High in the Himalayan hinterlands of southwest China, three majestic mountains soar above sprawling floodplains that spill into the country’s sweltering lowlands. Over the centuries, various Dalai Lamas have ordained these towering peaks as sacred, and the Tibetan people who inhabit this isolated region revere them as granite gods. A pilgrimage around the base of these 19,000-foot-high giants is considered a holy undertaking, and those lucky enough to finish this arduous circuit—known as the ‘Yading Kora’—hope the effort will purify a lifetime of negative karma. Inspired by this time-honored rite of passage, three adventurers set out to complete this kora on mountain bikes, carrying everything they need to survive the 10-day mission themselves.
Credit: Joey Schusler / Bike Magazine