Editor’s note: The ominous peaks of the Himalayas are known across the world as a premier mountaineering destination. Some even ski the precipitous mountains, but in the foothills, as discovered by Sebastian Doerk and Rob-J Heran in their latest video, “Gone Tomorrow,” there are epic spines, chutes and trails to be ridden around every corner.
“I can’t even describe how incredible Mustang is. It’s very raw and remote, it feels like you kind of stepped back in time, your mobile phone stopped working somewhere on the way there, the internet is only to be found in very few places…
“There’s only the mountains and you. Complete deceleration.
“The air is thin up here. I hike up the last steep slope to around 4,500 meters and try to extract everything that my legs and lungs have to give. I’m right on the limit and about to start the last descent of my time here in Nepal, on the Lubra trail deep in the Upper Mustang and surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the world. Annapurna (8,091 meters), Dhaulagiri (8,167 meters) and the Nilgiri (7,061 meters) are just a few of the summits I can see. Surrounding these giants are several “smaller” six-thousanders that haven’t even been named yet. Our guide Mandil tells us as that there are simply too many of them. How many undiscovered trails and lines are still out there? How much can still be ridden? The possibilities appear endless…
“Before dropping in and riding the trail down to the riverbed of the mighty Kali Gandaki for the last time, I spy an enormous Lammergeyer ﬂoating on the thermals, majestically soaring across this ancient kingdom without a single beat of its wings.
“This is what it’s all about. At these moments, right in the here and now, time stands still. For the next 30 minutes I have the whole trail to myself. You ride yourself into a trance, the senses become hyper-alert, reading what lies ahead so that each movement ﬂows seamlessly into the next. The trail’s a high-speed mix of loose corners interspersed with steep, exposed sections all the way down to the bottom. Make a mistake riding this fast and you’re in serious trouble, but thoughts of “What if?” have no place in the mind right now. I’m utterly consumed by the experience. The perfect ride? Well it definitely comes pretty close.
“This journey was so much more than just another trip into the backcountry, to go and ride. There were points when it felt like we’d gone on a journey back through time, to an era when old values still counted for something; an existence we all too often seem to have lost touch with in the western world. Up in Mustang, people still live their lives as they have been doing for centuries, perfectly in time with nature’s rhythm. This entire area has only recently become accessible to outsiders, meaning modern inﬂuences have yet to take a hold. People do things as they always have done. Everything is made by hand. Whatever they undertake, they do it with full dedication and take their time until every last detail is perfect. It’s like they go beyond Buddhism. Nothing gets rushed. All actions are carried out with a constant, unwavering attachment to their religion.
“This will not be the last time I travel to Nepal. The terrain has so much more to offer, it’s just waiting to be discovered. I also want to learn more about the people here and their rich culture. And when I do come back, I’m going to take my time. It’ll be worth it. Especially when the stiﬂing effect of modern life’s stress, pressure and imbalance makes our air too thin to breathe.” – Rob-J Heran
Born in Prague in 1981, Rob-J has lived in Munich for much of his life. Rob is a true all-rounder with several dirt and freeride successes to his name. His talent was first discovered at a freeride youth camp and life has come full circle, as Rob now organizes and promotes his own events to seek out promising young riders.
Video / Photos by Sebastian Doerk | infinitetrails.de