NOVEMBER 3rd – 16th 2017
THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE ON EARTH
Yak Attack is the highest mountain bike race on Earth, climbing to the dizzying heights of 5416m above sea level. 9 stages, approx 500km, 15000m of overall altitude gain and a temperature range of +30c to -20c, tests the most hardened of riders.Now in its 11th year, Yak Attack will be taking the race into Upper Mustang for a second time. After crossing the formidable Thorong La, the race will head into the moon like landscape of the “Forbidden Kingdom” of Upper Mustang, which at an average elevation of 4000m is one of the remotest and untouched areas on planet Earth.
Yak Attack is internationally recognised as one of the toughest endurance races on the planet, and it just got tougher!
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
MOUNTAIN BIKING WORLDWIDE AND OUR PARTNERS
ITINERARY & ENTRY DETAILS
WHAT’S THE PLAN OF ATTACK?
YAK ATTACK 2017 - "THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM"
The 2017 event is 10 stages of awesome Mountain Bike racing through “The Forbidden Kingdom”. Are you ready for the adventure?
DATES: November 3rd to 15th 2017
- November 3rd – Race registration at International Guesthouse, Thamel
- November 4th – Transfer by coach of riders, luggage and bikes to Besi Sahar (approx 6 hours)
- November 5th to 15th – Yak Attack race, see stage details below
- November 16th – Private coach transfer from Pokhara to Kathmandu. (approx 8 hours)
YAK ATTACK 2018 - "FAST AND FURIOUS"
For 2018 we’re bringing you a shorter, faster, more awesome Yak Attack stage race. With only 7 stages of racing riders will be battling to complete the 2018 FAST AND FURIOUS.
DATES: November 3rd to 12th 2018
- November 3rd– Race registration at International Guesthouse, Thamel
- November 4th – Transfer by coach of riders, luggage and bikes to Besi Sahar (approx 6 hours)
- November 5th to 11th – Yak Attack 2018 – Besi Sahar to Pokhara via Thorong La pass, approx 200km
- November 12th – Private coach transfer from Pokhara to Kathmandu. (approx 8 hours)
BREAKDOWN OF THE STAGES
For 2017 were heading back to Taal, a beautiful settlement on the banks of the Marshyangdi river. This stage takes you from Besi Sahar to Tall. There are plenty of ups and downs today. We’ll be climbing up to 1700m above sea level. The terrain is STEEP loose rocky climbs with a number of water crossings. From around 20km to the finish the course is very tough, with long technical climbs.
This stage includes a water station at 15km. Riders are anticipated to take between 2.5 and 6 hours.
- Date: November 5th
- Distance: 32km
- Climbing: 1700m
- Descending: 1026m
- Max Elevation: 1700m
- Temperatures: 35°C to 5°C
NOVEMBER 6th: TAAL TO MANANG – DISTANCE: 64KM, 2500M ASCENT (Max Elevation 3540m) After a very tough climb out of Taal and another in about 20km’s time the trail starts to level a little. – Theres a distinct likelyhood the riders will encounter their first sections of snow during this stage and long sections of deep mud are almost guaranteed. The temperature starts to drop, the air gets thinner and the mountain scenery more spectacular.
This stage includes a water stations at 20km and 40km. Riders are anticipated to take between 4 and 9 hours.
- Date: November 6th
- Distance: 64km
- Climbing: 2500m
- Descending: 1223m
- Temperatures: 15°C to 5°C
NOVEMBER 8th: MANANG TO THORONG PHEDI – , DISTANCE: 16KM, 1238M ASCENT (Max Elevation 4450m) “Into thin air” – The shortest stage, distance wise, at only 17km, but on average it takes the riders longer than the 60km stage 3 !! Altitude is the biggest obstacle today with riders finishing at 4450m above sea level. Snow and severe cold are also distinct possibilities during this stage.
This stage includes a water station at 1km and 9km.
- Date: November 8th
- Distance: 16km
- Climbing: 1264m
- Descending: 309m
- Temperatures: 10°C to 0°C
- Steep short climbs, single track decents and possible snow due to high altitude.
NOVEMBER 9th: THORONG PHEDI TO MUKTINATH – DISTANCE: 11KM, 1036M ASCENT (Max Elevation 5416m)
“The Pass” – The stage everybody fears. A 5km hike a bike starting in the dark, through snow and freezing temperatures takes the riders to the highest point of the race, Thorong La at 5416m. It’s no easy passage from here however as invariably deep snow makes the 6km descent from the top treacherous and slow going.
