Kilian Jornet’s Ascent of Everest

Alone, in a single climb and without oxygen or fixed ropes, Jornet has reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain (8,848 m)

The climb, which forms part of the Summits of My Life project, sets a new “Fastest Known Time” of 26 hours from the Everest Base Camp (5,100 m) to the summit at 8,848 m

Due to stomach problems Jornet didn’t complete the descent to the Everest Base Camp and is currently recovering at the Advanced Base Camp (6,400 m)

“Up to 7,700m I felt really good and was making progress as planned but then I started to feel unwell, probably from stomach virus. From then on I made slow progress and had to keep stopping to recover. I finally reached the summit at midnight”, Jornet said.

 

Barcelona, 22/05/2017 – Kilian Jornet reached the summit of Everest at midnight local time on May 21-22 and did so in a single climb without oxygen or fixed ropes. With this ascent, Kilian Jornet has established a new “Fastest Known Time” (FKT), which is to say, a new speed record. He completed the climb in 26h from Everest Base Camp at the ancient Rombuk monastery (5,100m) to the summit at 8,848m.

He reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain (8,848m) via the traditional route up the north face. Kilian Jornet began the challenge at Everest Base Camp (5,100m) on May 20 at 22h local time (+5: 45 GMT).

At 12h15 local time he was back at the Everest Advanced Base Camp (6,500m) where he confirmed reaching the summit at midnight, 26 hours after beginning the ascent. In general, expeditions take four days to reach the summit from the Advanced Base Camp.

38 hours after beginning the challenge and having returned to the Advanced Base Camp, he said:  “Up to 7,700m I felt really good and was making progress as planned but then I started to feel unwell, probably from a stomach virus. From then on I made slow progress and had to keep stopping to recover. I finally reached the summit at midnight.”  

Given his indisposition, Jornet decided to end the attempt at the Advanced Base Camp instead of descending to the Base Camp, located near the ancient monastery of Rombuk, as he’d initially intended.  

The climb forms part of the Summits of My Life project which since 2012 has seen Jornet travel around the world to try to establish records on the planet’s most iconic mountains.  He began with Mont Blanc in 2012 y and since then has scaled mountains in Europe (Mont Blanc and Cervino), North America  (Denali) and South America (Aconcagua).

 

During the Everest challenge Jornet was accompanied by the expedition’s mountain guide and video cameraman  Sébastien Montaz-Rosset.

Summit of Everest in 26h

The meteorologists forecast a window of good weather on May 20-21. Jornet decided to make May 20 the day to begin the challenge and left the Base Camp at 5,100m by the ancient monastery of Rombuk.

The aim was to get to the summit in a single climb, without oxygen or fixed ropes and with minimal equipment. Finally, after reviewing the conditions for the different routes, he opted for the traditional one.

Kilian Jornet set off at 10pm local time (+5: 45 GMT). Ahead of him lay 15.2km of glacial moraine  before he arrived at the Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 6,400m. This part of the climb took 4h35  and he arrived at ABC at 2:35am. He rested for two hours before continuing.

It’s important to be fresh when you reach 8,000m if you want to reach the summit. I knew that in the first stage I had to conserve energy for the final stretch,” he explained. Jornet left some of the technical equipment at the ABC and set off for the most technical part of the climb at 4:30am.

Leaving the ABC, he climbed to cross Field 1 at  7,000m. It was 6:30am and he’d been on the move for 8 hours. From there he climbed to Field 2, between 7,600m and 7,800m where Seb Montaz was waiting for him and who would film him during the ascent and then return to Advanced Base Camp to report on the situation.

Meanwhile, Jornet continued to climb. At around 7,500m he started to feel weak and had a bad stomach ache. As a result, he decided to rest for 15 minutes in Field 3 (8,300m). “I didn’t feel well and I was making slow progress. I had to stop every few metres and I had cramps and was vomiting. In spite of everything, I felt all right at altitude and decided to continue.”

