Thursday, March 30, 2017

Himalaya Spring 2017: Kilian Jornet Returns to Attempt Everest Speed Record

This past fall, Spanish mountain runner Kilian Jornet traveled to the North Side of Everest to attempt to set a new speed record on that mountain. Those efforts were thwarted early on due to horrible weather conditions, and Jornet pulled the plug on that attempt, vowing to return at a later date. Now, we know when he'll be back and what his plans are for the year ahead.

According to reports, Jornet will now travel to the Himalaya this spring where he will move ahead with plans to climb and descend the world's highest peak in under 24 hours. Apparently he was having difficulty obtaining permits to return in the fall, so has elected to give it a go during the busy spring season instead. How this will impact his approach to the climb remains to be seen.

During the autumn Himalayan climbing season, Everest is all but abandoned making it much easier for Jornet to use his now-famous fast and light style. But during the pre-monsoon season, he'll have to contend with other climbers that will be along the route too. Presumably he'll be making his record-setting attempt from the North Side in Tibet once again, as the crowds are usually much lighter from that side of the hill. He will acclimatize in Nepal before hand however before heading to the mountain.

Everest is the final stage of Jornet's Summits of My Life project, which has seen him set speed records on peaks all over the world, including Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and Denali. He hopes to complete that pursuit by adding one more record to his resume.

In addition to tackling Everest in the spring, Jornet has also signed up to compete in a host of ultra events, including the Mont Blanc Marathon in June, the HardRock in Colorado in July, and Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in September, amongst others.

This being Kilian, he also plans to attempt to set a new speed record for running a tough route through the Lake District in the U.K. as well. The path covers 119 km (73 miles) and feature 43 hills with a combined elevation gain of 8700 meters (28,543 ft). The current record for the route stands at 13 hours and 53 minutes and was set back in 1982. That makes it ripe for being beat.

Of course, Jornet is likely to show up in a few other events and projects as well. As usual, we'll be following his exploits closely. Especially as he prepares for Everest.

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