Jornet Takes Trail Running to Extreme on Mont Blanc
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The Catalonian Kilian Jornet, 25, one of the world’s best endurance runners, has speed soloed the long, technical and exposed Innominata (1,000m D V+)
Photo courtesy of (c)zooom.at/bergermarkus.com
The Catalonian Kilian Jornet, 25, one of the world’s best endurance runners, has speed soloed the long, technical and exposed Innominata (1,000m D V+) on the Italian side of Mont Blanc in a scant 6:17. The time is amazing on many levels, one being that Jornet is not known as a climber, another that he started from the church in Courmayeur at roughly 3,300 feet and ran the 12,000 feet to the summit of Mont Blanc, then ran over 12,000 feet down the French side arriving at the church in Chamonix in a total time of 8:43. To put it in perspective, he covered over 24,000 vertical feet, roughly 20 miles, crossed a long and heavily crevassed glacier, soloed (loose) rock up to 5.7 wide crack and sprinted up miles of snow and ice slopes, all solo.
Jornet’s astounding feat is on par with the recent Eiger speed ascents by Dani Arnold and Ueli Steck and fulfills the prophecy that the next level of technical speed climbers will come not from the world of climbing, but from ultrarunning. Ultrarunners, it seems, can quickly learn to climb, while climbers are not so adept at ultra unning, lacking the endurance. “Can you imagine what I could do if I had the physique of Kilian?” Steck told Rock and Ice.
Jornet, it should be noted, has one of the highest VO2 max levels ever recorded and, has won the grueling Ultra Trail Mont Blanc (UTMB) three times and holds the speed record for running up the non-technical Mount Kilimanjaro (5:22).
This past June, Jornet and Stephane Brosse attempted to cross the entire Mont Blanc Massif in two days when Brosse broke through a cornice and fell 2000 feet to his death.