 

From there, Jornet climbed the highest section and arrived at the summit at midnight, 26 hours after setting off. It was a clear night, without clouds or wind.  “Reaching the summit of Everest without fixed ropes isn’t something you’d do every day! I saw a fantastic sunset and finally reached the summit at midnight. I was alone but I saw the lights of expeditions setting off on their ascent both on the north and south faces. I started to descend right away so as to get to the ABC as soon as possible,” he said.

However, he rested again in Field 3 before beginning the final part of the descent and arrived at the ABC at 12h15 local time, 38 hours after he began. As he felt unwell, he decided to end the attempt at the Advanced Base Camp rather than descend to Base Camp, near the ancient monastery of Rombuk, as he’d originally intended.

The video cameraman Seb Montaz had followed Kilian Jornet during some of the challenge. Montaz left Advanced Base Camp at 3h20am and climbed to 7,500m to wait for him and film his ascent through the high fields of Everest. Montaz would then climb to 8,020m to film.  From there he descended to the Advanced Base Camp to wait for Jornet, climbing up to 7,000m to meet him. It was another handful of hours on the mountain for this guide turned cameraman. Jornet and Montaz are currently at the Advanced Base Camp recovering from this titanic effort.  

Everest, the second attempt

in September 2016 Kilian Jornet made his first attempt on the world’s highest mountain. In spite of being in good physical shape and well acclimatised they couldn’t attempt a climb because of adverse weather conditions. This time around they changed seasons and travelled in spring. Weather conditions have been quite favourable, allowing them to acclimatise and prepare for the challenge.

Rapid acclimatisation to be more efficient

Before Everest, Kilian Jornet had spent two weeks on another 8,000m mountain, Cho Oyu (8,200m). The aim was to be well prepared for Everest and also to try out a new type of acclimatisation, as he explained: “In four weeks we have reached two 8,000m summits so it seems our acclimatisation has worked.  We had been training in hypoxia for a few weeks before and we went to acclimatise in the Alps before coming here. It seems that this type of express acclimatisation works and the body tires less and as a result we’re stronger when it comes to the challenge.”

Kilian Jornet arrived at Everest Base Camp (5,100m) on May 10. He chose the mountain’s north face, which is not the usual one. The day after he arrived Jornet climbed to the ABC (6,400m) to continue his acclimatisation and on the 11th climbed to 7,600m. When he returned once more to the ABC he said: “I felt good, I had a good feeling at altitude. I believe our acclimatisation is going well,”  

Sunday May 14 was a day of rest before beginning on the 15th the last big training day. Leaving the ABC, Kilian ascended and descended from 6,400m to 8,400m in a little over 9 hours. The aim was, on the one hand, to acclimatise, but also to see what state the ground was in. As he climbed he quickly realised that it would not be possible to make the ascent via the Norton or Holbeirn corridors as he’d originally intended. There was too much ice and it was too dangerous. On May 17 Kilian Jornet returned to Base Camp to rest, having completed the period of acclimatisation. All he had to do was wait for a window of good weather before attempting to reach the summit.

 

Accumulated time

 

Everest Base Camp (5,100m) – Everest Advanced Base Camp (6,400m): 4h35

2h rest at Everest Advanced Base Camp

Everest Advanced Base Camp (6,400m) – Summit (8,848m): 26h (15’ rest in Field Campo 3 on the way up and 1 hour on the way down)

Summit (8,848m) – Everest Advanced Base Camp (6,500m): 38h

Everest Advanced Base Camp (6,500m) – Everest Base Camp (5,100m)

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    5 Responses to Kilian Jornet’s Ascent of Everest

    1. Francois Carrez

      congratulations, that’s an outstanding achievement. However you should probably update the height of Everest 😀

    2. Congratulations! An incredible journey!

    3. Pingback: This weeks links (2017-05-22) | Visible Procrastinations

    4. Congratulations Kilian! That is the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard, a real runner running up the Everest without much support. You are a hero. Thank you for inspiring us.

    5. Pingback: Kilian Jornet summits Mount Everest twice in one week without bottled oxygen - Canadian Running Magazine

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