Kilian Jornet and Camper create a new brand NNormal

Kilian at Glen Coe Skyline

Who would have thought that Kilian Jornet would leave his sponsor, Salomon?

The duo seemed in perfect synergy:

Salomon is Kilian.

Kilian is Salomon.

Kilian skyrunning in Scotland.

As Kilian said on the 30th November 2021, ‘I remember like it was yesterday in the summer of 2003, a friend of a friend gave me a few pairs of trail running shoes. This guy was the director of marketing for Salomon Spain. From that moment on, Salomon not only came a sponsor but a life partner…’

Together, Salomon and Kilian dreamed big… ‘From winning trail and skimo races to climbing high mountains. I was able to make dreams come true that I didn’t even believe possible, and it was in large part thanks to this team.’

Kilian at the iconic Trofeo Kima – a skyruning classic.

For many of us, me included my journey in trail, mountain, ultra and skyrunning coincides with Kilian’s meteoric rise to be the ‘GOAT’ – Greatest Of All Time. We have absorbed his journey, jaws have dropped at his ability, we have had our minds blown by his escapades but now, a new period of history will be made.

I first met Kilian in 2012 and I feel lucky to have shared his journey, notably in skyrunning which Kilian holds very close to his heart. Ask Kilian who provided him the motivation to pursue his dreams and set goals and he will respond with, ‘Bruno Brunod, Fabio Meraldi, Marino Giacometti and Marco De Gasperi.’ This was reflected in his ‘Summits of my Life’ project and particularly his record on the Matterhorn.

Kilian and the Matterhorn.

Since November, we have all looked back and remembered our journey with Kilian and wonder what is next?

Notably, there have been significant changes for Kilian in recent years. His relationship with Emelie Forsberg, his life in Norway and the arrival of two children most certainly would make one assess and look ahead to a different future. But importantly, the planet, environment and going ‘Green’ has been a very important part of the ‘new’ Kilian. So, it is or was fair to assume that any new project would have ecology at its core.

Image ©kilianjornet from IG

We have been teased. On the 2nd of February Kilian posted a video of him running with his shoes blurred. He called it, ‘Testing.’

On February 14th he ran a 100-mile race, the Tjörnarparsen Ultra in Skåne, much of the attention was about what was on his feet.

February 23rd he announced his 2022 calendar: Pierra Menta, Zegama, Hardrock 100, Sierre Zinal and UTMB. It was a classic KJ year starting with skimo, a return to the iconic Zegama, Hardrock 100 which is maybe Kilian’s favourite race, the fast and athletic Sierre Zinal and the surprise, UTMB.

On March 5th, Kilian announced he would no longer partner with Suunto, a significant departure as Suunto and Salomon go hand-in-hand. On March 7th, he announced he had joined Coros.

IG teaser ©kilanjornet

Finally, March 21st we are teased with, ‘Want to find out what’s behind the pixels of the last few months?’ There were some clues in the post, notably the sign-up details linking to The Normal Company, S.L. Which in turn links to Mountainlife SL and again links to Lymbus who manage Kilian. One thing was for sure, links to Mallorca and the brand ‘Camper.’

Well now, that future is disclosed.

It seems a lifetime since November 30th but today, March 2022, Kilian announces his project.

NNormal – Kilian Jornet and Camper will blaze a new trail with NNormal.

A new outdoor sportswear brand, designed and tested between the coasts of Mallorca and the fjords of Norway. The brand’s first products will be launched this Fall. The name reflects the Norway/ Mallorca (Nor-way + Mal-lorca) – designed in Mallorca and tested in Norway.

Kilian speaks on the new project:

“Sharing the same values was a strong motivation to start this project. We agreed that we need a new way of thinking and acting in relation to our environment and outdoor activities… We want to be very honest on how we produce the equipment and on the role the company wants to play for the society and the environment. This means transparency and working to avoid overconsumption by building products that are durable.”

©jaime de diego

Notably, CEO of Camper, Miguel Fluxà commented:

“Building a new brand is always a very exciting adventure, although we are aware of the challenges involved… We are complementary partners of NNormal. Having the opportunity to conceive it with someone like Kilian is unique: to combine performance with personal responsibility strongly resonates with our DNA. He brings his strong product development expertise and unique vision of the outdoor world, while Camper brings innovation, shoemaking, and design know-how.”

The NNormal assortment will be launched in FW22 in Europe & North America via nnormal.com and specialist outdoor and running stores. The first drop will be limited, focusing on footwear, apparel and accessories for trail running and hiking. Kilian Jornet—the first ambassador of the NNormal team which will be revealed in the coming weeks—will wear them during this year’s race season.

Welcome to NNormal. Your Path, No Trace.

