Kilian Jornet postpones Everest dream – Breaking News!

kilian_everest

Kilian Jornet returns from Everest without having climbed the world’s highest mountain. Bad weather conditions during the final stage of the expedition have forced him to abandon the attempt to climb Everest via the north face.

It was always going to be touch and go and a risky adventure. Kilian was well aware of this and I wrote about some of my thoughts here before his attempt.

Today, 15th September, having spent three weeks at base camp on the north face of Everest (6,000m) acclimatising and preparing for the challenge of climbing the world’s highest mountain, Jornet and the Summits of My Life team postponed the the Everest challenge until a later date.

Read the full story HERE on the Summits of my Life website.

Kilian Jornet and Everest FKT

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Last weekend I was in Tromso, Norway for the Tromso SkyRace. The race was the first race in the new Skyrunner® Extreme Series.

Created a couple of years ago by Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg, the first edition in 2014 was a low key affair with a handful of participants, last year the race was added to the Skyrunner® World Series and now this year, the race has reached maturity with an additional 8km and ‘Extreme’ status.

The race is an extension of Kilian and Emelie’s day-to-day life in the mountains and I guess this is what is so special about the event (in addition to a stunning course), it is the proximity that the dynamic duo have with all the participants. They are really ‘hands-on!’

In and around all the planning and the energy for a race, there is time to chill, relax and take time out with friends. Both of them find that an important aspect of a sport they love and the quiet of Norway allows for a ‘normal’ life.

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With a VK on Friday and then the main events on Saturday, the duo have no rest. In particular, one manages to gain a full perspective of the energy of Kilian. He marks the course (with others), checks the course, runs around doing errands and then when the race is underway he is out ahead of the runners reaching the highest point of the course only to cheer runners on (and photograph them) and then to get back to the finish line and welcome each and everyone home! Of course, they have an incredible team of volunteers; it’s a group effort.

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Race day and packing was over close to midnight and then the following morning at a leisurely breakfast I assumed Kilian was sleeping or packing. I asked Emelie, ‘Is Kilian preparing for his trip to Nepal?’

The answer, ‘No, he has already gone!’

It puts everything into perspective. Kilian is a man who has an abundance of energy that few can fathom.

I have fond memories thinking back to September 2012. I was in northern Spain and it was the day before Cavalls del Vent. Sitting at a table for a pre-race dinner was Anton Krupicka, Dakota Jones, Emelie Forsberg, Terry Conway and others… Kilian revealed his ‘Summits of my Life’ project and of course, we all asked, what will be the final?

‘Everest!’ was the response.

The table was quiet. I remember hearing Anton saying, ‘So cool man!’ and then without thinking, speaking on impulse I said, ‘Will you use oxygen?’

The table went quiet, all eyes looked at me and then Kilian.

Kilian replied quietly, ‘Of course not… that would be doping!’

That moment has stuck with me and I often think of it and now, after a series of successful and incredible summits, Kilian is in Nepal getting ready for the ultimate one.

I have to say, I, like many others have had worries and concerns about the ‘Summits’ program. Let’s be clear here, I don’t doubt or question Kilian’s ability. What I do say and have always said, if you do anything enough times, it will eventually go wrong or something will happen. Kilian has already experienced loss and tragedy on this project. The death of Stephan Brosse was certainly a wake up call  but Kilian understands the risks and I think back to a quote of his when he said:

 “You have to go look for happiness in life, find it in the things that make you feel alive. Life is not something to be preserved or protected, it is to be  explored and lived to the full.”

I like to think that I have that freedom of thought but I lack the ability to go with it. It makes a huge difference.

“On the track, there is no risk so we time ourselves to get a benchmark. In the mountains, it is different. We try to become one with the mountain by finding new limits. It’s an emotion, from the heart, very connected to risk.”

Everest is the final test in the project and will probably be the most demanding challenge of the project and, indeed, of his life. He has broken records on mountains around the world and the final part of this personal project is an incredible one; an attempt to establish a ‘FKT’ (fastest known time) for ascending Everest, the world’s highest mountain at 8,848m. Kilian is taking on this challenge his own way, in the most pure and minimalist manner possible.

“Everest will probably be one of the most demanding climbs I’ve ever faced. It will be a great learning experience, from how my body reacts to the high altitude to how to apply the Alpine approach to the mountain. I’ve been preparing for this challenge for months and I’m keen to get started. The Summits of My Life project has always taken me to my limits and this time it won’t be any different,” Kilian Jornet on his blog post here.

