Kilian Jornet records the fastest round trip of Mont Blanc

Kilian Jornet records the fastest round trip of Mont Blanc

Young Spaniard Kilian Jornet makes a mad sprint up and down Mont Blanc (4,810 mts/15,781 ft) in 4 hours 57 minutes, straight into the record books

People often set goals in their lives. You set a goal to drop a habit, to achieve a grade, to get that promotion and every time you begin setting them, you’re advised to ‘keep it real’. That’s it- keep it real and ‘don’t expect too much out of yourself’! But 25-year-old Spanish ski alpinist champion and trail runner, Kilian Jornet challenged that- when he started the project ‘The Summits of my Life’, he wasn’t thinking ‘real’- he was thinking big, and a year and some challenges later, he’s living it up.

On 11th July, 2013, Jornet set the world record for the fastest ascent and descent of the Mont Blanc from Chamonix, France in a record time of 4 hours and 57 minutes.

Jornet’s ‘The Summits of My Life’ challenge is all about taking on the highest peaks in the world with as little material/ equipment as possible. The core values of his project are humility, effort, respect for nature and friendship. The climbs will be as self sufficient as possible and are about finding a 'bond between man and mountain'.

This climb and descent on Mont Blanc marked the first challenge in the second year of this four year long project. A climb in Elbrus (Russia) and Matterhorn (Italy) follows in the later part of 2013.

Jornet started the climb at Chamonix with his friend and French skier Matheo Jaquemond in the church square of Chamonix and climbed to the summit following the historic route of the Grands Mulet.

We climbed fast and steady until we reached the Mont Blanc summit!”, says Matheo.

Upon leaving Chamonix, the athletes started the climb via Jonction, then crossed the Grand Mulet and passed the Vallot mountain refuge, roped together for safety and reached the Mont Blanc summit in a time of 3 hours 30 minutes.

summits of my life

Then started the thrill run downhill! Both athletes started to make their way down towards Chamonix. Unfortunately, while descending, Jaquemond suffered a fall and injured his leg and had an intuition that he’d be unable to continue at the desired speed to break the record and so, he and Jornet decided that the latter would go on and run ahead.

Jornet reached the church square in 4 hours 57 minutes, covering a total distance of 32 kilometers and a total altitude climb of 13,123 feet (4,000 meters), breaking the previous record of 5 hours 11 minutes by Pierre Andre Gobet in 1990. According to him, it had been a good day for the climb and he had enjoyed the experience.

We knew that the weather conditions were good and that it was a good day for the attempt. We've had a constant pace during the ascent. I had been roped with Mathéo so we could hold onto each other and thus avoid the crevasses. On the descend Mathéo fell down and couldn’t keep up on the final stretch. It has been a great experience anyway!

Movie-maker  Sébastien Montaz-Rosset filmed the climb and plans to capture the whole journey in four films. Last year’s challenge is documented in ‘A Fine Line’, which is all about the first year of this life changing project and the journey across the spectacular peaks of The Alps. Séb Montaz and Vivien Bucher, who was responsible for safety issues during the climb, started earlier so that they could go ahead and wait for the athletes to climb up and record the whole journey. They then descended with Matheo.

Jornet hopes to complete this project with a historic attempt on the highest peak of the world, Mount Everest. No, he’s definitely not ‘keeping it real’, but then what is actually real until it has actually been realized?

Without getting tangled in complicated philosophies of what's real and what's not, it would be right to conclude that Kilian Jornet’s project is true to the values that he firmly believes in and is greatly inspirational. The Outdoor Journal wishes him the very best in his attempt en route his goals. All said and done, it's been proven that when setting goals, it’s better to expect the best out of yourself.

Image © Sébastien Montaz-Rosset

Slider Image © Chamonix