THOUGHTS

As mentioned above, until early March, Kilian’s new project was a ?. However, with research, it was possible to find out certain things and all my research led to Mallorca and Camper, so, it’s interesting to see that confirmed. Tofol Castanyer is ex Salomon and lives on Mallorca – no doubt instrumental in helping Kilian. As for the new team, it goes without saying Emelie Forsberg will join NNormal but it is not confirmed. There are also some other key names linked if you know where to look… For now, I will hold those names for fear of upsetting any future announcement. However, they can be seen here: https://www.nnormal.com/en/community/

As expected, a strong reference to respecting nature and ecology is paramount and the mission statement includes a reference to products that should be repairable, reusable, or repurposed or recyclable. Camper have already pioneered this with several projects. https://www.camper.com/en_GB/content/social_responsibility

The brand wishes to explore new ways to do things with product, sustainability, business, and social responsibility.

Of course, Kilian and his team will be able to pave a new way and lead by example. That will be relatively easy with Camper backing the project. Of course, the question mark will come how paving a new way still makes the business profitable and viable.

One thing is for sure, this new project will raise a few eyebrows. Camper and run shoes are not the obvious synergy. But Camper has the money and experience and no doubt, this partnership with Kilian must go back many months if not years. A shoe takes a long time to develop, especially a shoe that Kilian will endorse.

“All talk and no action equate to nothing. We know it’s not what we say, but what we do, that defines who we are.”

To conclude, the NNormal manifesto

We run for simple reasons and with a clear mind.

1. We blaze our own trail

Someone once said, we are our dreams… and if we don’t dream, we are no longer

alive. Our unique creative path drives us to give back to people and the planet.

2. Our home is outdoors

We’re passionate about outdoor sports—but above all we’re people. Reaching

the summit is also about the emotions and memories of everyone who’s come

with us on our journey.

3. We empower simplicity

Simplicity means that with less, we can do more. The simplest solution will be

the most efficient, but also the most difficult to imagine.

4. We take responsibility

In the outdoors, just as in life, you rely on the strength of your partners. We won’t

lose our way because there is no set way. We’re responsible for all our actions,

good or bad.

5. We act louder than we speak

All talk and no action equate to nothing. We know it’s not what we say, but what

we do, that defines who we are.

©jaime de diego

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Kilian Jornet Everest Speed Records – Questions Raised? And a response!

When Kilian Jornet doubled up on Everest in one week, the world looked on in wonder. Everest was the culmination of his ‘Summits of My Life Project’ and while he had some serious challenges on the Matterhorn, Denali, Aconcagua and so on, Everest was a whole new ball game.

In 2016 he didn’t summit due to bad weather and then in 2017 he seized the opportunity after a troublesome first ascent, he went again just days later.

I never questioned Kilian’s ascents.

I know the man, have spent time with him and he is 100% integrity. I have no question. So, am I impartial? I guess no.

I received an email in August from Dan Howitt who sent out documents to the media (pdf here) and he raised questions over Kilian’s Everest attempts. I discussed this doc with Kilian, looked at the evidence and while some valid points were made, I had no doubts over what Kilian had achieved.

Now, on everst1953.co.uk an article has appeared HERE. This article is as it says at the top, Submitted article by a person who wishes to be anonymous

UPDATE December 15th – The above article has been removed from everest1953 after the  web owner/ website moderator received threatening emails. This is completely unacceptable and is not in the spirit of any sport. It is important to allow free speech and allow people a voice. If that voice is correct or wrong is for us as individuals to decide. This article provided an opinion and below, Kilian has responded.

What is interesting, is that any journalist should ask questions. So I asked a question on the ‘anonymous’ journalist… to clarify the everest1953 site owner and I assume moderator, Colin Wallace, introduces the article, ‘Kilian Jornet Everest Speed Climbs’ in the ‘News’ as below:

I think it is good that questions are asked and raised over any record, FKT, or whatever it may be. But I also think that responses are required to provide perspective.

Like I said previously, I am a little biased, I have no question on Kilian’s claims. I emailed him, and in response he has provided the following (below) which will also be released via his agents, Lymbus.

In addition, Kilian has agreed to a full and in-depth interview this coming Friday December 15th and we will discuss the claims, Everest and all the details. This will be released on Talk Ultra podcast the same day.

KILIAN JORNET has responded accordingly with a PDF document

GPS track:

I was using Suunto Ambit Peak, to be sure that it recorded a maximum of hours (in altitude – cold, batteries last much less- some using garmin couls only recorded 4h! ) I was using mode GPS OK – It takes between 80-100h normally, so the gps it may records every 10’’:

1st Ascent: Everest Base Camp -Summit 26h31’ – ABC 36h

http://www.movescount.com/moves/move159990476 It is recorded all the uphill to summit and downhill to 8300m where battery die. Is a track for all the way. In the profile of altitude around 8600m you can see it is a straight 200m jump in altitude, maybe pressure decrease from day to night, and then continue climbing up 300 more meters.