Denali, Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro have seen records fall to Kilian. Altitude is going to be a key issue, something that he struggled with when ascending Aconcagua. In a recent post on the Suunto website (here) Kilian says, “The highest I have been is 7700 m, I was feeling good then, but there is a big difference after 8200 m and after 8500 m. It’s really important to be well acclimatized to around 6000 m. So I will spend many nights at around this altitude. And then it’s important I go to around 8000 m before the attempt.”

Weather, conditions, adjustment and I guess an element of luck are all going to play a major factor in a successful FKT on this Himalayan monster. There are no guarantees here! Kilian although clear, focused and meticulously prepared seems to understand that he may well need more than one attempt, “It’s a big mountain, and we have a long term perspective. We will try this year, but probably we will need to come again next year.”

With a proposed attempt date for September, the ascent will be made on the north side, via either Norton-couloir or Horbein-couloir depending on conditions. The Hornbein Couloir is a notable narrow and steep couloir high to the west on the north face of Mount Everest in Tibet, that extends from about 8000 m to 8500 m elevation, 350 metres below the summit. For the first 400 m vertical, the couloir inclines at about 47 degrees, and the last 100 m is narrower and steeper with about a 60 degree average incline. The Norton Couloir or Great Couloir is a steep gorge high on the north face of Mount Everest in Tibet, China, which lies east of the pyramidal peak and extends to within 150 m below the summit.

Everest_Kilian

As one would expect, Kilian will travel ‘fast and light’ with no oxygen and he will carry everything he needs in a pack.

“This is so I can move more quickly. With light equipment we can advance quicker, although we know this increases the risk. We’re aware of this risk and we’re taking it because ultimately this is the way we like to approach the mountain.” (Summits of my Life blog)

The Everest expedition is made up of Jordi Tosas, an Alpine climber who knows the area well, as well as the cameramen and guides Sébastien Montaz-Rosset and Vivian Bouchez who has trained with Kilian in and around Chamonix.

“Whatever happens, if we don’t make it, for me it’s not a failure. On the contrary, it’s a lesson. I know that whatever happens we’ll return from Everest having learnt something.” – Kilian Jornet

Follow this incredible story as it unfolds:

Facebook: facebook.com/Summitsofmylife

Twitter: @summitsofmlylife

Credits:

Summits of my Life HERE

Suunto HERE

and Wikipedia

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Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 Day 5 Image Gallery

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Day 5 Race Summary HERE

Everest Trail Race – Fernanda Maciel Interview

LOGO ETR

Everest! Do you really need any other description? Later this year, the third edition of the Everest Trail Race (ETR) will take place. Starting on the 3rd November and finishing on the 15th November, runners from around the world will join together for one of the toughest high altitude ultra marathons.

Image taken from - everesttrailrace.com ©

Image taken from – everesttrailrace.com ©

Set against one of the most awe inspiring backdrops, the race will last for six days covering a total distance of 160km. Daily distances are on the face of it relatively easy at; 22, 28, 30, 31, 20 and 22km, however, daily altitude difference goes from 3000m to almost 6000m.

It is a demanding race and although each participant is required to be self-sufficient during each day, food, water and an evening camp are provided by the race organization.

Image taken from - everesttrailrace.com ©

Image taken from – everesttrailrace.com ©

Daily temperatures can vary from -10c to +18c and the terrain will offer incredible variety; frozen earth, snow and rocks of varying color. Without doubt, the ETR is a challenge, why else would you do it? But it is a challenge all can undertake with some specific training. It is ideal for runners or hikers who want to push the limit.

Image taken from - everesttrailrace.com ©jordivila

Image taken from – everesttrailrace.com ©jordivila

Created in 2011 by Jordi Abad, a Spanish extreme ultra runner, the ETR is staged at the beginning of the dry season. Why? Well, the air is clean after the monsoons, visibility is impeccable and the surroundings are resplendent.

In order to get a greater understanding of what the ETR may offer, I caught up with Brazilian, Fernanda Maciel. Fernanda is currently preparing for the ‘CCC’ in Chamonix at the end of August and will make the journey to Nepal in November to take part in the 3rd edition of the ETR.

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IC – Fernanda, welcome, how are you, I believe you are currently at your home in Spain?

FM – I am great thanks Ian. Yes, I am in Spain.

IC – I presume you are training in the mountains?

FM – Yes sure, one month ago I damaged my foot so I have been recovering and training. I live in the Pyrenees. It’s a great place to be. It is a great background for training and to prepare for the CCC and other races.

IC – Let’s hope they get good weather at the CCC this year…

FM – I Hope so!

IC – I guess coming from Brazil you would prefer hot weather.

FM – Yes, but I live in the Pyrenees so I am used to the cold and snow but hot weather would be nice for the race.

