Meet the Superhuman Who's About to Attempt the Fastest Ever Ascent of Mt. Everest

Can Kilian Jornet break the fabled eight-hour mark?

By Reuben Brody

 
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29 July 2016

Spaniard Kilian Jornet must be part mountain goat.

The professional trailer runner/mountain climber already lays claim to the fastest ascents of Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro and Denali. And right now, he’s in the Alps, preparing for the last rung on the ladder: Everest.

When you watch him run up rocky mountains, Jornet appears to do it with the ease most of us would associate with running downhill. But he’s not. He's scaling slick rock. He's sliding down snowbanks. He's essentially cruising up Mother Nature's Stairmaster with the power ramped all the way up. It’s a sight to behold.

At nearly 29,029 feet, Everest is by far the highest mountain Jornet has ever climbed (or anyone, for that matter). The ascent will be the final piece of a biopic film, dubbed Summits of My Life, that he's been working on since 2012.

The current record, set by Nepalese sherpa Pemba Dorje in 2004, is eight hours and 10 minutes.

He'll begin his climb of Everest's North Side — the lesser traveled route, which he’s selected to avoid slower climbers — some time after August 7th, when he and his team will hed to Tibet's Rongbuk monastery to set up camp and wait for an ideal window for weather conditions. They'll be there around eight weeks, depending on the timing of the attempt.

Jornet is not taking oxygen or ropes so as to keep light, and will be accompanied by Jordi Tosas, an experienced mountaineer in his own right, and cameramen Sébastien Montaz-Rosset and Vivian Bruchez.

We'll be following his journey, and wish him and his team the best of luck.

Stay tuned.

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