2nd Ascent: ABC-Summit 17h – ABC -28h

http://www.movescount.com/moves/move159990614 I don’t know why it only recorded the downhill, but you can see from point 8750m and all the part in the downhill where I get lost in the N face and back to normal route. I did change watch from recording activity to navigation ( you can see where I get lost in the night so I use that mode to find way back safe) maybe that has something to do with the stop recording ascent and only the downhill.

Photos/ video:

Photos and film have non been public to have exclusive material for a coming film. Seb Montaz was filming with a drone from North col, so reaching an altitude of 7300m. I had a GoPro and filmed some parts during the day, and both sunsets (1st ascent before 2nd steep at 8600 and 2nd ascent at the beginning of summit pyramid at 8750). On the 1st summit I have filmed on the top (possible to see the flags just behind me on the dark. In 2nd summit I did not film on top, I was more concerned on safety and go down fast as weather was really bad, but I took 2 pictures of my watch so you can see where with the camera gps.

Here just some *screen shots from 2nd ascent between 8700m and 8790 at sunset and a bit higher at beginning of the night. All the GoPro shots are gps and time positioned so we can see the exact place they were shoot ( summit and all the other positions and hours).

*images withheld but available in due course (they have been retained to be exclusive for the film).

Witnesses:

1st ascent: On the way up I pass the Russian (7 summit club), Indian (Transcend), British and polish climber expedition going to or installing Camp 3, they prepare for sleeping and I continue up after a 10’ pause in a rock. On the summit I saw lights both on north side and south side coming up, north were higher. On the way down I pass some expeditions (Indian I think were the 1st ones) on the beginning of summit pyramid (after 3rd steep-8750) at around 1:30 – 2AM. It was some fresh snow there in the pyramid and to the summit so they saw my fresh snow tracks all the way to summit. Then I cross most part of the people (Russians, Polish, British…) were climbing 2nd steep when I was going down. In the climb I opened track on some snow so they could follow my tracks to the summit, as it was not strong wind this day. Sherpas from Indian expedition rapport at Base Camp sawing my fresh tracks to the summit, as I was alone to climb the night and they were the 1st to go up, in the final pyramid they could see my only tracks to the top.

2nd ascent: Going up I cross a climber ******** (name withheld but available)  and the Japanese expedition going down before camp 3 (8.350). Around 2nd steep at the afternoon I cross ******* and *********expedition going down (they film me). The last ones I cross was the Russian expedition just some meters higher (between 2nd and 3rd step). During the night it was strong wind and some snow fall, not any lights both on north or south on higher parts. On the way down I did not pass anybody since it was bad weather and much snow on the mountain and all expeditions was down to ABC.

Timmings:

I decided timings strategy based on my 15/06 training up to 8400m: http://www.movescount.com/ moves/move159296004 Going up from ABC (6300) to 8400 in 6h. And thinking on being on the summit around 3 PM (to use the warmest part of the day on the upper part, and since I wanted to try to minimize to meet lot of people on the higher part and the steeps ). On 1st attempt I was stomach sick so I slowed down a lot after 7800m, and became much late in the top, I was not planning night but since I feel good on not having edema and was not cold I never thought I was risking my life. On the 2nd attempt I was climbing better but fresh snow and bad weather (forecast was not accurate and became bad weather) and also I was more tired from previous days, it ended with summiting just after sunset.

Sat phone / fixed ropes and style:

I didn’t want to carry sat phone or radio, It was a choice of style for me. Climbing alone and with not any link to the base camp or “home” to be the sole on taking decisions up there, it was a matter of style.
For the fixed ropes, I don’t say I did an Alpine style climb since it is ropes in the route, but I choose to don’t use them to progress or safety. I was climbing without any harness or carabiner, I did climb the 1st and 2nd ladder on the sides, I took the 3rd one since the only creak to climb this part is behind (need to remove) the ladder. The 3rd step I climbed some meters to the left on a snow and ice slope, and go down the normal gully.

If it is a lack of images or communication from the expedition it was a matter of choice of style. I could had organized a big expedition, with sherpas on the route to have some assistance (safety and food, clothes) and some cameras with O2 waiting on some points and summit to have nice images. I could had a sat phone call from summit to “announce”. But the major goal of the expedition was far from that. It was for me to see if I was able to climb Everest with no external support (camps, porters, deposits, communication in the mountain…) and by myself (one push, no jumaring…) And to be able to climb as we do in close ranges (Alps, Colorado) in Himalayas, so low

budget (our expenses were 15.000e x person, all included) and doing activity in short time there and doing different ascents during this period. I had not problem to admit when I don’t summit, in Cho Oyu a 2 weeks before I just say I climb to the summit plateau, with no visibility I can not confirm if I actually reach the higher point or I just stand by some sides, In Everest is pretty easy to know if you reach the summit since is a small place at the end of the ridge.

********** names withheld but available

Catch up with Talk Ultra Podcast HERE on Dec 15th and listen to Kilian in his own words.