IC – I often think of you as an ultra runner but you are a much more diverse person than that. Can you take me back to what got you into sport and what made you realize that you had a passion for all things connected to running, cycling and swimming. You have done so many sports with such variety.

FM – From the age of 8 I was training as an Olympic gymnast. At 10yrs old I was in the US doing competitions and training every day for four hours. So, my background in sport was established when I was a child. This helped a great deal. For me the sports I have done in my life I have really enjoyed. I couldn’t separate sport from my life; it is my life. I also did martial arts. My father was a master and my grandfather was also a master in jujitsu. So I was always fighting too…

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IC – So a gymnast and fighter, the message is, don’t mess around with Fernanda!

FM – Yes, it was so funny. My grandfather’s house had a fighting ring.

IC – Like a dojo?

FM – Yes a fighting ring. So my cousin and I would fight all the time. It was so funny. I loved this time. When I was 15/16 years old I started to run, 5k on the road and then 10k. When I was 20 years old I started doing half-marathons. The changing point came at 23 years old. I was invited to do some adventure racing. I purchased a bike and started to do mountain biking. I was running before but not MTB. So I progressed to adventure racing at 23. I became an endurance runner through adventure racing. The races are always long, you don’t stop, you don’t sleep so it was perfect preparation for ultra running and ultra trail. It was easy for me to progress to long distance.

IC – Do you think with ultra and trail you have found ‘your’ sport?

FM – I feel complete when I do trail and ultra. I am not sure if I can try another sport and be better but I love running. I cannot be without one day of running. I love it. Of all the sports I have done, running gives me movement, style and great experiences during and after. To be on the trails, mountains, sand or whatever; it is what I really enjoy. Currently I love the mountains. It provides great views, fresh air; I love it. It completes me. I also love flowers and animals so it’s great. Very interesting. When you go above the clouds the sensations are so amazing. It’s a great feeling.

IC – I’d like to talk about your professional life. I think of you as a professional sports person, which of course you are. But you practiced as an environmental lawyer and a sports nutritionist. Do you still practice law?

FM – I have a company in Brazil. I am a businesswoman. I also work in sport nutrition. I can do all my work remotely, so, I just need a computer. I have people in Brazil who help me. In the past I was a lawyer but when I came to Spain I needed five more years study because the law was different. Lawyers need to be in a city, I chose sport instead. Sport nutrition allows me more flexibility. It fits in with my life. I breathe sport. It’s better. I love law, I love to study and read but I didn’t want to be in an office all day. I didn’t have much contact with nature. I also became an outdoor bound instructor in addition to everything else.

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IC – If we look back over your run career, it starts in 2006 and you have had some great results. You won at Transgrancanaria, you won Andorra Ultra Trail, you were fourth at UTMB, recently you had success at Lavaredo, TNF Mt Fuji but the one thing that sticks out is Camino of Santiago de Compostela, 860km and you did this as a personal challenge in ten days. What was that like?

FM – It was the hardest run of my life. I knew the Camino. I thought maybe if I run the Camino I could help children with Cancer. When I was in Brazil as Lawyer, I also helped children with cancer. So, I made this project with charity in mind and it was really tough. I was running 90-100km per day without a support team. I carried everything and slept in huts along the route. It was super tough. It think it’s a great way to do the Camino… I am writing a book now about the experience to encourage others to maybe run the Camino instead of hiking.

IC – I remember when we spoke at Haria Extreme race you told me of the difficulty on getting approval. They wouldn’t stamp your card because you moved along the trail too quickly.

FM – Yes, the church think that the runners move too fast so they don’t have time to think and reflect… I told them I had plenty of time! I was running ten or eleven hours a day. I had plenty of time to think. I hope that running will be an option for others in the future.

IC – Other races in your career, what would you pinpoint?

FM – I love the UTMB, CCC and TDS. I did the TDS in 2009 and for me it is an amazing race. It is so technical and beautiful. It is so different to the UTMB. The views are amazing. It is a really great race and one I would recommend. I have run in many races around the world, but I prefer races in Europe because they have more elevation. I prefer high mountains. I would like to try Hardrock 100. Hopefully I can get a place next year? I am going to Patagonia soon, this will give me high mountains and altitude.

IC – You have mentioned the high mountains and both of us will be in the high mountains in November. We are going to Everest Trail Race. I will be along as a journalist and photographer, very exciting for me. You will be participating. An exciting place to race…

(Laughter)

FM – Yeeesssss!

(Laughter)

IC – I can hear the excitement.

