International Yeti tribe Gathering – Chile
The sometimes stark but always beautiful landscapes of Chile and Patagonia were the perfect setting for the 2nd International Tribe Gathering
Riding with the International Yeti Tribe Gathering Chile and Patagonia
The sun is slowly setting over a distant volcano, turquoise waters are tumbling down some impressive waterfalls as I walk through volcanic ash on way back to our lake front accommodation. As I near the hotel’s hot tub I hear a worldly collection of accents, laughter, jokes between good friends and the clinking of glasses. This can only mean one thing, my friends and colleagues, from the international Yeti Tribe are in full swing celebrating the end of another successful International Yeti Tribe Gathering Chile.
This is the second International Yeti Tribe Gathering that we’ve hosted, the first having taken place in the homeland of the yeti itself, Nepal, in November 2015. The Gathering in Nepal saw riders taking part from six countries around the world, who came together for the love of riding mountain bikes and a passion for Yeti Cycles. The riders were so blown away by what Nepal, Yeti and H+I Adventures had to offer that eight of that group immediately booked on the second gathering to be held in Chile and Patagonia in early January 2017.
Mountain bike riders in Chile
When we all arrive in Chile and meet up in Pucón, it’s a mix of old friends getting together and introducing the new faces to the Tribe and people’s assigned Tribe names, like Fainting Goat, Double D and Maaaark! With 20 riders arriving from all corners of the globe, we are delighted that the sun is shining, skies are clear and Villarrica volcano is smoking gently in the background as we set about preparing our steads for this adventure through the Lake and Volcano district, and Patagonia region of Chile.
As we set off on our first ride everyone is chatting manically about what’s to come and the atmosphere is electric, as we have both the Yeti owners, Hoog and Conroy along for the ride, with Joey Schusler in charge of photos of the trip. The riders are very excited to be rubbing shoulders with their heroes and with the possibility of being in some of the pictures that Yeti will use for social media and on their website, so they all dress in their finest Yeti clothing!
The Tribe is a unique bunch of riders. They have a huge passion for Yeti bikes, but are not geeky about it, it is almost like they are more into the culture of the company and the feeling of the bike, over the technology behind it. But after riding a Yeti you can’t help being in awe at the technology.
Above + below: Very simply a mix of the world’s finest landscapes and its most exceptionally engineered bikes. Oh, and some beers and smiles too…
During our seven days in the Lakes and Volcanoes region we ride on three volcanos, ride over 200km descending over 3000m, riding on volcanic ash, lava flows, through bamboo forests, past Araucaría trees and drop onto some enduro mountain bike trails that have been built for the Andes-Pacifico race. The terrain is varied but the smiles keep coming, well at least at the view points and the bottom of the trails!
The penultimate night of the International Yeti Tribe Gathering Chile trip sees us dropping off Mocho-Choshuenco volcano and pulling up at a local fiesta on the banks of lake Pirihueco. As it’s been a long, hot day we immediately order 50 empanadas and beer all round, followed by another 50 and then a final 50, all washed down by local beers, laughter and good conversation. The group were now friends for life and pushing Yeti and H+I Adventures to announce the next destination for the Tribe Gathering, so we felt this was the perfect time to get everyone excited and announced the 2018 International Yeti Tribe Gathering to be in New Zealand – an exploration of the South Island!
And that leads us to a slower start the next day, with an empanada hangover and heavy legs, we head off around the flanks of Osorno volcano on our last descent where we’re blowing volcanic sand up on each on the hairpin corners and pinching ourselves that we are riding bikes in this breathtaking location. As we pull up at the hotel, we pack bikes drink a beer and enjoy a celebratory pisco sour, before I head out for a walk to take in the views at sunset, and return to the hotel in time for dinner and, once more, the accents, laughter, jokes between good friends and the clinking of glasses from our group who have completed the International Yeti Tribe Gathering Chile!