NOVEMBER 10th: MUKTINATH to GHILING – DISTANCE: 46KM, 2050M ASCENT (Max Elevation 4080m)
“Into the Fobidden Kingdom” – Today the races enters the Forbidden Kingdom of Upper Mustang. A 7km hike and bike ascent straight out of Muktinath takes riders up to the first pass of the day, Gyu La at 4080m. A crossing of the Kali Gandaki river and 5 more passes all above 3600m brings riders to the nights destination of Ghiling.
NOVEMBER 12th: LO MANTHANG to LO MANTHANG – DISTANCE: 21KM, 450M ASCENT (Max Elevation 4072m)
“Towards China” – A relatively easy day by Yak Attack standards. A 21km time trial loop, starting and finishing in Lo Manthang will take riders towards the Chinese border with a 13km climb. A rapid 8km descent brings riders back to the walled capital, leaving plenty of time to explore the area, or to recover for the final 2 days of racing.
NOVEMBER 13th: LO MANTHANG to CHELE – DISTANCE: 54KM, 2150M ASCENT (Max Elevation 4288m)
“Heading south” – Today we leave the Kingdom of Lo and start the journey south tpwards the finish line. This doesn’t mean its getting easier though, as riders have to cross the highest pass in Upper Mustang, Chogo La (4288m) and then another 5 passes on the way to Chele. Along the way, sections of rocky singletrack descents will test the skills of even the best riders.
NOVEMBER 14th: CHELE to TATOPANI – DISTANCE: 80KM, 1600M ASCENT (Max Elevation 3751m)
“To the hot springs” – One last mountain pass, Dajori La to cross before the route descends out of Upper Mustang and down towards the Kali Gandaki river. After passing through Kagbeni, Jomsom and Marpha, the race finishes in Kalopani at around the 60km point.
From here its a further 20km of gnarly downhill to Tatopani. Unfortunately the track is too heavily trafficked to be safely raced so this section will be a neutral and just for enjoyment, taking riders down to the hot springs at Tatopani
NOVEMBER 15th: TATOPANI to POKHARA DISTANCE: 102, 1200M ASCENT (Max Elevation 1100m).
Today’s stage isn’t a race but rather a reliability ride. Riders must complete the 102km in between 7 to 7.5 hours, no quicker and no slower (barring any Nepali unforseen delays !!)
The first 30km is off road and then “sealed” from there onwards taking riders all the way into Pokhara hopefully as a whole group.
AND WHAT ISN’T
Included in entry fee
- Coach transfer from Kathmandu to Besi Sahar (November 4th)
- 12 nights accommodation in hotels / teahouses (November 4th to 15th inclusive)
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner (November 5th to 15th inclusive).Lunch and dinner November 4th, breakfast and lunch November 16th.
- Transfer of luggage between each stage
- Water stations
- Discounts on Torq products for all entrants
- Physical and GPS route marking
- Full medical support by qualified doctors
- Bike wash facilities
- Bike mechanic (services to be paid for)
- Massage services (to be paid for)
- Party / post race celebration / prize giving ceremony in Pokhara.
- Private coach transfer from Pokhara to Kathmandu (November 16th)
- All necessary permits including the $500 upper Mustang restricted area permit
- Overall and stage winners prizes and trophies.
- Finishers T-shirts and medals
Not included in entry fee
- International flights
- Equipment- including bike, helmet, clothing etc
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Private medical services or treatment, emergency medical treatment and emergency evacuation fee
- Entry visas or immigration services
- Accommodation on or before November 3rd, or on or after November 16th (option 1), November 13th (option 2)
WHAT THE RIDERS THOUGHT
The Yak Attack is by far the most scenic race I’ve been to, riding through the heart of the largest mountains on Earth and into the hidden world of an old Buddhist kingdom. A region rarely visited with stunning mountain peaks, true mountain people and a mystical sense of being on a different planet.
Cory Wallace – 2014 and 2016 competitor
I first came across the Yak Attack in an article online 6 or 7 years ago and it instantly joined my list of must-do adventures. The Yak Attack is billed as the highest and one of the toughest mountain bike races in the world. It’s 10 days long, spans 350km, accounts for 15000m of climbing (with a high point of 5416m) and covers 17 mountain passes over 3600m. Even on paper it looks tough!
