Kilian Jornet has completed two amazing summits of Mount Everest in just one week and without using additional oxygen.
On May 22, the Salomon sponsored Spanish athlete climbed the world’s highest peak alone and in one single climb. He did not use additional oxygen or fixed ropes.
He reached the top of the 8,484m mountain in a new “fastest known time” of 26 hours from the Everest Base Camp (5,100m).
On this occasion, Kilian didn’t complete the descent to the Everest Base Camp. Due to stomach cramps he descended to the Advanced Base Camp (6,500m) before the final descent.
Five days later, Kilian reached the summit again via the North Face of Everest. He left Advanced Base Camp at 6,500m. He climbed to the summit on the “normal” route passing the three high altitude camps usually used by climbers. This route takes most people an average of four days.
After the second summit on May 27, Kilian said: “I’m so happy to have made the summit again. Today I felt good although it was really windy so it was hard to move fast.
“I think that summiting Everest twice in one week without oxygen opens up a new realm of possibilities in alpinism and I’m really happy to have done it.”
Kilian’s summits project
Kilian’s two climbs are part of the Summits of My Life project, which, since 2012, has seen him travel around the world to try to establish records on the planet’s most iconic mountains.
He began with Mont Blanc in the French Alps in 2012 and since then has scaled Cervino in Europe, Denali in North America and Aconcagua in South America.
During the Everest challenge he was accompanied by the expedition’s mountain guide and video cameraman Sébastien Montaz-Rosset, another Salomon athlete.
After meteorologists forecast a window of good weather on May 20-21, Jornet decided to make May 20 the day to begin the challenge and left the Base Camp at 5,100m by the ancient monastery of Rombuk. The aim was to get to the summit in a single climb, without oxygen or fixed ropes and with minimal equipment.
Finally, after reviewing the conditions for the different routes, he opted for the traditional one.
When Jornet set off at 10pm local time (+5: 45 GMT), ahead of him lay 15.2km of glacial moraine before he arrived at the Advanced Base Camp (ABC). This part of the climb took 4h35 and he arrived at ABC at 2:35am. He rested for two hours before continuing.
He explained: “It’s important to be fresh when you reach 8,000m if you want to reach the summit. I knew that in the first stage, I had to conserve energy for the final stretch.”
After leaving some of the technical equipment at the ABC, he set off for the most technical part of the climb at 4:30am.
At 6:30am he was at Field 1 (7,000m) and had been on the move for eight hours. From there he climbed to Field 2, between 7,600m and 7800m, where Seb Montaz was waiting for him. Montaz was there to film him during the ascent and then return to Advanced Base Camp to report on the situation.
Meanwhile, Kilian continued to climb. At around 7,500m he started to feel weak and had a bad stomach ache. As a result, he decided to rest for 15 minutes in Field 3 (8,300m).
He said later: “I didn’t feel well and I was making slow progress. I had to stop every few metres and I had cramps and was vomiting. In spite of everything, I felt all right at altitude and decided to continue.”
From there, Kilian climbed the highest section and arrived at the summit at midnight. It was a clear night, without clouds or wind.
He said: “Reaching the summit of Everest without fixed ropes isn’t something you’d do every day. I saw a fantastic sunset and finally reached the summit at midnight. I was alone but I saw the lights of expeditions setting off on their ascent both on the north and south faces. I started to descend right away so as to get to the ABC as soon as possible.”
However, he rested again in Field 3 before beginning the final part of the descent and arrived at the ABC at 12h15 local time, 38 hours after he began.
As he felt unwell, he decided to end the attempt at the Advanced Base Camp rather than descend to Base Camp as he’d originally intended.
His second Everest summit five days later was via the North Face of Everest and in very windy conditions.
Check out his kit list for the Everest summits.