29-YEAR-OLD Kílian Jornet, Spanish professional ski mountaineer and long-distance runner, reached the top of the world’s tallest mountain on May 27, only 17 hours after taking off from advanced base camp. The ascent comes on the heels of his most recent attempt to set a fastest known time for summiting Everest on May 22.
Jornet is six-time champion of the long-distance running Skyrunner World Series and has won some of the most prestigious ultramarathons, including the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, Grand Raid, the Western States Endurance Run and the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run.
Jornet holds the fastest known time for the ascent and descent of Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Denali.
Without oxygen or fixed ropes, Jornet summited Mount Everest only five days following his last summit.
Stomach bugs thwarted his speed on the May 22 ascent and on May 27 he summited nine hours faster. From advanced base camp (6,500m) he climbed the 2,348 metres to the top of Everest via the traditional route up the north side of the mountain.
Jornet’s previous climb departed from a lower altitude at Rongbuk Monastery (5,100m) and took him 26 hours to complete.
To climb Everest without oxygen is an accomplishment fewer than 200 people have experienced. And it normally takes three to four days, involving a gruelling step-by-step battle with multiple overnights rests.
To do so twice in the same week is nearly unbelievable. Jornet’s two summits push the boundaries of human abilities and high-altitude mountaineering.
According to Explorersweb and Everest1953, Austrian climber Christian Stangl summited Everest from advanced base camp in 2006 without oxygen in 16 hours and 42 minutes.
The official Guinness World Record FKT of Everest (without supplemental oxygen) belongs to Italian climber Hans Kammerlander. He made the climb in 16 hours 45 minutes. This puts Jornet’s ascent just shy of both records.
Records aside, Jornet’s ascent remains ground-breaking in the realm of human possibilities.
Jornet wrote on his blog –
‘I’m so happy to have made the summit again! Today I felt good although it was really windy so it was hard to move fast. I think summiting Everest twice in one week without oxygen opens up a new realm of possibilities in alpinism and I’m really happy to have done it.’