Julia Hobson – 2016 competitor
It took me 8:50 hours to complete and the last hour was freezing. I arrived in Chame cold, hungry and had the most wonderful dal bhat, a traditional meal of steamed rice and cooked lentil soup, in a warm wood-heated cabin.
Loh Ching Soo – 2016 competitor
The Yak Attack. What the hell… 10 days, 350km, 15000m of climbing, a high point of 5416m AND 17 mountain passes over 3600m! It’s by no means the longest of distances, but the altitude and steep terrain is the real challenge. 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the race so the organisers created a brand new route up into the Kingdom of Upper Mustang. As soon as I saw this route I was hooked, we only cover four days of the same terrain from last year with six days of new terrain which made it familiar but excitingly unknown.
Matt Rousu – 2015 and 2016 competitor
What an incredible race, an amazing country and a challenge like no other. The 2015 Yak Attack (6-14th November) was an eight stage mountain bike race that took us as high as 5416m (17770ft) above sea level. We climbed over 12000m (40000ft) over 400km of rough terrain ranging from amazing singletrack, pot holed jeep tracks, village walking trails, skinny landslide cliff-sides, snow, ice and alpine goat trails.
Matt Rousu – The NorthFace Nepal Yak Attack 2015 competitor
Featured in: 6 Of The Toughest Mountain Bike Endurance Races On The Planet by Nina Zietman
Yak Attack is the highest mountain bike race in the world, covering over 400km and altitudes of 12,000m. If you’re not super fit, don’t even bother considering it.
The weather flips between humid jungle territory at 30°c below dipping well below -15°c as you climb further up the mountain. Along with that you’ll get everything from muddy bogs to wade through, seriously steep singletracks, rickety suspensions bridges and snow!
At 5,416m above sea level, the oxygen levels are 50 per cent less than below, so there’s more to overcome than just treacherous trails.
APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN
If you’re ready to enter you can do so here.
If you’ve still got questions – check out our Frequently Asked Question section below.
WHAT THE FAQ?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I need a visa for Nepal?
Yes, nearly all nationalities need a visa to visit Nepal. A 15 day visa is US$25, a 30 day visa is US$40, or a 90 day visa is US$100 (this has to be paid for in foreign currency, US$, AUS$, Euro, GBP etc) can be obtained upon arrival at Kathmandu airport, for which you will need 1 passport sized photograph and a pen (On a busy day it can take well over an hour to pass through passport control, especially if you do not have a pen to complete the forms) The necessary documents will be given to you either on your flight or are obtainable in the airport. Visas can also be arranged in advance at your nearest Nepali embassy.
How do I get to Nepal?
Kathmandu is the only international airport in Nepal. There are a number of airlines that fly there including Emirates, Qatar, Jet, India, Turkish. Most flights either go via the middle east or India.
How do I get from the airport to Kathmandu?
Depending on traffic, it is an approx 30 minute ride into Thamel (Kathmadu’s tourist district). A taxi will cost around $5 and can be booked at the taxi counter inside the airport.
If you have a reservation, most hotels in Thamel will collect you from the airport if you ask in advance.
Can you recommend a hotel in Thamel?
The International Guesthouse in Thamel is the official hotel of the 2016 Yak Attack.
Riders booking in advance will receive a 15% discount on the room rates and free airport pickup on arrival (please request at time of booking).
To reserve a room please contact the hotel directly and mention that you will be taking part in Yak Attack.
Where does the race finish?
The race finishes in Pokhara on the 15th of November.
The following day (16th) all riders and bikes will be transferred back to Kathmandu, arriving mid to late afternoon.
I will be travelling with my bike in a bag / box. What will happen to that during the race?
It is not possible to take your big bag or box along during the race. Nearly all hotels in Kathmandu have a secure luggage storage facility where you can store your bike bag and any extra luggage not needed during the race.
How do we get to the race start?
There will be a coach transfer from the International GuestHouse for both riders and bikes to the race start location in Besi Sahar on November 4th.
What is the accommodation like during the race?
As the race progresses into the mountains, accommodation will be in teahouses. These are typically basic rooms centred around an eating place. The rooms will be basic but clean and comfortable, hot showers might not always be available and western style toilets very scarce.
When the race enters Upper Mustang, accommodation becomes more basic with riders being split between 3 or 4 hotes.
We review accommodation annually and only select the best available for the area we are staying.
