because none had been this way, but the map never lies right? And the route was chosen. The trail ended up being the best of the trip: tight foot-wide single track contouring the slopes and an exciting visit to Lupra, a rarely visited medieval hamlet."
Another day, the group passed through the Valley of Marpha, a place you don't want to be during monsoon season. The Annapurna range was on one side, with Annapurna 1 at 8091m, and the Dhaulagiri range was on the other at 8197m.
Simmons said he rode the biggest bike of the group, but he was glad to have erred on the conservative side. At one point, "The trail consisted of 500m of the sweetest trail anywhere, followed by 300m vertical descending stairs that caused even trials guru Hans Rey to walk. Just to be followed with 200m vertical ascending stairs with again the sweetest single track peppered in between."
The Annapurna leg finished at the town of Beni. The group also visited the Langtang region, a lesser known trekking area than the Annapurna or Everest but equally spectacular. There they charted a helicopter and did a run off Kyanjin Gompa, which measures in at 3730m.
While on the trip, Hans Rey and the group gave away 30 bikes from Rey's Wheels 4 Life charity.