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BLOG | NEWS | 11 August 2016

Kilian Jornet Takes on Everest: Non-Stop and Without Oxygen

After months of preparation, the Catalan mountain athlete will attempt the ascent-descent without oxygen or fixed ropes on the highest summit in the world.

Langtang: the third film in the Summits of My Life project by Kilian about his journey to the heart of Nepal
The Summits of My Life project started in 2012 when Kilian Jornet decided to begin a project that would have him ascend Mont Blanc, Mount Elbrus, Matterhorn, Aconcagua, McKinley and Everest in non-stop, alpine style, through 2015.

Throughout these years, he has managed to complete all of his goals, obtaining many records on mountains along the way. Yet this holds little importance to him, as he is quoted on the projects website as saying: “Breaking records should only be important while you’re running; once you reach the bottom they should disappear. They are there purely to motivate and push you to your limit. For this reason, the project is not only about breaking records or speed climbing summits with minimum gear. It is also about transmitting values.”

We all remember the earthquake of Nepal a year ago. Kilian was witness to this tragic event while on his way to Everest. He stayed in the country helping the victims as much as he could, and since then, has continued to do so throughout the year by raising money for reconstruction (almost 60,000 euros to date) and which is already being used to build new homes in Langtang.

After three intense months of long alpine runs in Colorado and the Alps, including a non-stop, double ascent-descent of Mont Blanc, Kilian is now ready to hit the Himalayas with UIAGM guide Jordi Tosas and extreme skier Vivian Bruchez, and cameraman Sébastien Montaz.

They will be supporting Kilian but he will take on the final ascent alone. Depending on the conditions, they will choose one of two routes on the north face, but their preference is to opt for the Norton or Horbein couloir.

They expect the expedition to last for a month to a month and a half. Acclimatizing for Kilian Jornet will be pretty intense (although less than you’d expect, having spent almost 3 months working out at over 4,000m) and will consist of intense workouts at high altitudes for a short period of time (to avoid exhaustion) followed by descents in between, to recover at lower altitudes.

Something of a mystery in this project is knowing how Kilian will adapt to 8,000m altitudes, since the maximum height he has experienced so far is 7,000m. Bearing in mind that he has also chosen the highest 8,000m summit on earth, it is logical to have some doubts.

On this final ascent Kilian will not be using either oxygen or fixed ropes. Neither will he be starting off from base camp, but from the highest inhabited area of Tibet, at the base of the north face of Everest: Rongbuk monastery (5,100m). From here, he will have a 4,000m climb to the summit of Everest. His aim is to ascend and descend in the same day.

Prototype for Kilian Jornet’s Everest ascent
One of the determining factors for his success is lightweight material. Kilian plans to carry a six kilo load in his pack and his clothing and boots have been specifically designed for the occasion by Salomon. As you can see in the photos, his boots consist of three parts and have very lightweight, integrated crampons.

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