Once the race is over, riders will be able to relax in the luxury of a resort style hotel on the lake side in Pokhara for 1 night.
On what basis is the room sharing?
Whilst we use the biggest and best guesthouses in the area, accommodation is still very limited and thus so are room combinations. However, we endeavour to accommodate couples in private rooms and keep friends together.
Rooming will be on a twin share occupancy and due to limited facilities, single occupancy is not available.
What will the weather be like?
Yak Attack must have the most varied weather extremes of any race on earth. For the first 3 days, when the trails often drop below 1000m, the day times can be blistering hot, with temperatures up to 35C.
4 days later, when crossing the Thorong La pass at 5416m, temperatures as low as -20c and deep snow could be encountered, and a day later riders will be back in a sub tropical climate.
What will the food be like?
Set breakfast lunch and evening meals are included in the race entry fee for the duration of the race. The food is invariably quite basic and includes such things as Dahl Bhat (boiled rice and lentil curry), noodles, potatoes, pasta, soup, bread, egg and porridge, but is all freshly cooked and typically high carb.
I am a vegetarian / vegan. Can you cater for me?
Yes. Most dietary requirements can be catered for. There is a section on the application form to let us know of any specific requirements. Given plenty of notice it is usually possible to fulfill most requests but in the unlikely event it is not possible we will let you know before confirming your place.
Are soft and alcoholic drinks included in the cost?
No, but these can be purchased separately from the hotel / teahouse
What kind of bike is best for Yak Attack?
Your bike must be in good working order and of a suitable quality for coping with a seriously tough off road trail. Most people ride hardtails with front suspension, although full suspension is growing ever more popular and a couple have even done it on singlespeed fully rigid! !! We would recommend fitting new brake pads before starting the race and a new chain if the old one is showing any signs of wear. Once leaving Kathmandu, spares are not readily available so it will be necessary to bring these with you.
Am I fit enough to complete Yak Attack
We get this question the most for all our events and it’s the toughest to answer. Take a look at the stage distances and elevation profiles then try and gauge if you could ride this in less than 10 hours. Then judge whether you can do this for 8 days ? Only you can really know if you are up to the task, but if you have any concerns or need advice then we are here to help. Just ask!
Will there be bike washing facilities each day?
In most of the locations we visit, fresh water is both sparse and precious, so we ask riders to keep bike washing to a minimum.
Streams and rivers are also sources of drinking / cooking / washing water for many locals so we ask riders abstain from using these for cleaning bikes.
The easiest way would be to enlist the (paid) services of the race mechanic, but if you prefer to clean your own bike then you must also bring your own cleaning equipment.
Will there be a bike mechanic?
Will there be back up and a doctor available?
There will be a fully qualified doctor based at the hotel / teahouse and a first aid team will (wherever possible) be sweeping each stage in case there are any injuries during the race. Please complete the medical section on the application form as comprehensively as possible so that our doctors are armed with all the correct information relating to your medical history.
Is it possible to take a non-riding companion?
Of course!! We would like nothing more than for you to have your family or friends along to support you.
We provide luxury 4wd vehicles for companions to travel in whilst accompanying the race. However, vehicles can only travel as far as Manang and from here, companions will have to travel on foot, the next 2 stages to Muktinath including crossing the Thorong La pass. In Muktinath vehicles will be waiting to continue the journey into upper mustang.
Whilst, it is not always possible for the vehicles to follow the exact course or keep up with the riders, we endeavour to give companions the best overview of the race as possible.
Companions enjoy the exact same services as included in the racers package, and the cost is the same.
The event is supported by TORQ; what's the deal?
What time does the riding start each day and how long should we expect to be out for?
As the mornings can be quite cold, the race will generally not start until 9 am, unless conditions dictate otherwise. On average we expect the faster riders to be riding for around 4 hours per day and the slowest ones to be twice that time, some days will be shorter and 1 or 2 maybe longer!
Will there be race briefings each day and are these mandatory?
Yes, each evening riders will be briefed on the following days stage. It is very important that ALL riders attend this briefing from a safety prospective as important information regarding weather and trail conditions will be discussed, together with details relating to start times, route deviations etc.
Briefings will generally be carried out before dinner at 7pm but timings etc will be displayed on the race notice board in a prominent position in the hotel.
Are there any vaccination requirements for Nepal
The following vaccinations are recommended for people visiting Nepal but it is advisable to check with your GP as to what you may require:
- Hepatitis A.
How is the race route marked?
