Three-time defending Hardrock Hundred Endurance run champion Kílian Jornet Burgada checked off another major accomplishment in the early hours of Monday.
The Spaniard summited Mount Everest in a single climb without the aid of oxygen and fixed ropes. He ascended the north face of the world’s tallest peak at 29,029 feet. Fewer than 200 people have summited Everest without the aid of oxygen.
The elite mountain runner and ski mountaineer set out from the Rombuk monastery (16,732 feet) in Tibet at 10 p.m. local time Saturday. He reached the summit at 12:15 a.m. Monday and descended to the mountain’s Advanced Base Camp (21,325 feet) to rest after a stomach ailment deterred his plans to return all the way back to the monastery.
“Until I reached 7.700 (meters) I felt good and was going according to my planning, but there I started to feel stomachache, I guess due to an estomach virus,” Jornet was quoted as saying on his Facebook page. “From there I have moved slowly and stopping every few steps to recover. However, I made it to the summit at midnight”.
Jornet, 29, wanted to do the climb in September with no other climbers on the route, but poor weather conditions pushed his attempt back until the normal summit season for Everest.
Jornet, who holds the records on the Hardrock 100 course going clockwise and counter-clockwise, also has set speed records on some of the world’s most famous peaks including Denali, the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Mount Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua.
The single climb style plays into Jornet’s desire to move purely through the mountains in a minimalist style. His sponsor, Salomon, developed special boots to help Jornet move quickly on the difficult terrain.
“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,” Jornet said on his blog. “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.”
After last year’s Hardrock, Jornet turned his focus to the Everest climb and said his attendance at the 2017 Hardrock 100 would depend on his Everest plans. He is guaranteed a spot in this year’s Hardrock race if he chooses to accept.
Everest was part of a five-year project for Jornet, who has chronicled his achievements in the “Summits of My Life” project with famed cameraman Sébastien Montaz-Rosset. The Everest summit completed the project.
“I know summiting Mount Everest and completing ‘Summits of My Life’ meant a great deal to Kilian,” Hardrock 100 race director Dale Garland said. “He truly epitomizes all that is good in sport, and I couldn’t be happier for him and his team.”
Jornet was joined by Montaz-Rosset until he reached the Advanced Base Camp. Jornet solo climbed to the summit from there. The pair spent time acclimatising for the Everest climb on Cho Oyu (26,906 feet) after spending a lot of time in the Alps.
“In four weeks we have reached two 8,000m summits so it seems our acclimatisation has worked,” Jornet posted to his blog. “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.”