Kilian Jornet summits Mont-Blanc with a record smashing time under five hours.
From 11 July 2013, the offically recorded time for the fastest ascent & descent of Mont-Blanc is 4 hours 57 minutes!
This record is not for a one way ascent of the mountain, it includes the dangerous descent back down to Chamonix.
Jornet destroys the previous speed record, set 23 years ago, by Swiss Pierre-André Gobet on 21 July 1990, taking 14 minutes off Gobet's long standing record!
Departing at 04:46 with Matheo Jacquemoud, as the first light of day fell on the eglise St. Michel, the church in Chamonix that marks the start and end point of all Mont-Blanc summit attempts, the intrepid duo took the route frequently used in winter and spring by ski-mountaineers, by way of The Grand Mulet refuge.
After leaving Chamonix, they took the path to the entrance of the Mont-Blanc tunnel, avoiding the longer, road route. From the tunnel entrance, they took the steep track that climbs through the forest and out onto the high alpine terrain of rock and ice, by way of the Grand Mulet refuge, the Petit and Grand Plateau and the steep climb to the Bosses Ridge, past the Valot refuge and onto the long final slope up to the summit of Mont-Blanc.
They reached the summit of Mont-Blanc in a staggering time of 3 hours 33 minutes, covering a vertical distance of 3800m of ascent and a flat earth distance of 8000m. Their average ascent speed exceeded 1000m per hour.
They took the same route to return to Chamonix. The descent is much more dangerous than the ascent.
A runner's momentum from a slip easily becomes a fall and at these altitudes on very steep terrain, a fall can go a very long way and easily have fatal consequences. Just before reaching the Jonction, below the Grand Mulet refuge while traversing the massive Bosson Glacier, Matheo slipped. A small slip, but as he went off-balance, he fell into a creveasse.
Fortunately, the crevasse was about 6 meters deep. Kilian stopped to help Matheo climb out of the crevasse, but a leg injury sustained in the fall put an end to Matheo's record attempt. Matheo continued to decend slowly with the skier and cameraman, Vivian Buchez.
Kilian said, "Once Matheo was safely out of the crevasse, I decided to continue on alone."
Having lost time, he continued at a potential break-neck speed, arriving back at the church in 1 hour 24 minutes, from the top of Mont-Blanc!
No-one expected the young Catalan to be back in Chamonix in less than 5 hours!
History of Speed Records: Chamonix -> Mont Blanc Summit -> Chamonix
Matheo Jacquemoud 2013: 5h06m
Stephane Brosse and Pierre Gignoux 2003: 5h15m
Kilian Jornet in 2013: 4h57m
Pierre-André Gobet 1990: 5h11m