What language will the race briefing be conducted in?
The race briefings will be conducted in English, and it is very important that all riders are able to understand instructions given during the briefing.
It looks like the race is going to be hard on the body. Can I get a sports massage during the race.
Yes. You can prebook a10 x 30 minute session package for $400 via the application form.
It may be possible to book a massage on the day at a cost of $50 per 30 minutes but this will be subject to availability after all prebooked sessions have been completed
Do I need insurance to enter YakAttack
Yes. The race is held in a very remote area of Nepal. In the event of an emergency, helicopter evacuation maybe necessary. This is a very expensive procedure so it is essential that all competitors have insurance that will cover this and any medical treatment that may be required.
Proof of insurance will be required by October 1 2016. Any riders without adequate insurance will not be allowed to race.
Can you recommend an insurance company
Yes. We have partnered with World Nomads insurance who can provide insurance for residents of over 150 countries. Please use the panel below to receive a quotation
Do the race hotels have WIFI?
Wifi is not readily available at many of the places we stay and when it can be found, it can be infuriatingly unreliable and slow.
As a general rule do not expect much internet access between Kathmandu and Pokhara !!
I am fit and up for the challenge but I'm not an experienced racer. Would YakAttack be suitable for me?
Yak Attack is one of the physically and mentally toughest mountain bike races on the planet. We would not recommend or allow anybody without adequate mtb experience to participate in this race.
Other races in our series are more suitable for the less experienced rider.
All applications are reviewed on their own merit, so if you are unsure as to whether your experience is suitable, submit a form and we’ll give you an honest answer.
I'm fit and I enjoy mountain biking but I'm not confident on extremely technical terrain. Will YakAttack be suitable for me?
Whilst there isn’t a large percentage of technical riding, there are some extremely rocky / fast sections that could catch a less technically adept rider out.
Descending the steep rocky trails from the top of Thorong La is not the time to find out you are not that confident on a mountain bike !!
How do I apply to enter the race?
How do I secure my place in the race?
Once we have received your application and it has been accepted then a deposit of $500 will ensure your place in the 2017 race is secure (full details will be emailed at the time of acceptance). Please note, this is a NON REFUNDABLE deposit and is a statement of intent that you are definitely wish to take part in the race. We will make preliminary bookings based on this, which will incur costs. The deposit CANNOT be refunded at a later date if you change your mind!
What payment methods do you accept for the deposit or balance in full?
At the moment , we can accept bank transfer or Paypal payments. Full details will be included in the application acceptance letter
How much luggage can I take with me for the 8 days?
Riders and companions are restricted to 1 piece of luggage for the duration of the race. This can be up to 80ltrs in capacity and must not weigh anymore than 20kg. This will be strictly enforced.
Bags must be clearly labelled with the riders name and easily identifiable to the owner.
Can I download the race rules and regulations?
Yes, you can find them here – Yak Attack race rules
Why is YakAttack more expensive to enter than many othe rmountain bike races.
There are 2 major reasons for this.
Yak Attack takes riders into an area where there is no vehicular access. For stages 4,,and 5 everything (including the riders luggage)has to be transported by porters, even over the 5416m pass. With 1 porter per rider obviously involves a massive amount of manpower. Also with vehicles not being able to traverse the pass, they must make a 4 day round trip to meet riders on the other side.
Yak Attack also takes riders into an extremely remote and hostile area of the Himalaya. Rider safety is paramount for us so for this reason we only use the most reliable and reputable of logistic companies who implement stringent safety procedures. In 9 years of running the race, we have never had to use helicopter evacuation, but in the unlikely event it is necessary, we are equipped to instigate it without delay, but obviously all the necessary safety measures come at a cost.
The Kingdom of Upper Mustang is a restricted area for which a special permit is required. The cost of this permit is $500 per person.
What happens to my bike when the race is finished?
How do the riders return from Pokhara to Kathmandu.
A private luxury coach will transport riders back to Kathmandu. The journey is 200km and will take approx 8 hours. There will be a lunch stop which is included in the entry fee.
All riders, bikes and luggage will be dropped off at the International Guesthouse in Thamel.
Can I download more information about Yak Attack and Nepal in general?
Can I purchase an official Yak Attack race top?
If you are entering the race, the official Yak Attack 2017 tops can be purchased via the application form.
Otherwise please contact phil@theyakattack with your required size and quantity.
Will the mechanic have a range of spare parts?