Kilian Jornet has successfully completed the second of the challenges of his personal project Summits of My Life.
This led him to complete the demanding crossing from Courmayeur (Aosta Valley, Italy), to Chamonix (France) single-handed, reaching Mont Blanc via one of its most technical climbing routes, the Innominata Ridge.
A challenge which was completed without any assistance and with the least possible material, following the purist philosophy of the project Summits of My Life.
Jornet’s adventure started at 3:53 am, at Church Square in Courmayeur (1,000 m), on a perfectly clear and starry night, with just his headlamp for company. He advanced rapidly through the valley towards Vall Veny (1,500m), the start of the technical path that would lead him to the Monzino Refuge (2,590m) where he arrived at 5:25 am, feeling good.
From there on, the complicated stretch began. It was one that most concerned the Catalan runner, as he would have to face the glacier that would take him to Bivac de les Eccles at an altitude of 4,041m.
Jornet’s doubts vanished as soon as he saw the condition the glacier was in. Night temperatures had frozen it, so he could easily cross it using crampons. “I was concerned to know in what state I’d find the glacier and the crevasses. Once I saw that there was no danger, I felt relieved,” commented Jornet.
Once he had overcome the hurdle of the glacier without problems, Jornet arrived at Bivac Eccles (4,041m), where he had to face the second step that worried him most in this crossing: a rappel using a 20m-rope he was carrying and a long technical stretch of level V difficulty, before continuing to the top of the Innominata Ridge. Jornet completed the long stretch smoothly, climbed up the technical Innominata Ridge, which he had already tested a few days before, and began the ascent to the summit of Mont Blanc, reaching it 2 hours and 47 minutes after starting to climb Innominata Ridge. “Once I had completed the rappel and the tough long stretch, where I did not find any snow, I could breathe more easily. I knew I could manage the Innominata, as I had done it a few days before. It is a very technical route with slopes of 60 °, and climbing passes of difficulty V+, so I had to use all my senses. Luckily I didn’t find a lot of snow or ice on it, “said Kilian, who crowned the summit of Mont Blanc (4,810m) at 10:15 am, 6hrs and 17 minutes after leaving the Church of Courmayeur.
Jornet commented that he had to “open a new path” as he could not find one to follow on his way to the summit of Mont Blanc.
Once at the summit, Jornet stopped for just 5 minutes to collect his material together, and prepared his descend via the Voye Royale, the normal descent route from Mont Blanc via the Gouter Refuge, les Hocuhes finally reaching the church square of Chamonix, where he stopped the clock with a time of 8:42:57 hours.
Jornet flew down from the summit of Mont Blanc (4,810m). It took him just 2 hours and 19 minutes to reach his target, Chamonix (995m).
On arrival at the square in Chamonix, having left the Italian town of Courmayeur behind, covered the 42km that separate it from Chamonix and climbed the technical Innominata Ridge, Jornet commented that, “I am absolutely delighted. It is a challenge that I really wanted to accomplish. The weather was perfect throughout the journey and I felt great physically which, after crossing the glacier and the first long rope stretch, meant I could enjoy the spectacular beauty of the landscape.”
Jornet himself was surprised at his time. “My goal was to do it in less than 10 hours, and thanks to the good conditions I found I was able to reduce that time,” commented Jornet. A record time, considering that normal expeditions which tackle this route take 3 days to do it.
Following the philosophy of the project Summits of My Life, Jornet limited the material necessary to carry out this ambitious crossing, and says that, “I carried 400ml of water, which I had to ration carefully to get to the end.”
Details: Start: Courmayeur (Valle de Aosta, Italia) Finish: Chamonix (Francia) Distance: 42 Kilometers Total climb: 3,810 meters Route: Inominatta Ridge. A technical route with a total climb of 1,000 meters, 60º slopes and level V+ climbing passes.
Splits: Courmayeur-Val Veni: 40′; Val Veni – Ref Monzino: 1h30-50′; Monzino-Eccles: 3h30-2h; Eccles-Mont Blanc: 6h17-2h47 (5’ stop at summit); Mont Blanc – Gouter: 6h50 -27′; Gouter-Houches: 8h15 -1h25; Houches-Chamonix: 8h42’57’’ – 27′
Gear: static rope 7mm 20m; Dynema 120cm Vie de Carabin; helmet Petzl Siroco; headlamp Petzl NAO; crampons aluminium; Ice axe Petzl Sumtech; Suunto AMBIT; gloves Petzl Cordex; sunglasses salomon; cap; Duvet salomon; gore tex pants salomon; 1 gel overstim’s; 40cl water; overboots; long thighs; short + long teeshirt; trail running shoes; socks. Total weight: 2.512gr