FM – Yes, I am so excited. We have support but we also need be self-sufficient too. I prefer this. It is wilder. I like this aspect of racing; it makes things more interesting. The race will provide the best views ever. It will be hard and it will be technical. It is my first stage race. It will be interesting; I can share my feelings and thoughts with other runners. We will all learn so much. The mountains will also teach us. We will be one week in this environment.

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IC – It takes place in the Solukhumbu region of the Himalayas in Nepal. It has an altitude gain of more than 25,000m (ouch). It has long hard trails of frozen earth, snow, rocks it is 160km in total over 6-days broken down into 22, 28, 30, 31, 20 and 22km‘s per day. The distances don’t sound too much but when you look at elevation per day of 3000 to 6000m per day that will be extremely tough. It will be a different experience. Have you been doing anything specific in preparation?

FM – I am already preparing as I climb and spend time at elevation. It will be like a climb/run because of the elevation. The race has short distances but high elevation and that will make it tough. I go into the mountains to adapt, in the last two weeks for example I did a 60km race and I did 4500m in elevation. This is good preparation. I need altitude and high elevation. Sometimes I prefer to climb, it is good cross training and it is also good for my mind. It’s good to be in open areas.

IC – In terms of the race, snacks, meals and water are provided both along the route and at camp at the end of each day. During the race you need to be self sufficient in terms of safety kit. You need technical kit, sleeping bag, warm clothes, and mandatory kit. You have already said that this is something that excites you. Do you have any specific things that you will take?

FM – No. I will have what I need and what is specified in the rules. I will want my kit to be light, so, I will use the lightest products possible. I won’t have special drinks or food. I don’t eat cheese or meat but I have made sure that vegetarian food will be available. Apparently we need to be careful with water but apparently we will be supplied good water.

IC – You are sponsored by TNF (The North Face), are they producing any products for you specifically or will you use what is available in the consumer range

FM – I will use normal product. I may have some prototypes to test in the coming weeks, so, I may take some of this with me but I will need to test. But I think for Everest, the pack, sleeping bag, jacket and so on will be normal product in the TNF range.

IC – One thing that has always impressed me is that you like to raise money for charity. You get involved. Are you doing anything in particular for the Everest trip.

FM – Yes, at the Everest trip I have one day free after the race. I have a friend who asked if I could help children for Fundació Muntanyencs per l’Himàlaia. So, the Everest trip was perfect. Last week I had a meeting with the foundation in Spain. They need children’s clothes. In the race, we will pass through the villages of the children, where they were born. So I will hopefully bring clothes and resources to Nepal and provide them for the foundation. In the coming weeks I will start to collect everything and then I can take it with me.

IC – Great, something really incredible to help the local communities.

FM – We will need to run to the Village to help them, so if you can help me that would be great. Also, I hope Lizzy Hawker will help us too.

IC – Absolutely, I would love to get involved. It’s a great thing! Finally, many people will read this and look at your achievements and the experience you have. If you had to give advice to someone who was maybe thinking about going to Nepal, what advice would you give to help him or her?

FM – Have an open mind and open heart. The mountains will talk with you. This is the best experience for everyone. It will be incredible to be in this place. Yes, for sure, you need to train but this is only one aspect. Train the mind and the heart, the rest will follow.

IC – Perfect. Of course, the Everest Trail Race is about experience. Due to the nature of the terrain and altitude it will not be a full on running race, you will also need to be a good hiker…

FM – Yeeesss. For sure! I think if you have confidence and a good mind then it won’t be a problem. Yes we will walk, we will also run but we will also take photographs. It’s about being in the mountains. After all, it is Everest! It is another world.

IC – Fernanda, than you so much for your time. I am looking forward to catching up at CCC and of course later in the year in Nepal.

FM – Great. Here are the details of the foundation:

The children (5 to 18 years old) that we can help…

Mountaineers for Himalayas Foundation

Fundació Muntanyencs per l’Himàlaia

info@mount4him.org

www.mount4him.org

Finally, a word from Jordi Abad, ETR director.

” If this was only a pure and hard competition, it would be a nonsense; environment gives its hardness but not the competitiveness itself. We are here to share and to help each other. It is possible to make the effort running any city marathon in the world, but the sensations, the environment and the feelings are to share them with friends, to know new people with whom laughing and weeping. This is what remains in the end and what makes it an unique experience for all”.

LINKS:

  • Website for ETR – HERE
  • Fernanda Maciel – HERE
  • The North Face – HERE 

INTERESTED? in participating in the 2013 Everest Trail Race? It is not too late… some places are still available. Please use the contact form below and obtain a discount, only available through this contact form:

*Note, I will attend the 2013 ETR at the invite of the race organisation.