Kilian Jornet’s Matterhorn FKT Interview

[Editor’s Note: On August 21, mountain athlete Kilian Jornet re-set the Matterhorn speed record. He ran, hiked, scrambled, and climbed from the small Italian town of Breuil-Cervinia, situated on the Matterhorn’s southwest side, to the Matterhorn’s 14,692-foot summit, and back down to Breuil-Cervinia again. The route was just over 10.8 miles long and involved 8,100 vertical feet of ascent and descent. In short, he left the church in the center of town, ran and hiked northward on a non-technical track for about six kilometers, and then scrambled to the Colle del Leone (what Kilian refers to as “Leone pass”). From the pass, it’s a due-east scramble and climb on the Cresta del Leone (what Kilian describes as the “ridge”), past the Rifugio Carrel (a hut used by Matterhorn climbers that Kilian references), over Pic Tyndall (a Matterhorn sub-peak that Kilian describes as “Tyndall”), and onto the summit. From the pass to the summit, the route is rated class 5.3 when climbers use the fixed ropes along the route. And, of course, Kilian descended mostly the way he came, taking a small deviation below “Leone pass.” It took him one hour, 56 minutes, 15 seconds for the ascent and a round-trip time of two hours, 52 minutes, two seconds. The previous record of three hours, 14 minutes, 44 seconds was set in 1995 by Italian Bruno Brunod.

We published two additional stories related to the Matterhorn the day we published this story: Matterhorn of the Gods, which talks of drawing inspiration from others, and a History of the Matterhorn.]

Kilian Jornet - Matterhorn - 2

Photo: Seb Montaz

iRunFar: On your Summits of My Life Facebook page, you were quoted as having said that you’ve had a love for the Matterhorn since you were young. How did that love come about? Why that mountain as opposed to some of the other iconic peaks in Europe or the world?

Kilian Jornet: The Matterhorn is very iconic in Europe. It has the perfect form, a perfect pyramid. Like Alpamayo, Ama Dablam, Shivling, K2, they’re mountains with an aesthetic. Then there is all the history about the first climbs, about its north face that I read when I was a child. And I had a big picture of the Matterhorn in my room until I was 12!

iRF: You were young, seven or eight I think, when Bruno Brunod set the previous record. If your relationship with the mountain came about as a child, when did you first learn about his record?

Jornet: When I started ski-mountaineering competition at 13, I learned about Bruno Brunod. Everybody talked about his record. It was in my mind always, like an impossible thought, and then a motivating thought.

Kilian Jornet - Matterhorn - 6

Photo: Seb Montaz

iRF: Your new record of 2:52:02 is a huge betterment of Brunod’s 3:14:44. You must have looked at your watch at interim points to see that you were gaining on his record. What was going through your mind?

Jornet: I was running around Bruno’s times until the Leone pass. I was thinking, I wanted to run faster in this not-technical, first part, to be more safe on the ridge later, but there I was just two or three minutes under the record. Then, I feel super good on the ridge. I was moving fluid, and I saw that I was winning minutes in the uphill. When I was at Tyndall, I saw I was 13 minutes under, and on the summit 15 minutes under. But I was afraid about the downhill. For me, I thought it was impossible to run under one hour. I was thinking it was possible to run down in one hour, 15 minutes. So I ran as fast as I could. I didn’t take risks on the ridge but I run always fluid, just in the limit of my confidence. At the Leone pass, I saw I was still winning time, so then I feel it was possible.

iRF: And, when you returned to the Cervinia church and stopped your watch, what was the first thought that went through your mind?

Jornet: I was happy. I think this is the most interesting thing I’ve done in my running career. And I was tired. I was at 100 percent all way up and down. Normally in races, I go at 80 percent, so it was super fun to give everything.

iRF: Your ascent rate was something like 4,000 feet per hour and your descent rate was over 8,600 feet per hour. Um, wow. I think I saw Brunod as being quoted on your Summits of My Life blog as having predicted your record very closely. What did you think you could do with his record? What was your plan?

Jornet: Yes, Bruno the day before, he tells me that he thinks I can do 2 hours, 52 minutes. I was thinking, he jokes! He knows me better than myself. My plan here was not a plan. In a lot of races, you can play strategy, that minds go slowly, and just push in some moments. Here the plan was to give everything and see the chrono at the finish. I had in mind Bruno’s times and I was looking at them. But I was thinking it would be possible to climb faster to Leone pass and then lose time to his record on the ridge, and then lose more time to his record on the technical downhill.

Kilian Jornet - Matterhorn - 4

Photo: Seb Montaz

iRF: What is it like to have a legend like Bruno Brunod cheering and rooting for you to break his record?

Jornet: It’s really inspiring. He is a nice, nice person, really humble and he is huge! He was there some days before to share some informations, and the day of the attempt with his kids to cheer running up and down! We were talking a lot of his races, when he was 10 minutes behind [Ricardo] Mejía or [Matt] Carpenter and he wins by more than five minutes after the downhill. I’m really happy that he was there, to share this with him. His record was inspiring and motivating me for 15 years to keep training and racing.

iRF: The technicality of this Matterhorn route is very low as there are fixed ropes that negate most areas with technical ‘issues.’ I think the ‘risky’ part of your record was not in actual mountain conditions but in your ascent and descent rates. Especially your descent rate is so fast. You said in an interview with the Italian newspaper Aosta Sera that you feel like you didn’t have to take many risks for that speed. There’s a video from bystander Martin Mikloš at the Rifugio Carrel on YouTube that shows you slipping once while holding a fixed rope. What was the level of risk you decided was an acceptable level? What was too much? Like, were you willing to take a hard but non-life-threatening fall or did you manage your risks even lower than that?

Jornet: The route is less technical than Innominata Ridge, for example. It’s a third to fourth-class climbing and then the ropes. But the difficulty is that you need to downclimb, too, and fast, fast. Is not a difficult route, but it’s an exposed route. You can run most parts, or jump in lot of parts, but if you slide or if you don’t put your feet where you want, you die. Where there are ropes it’s not a problem, because if you slide (I slid once, just before the hut) you have the rope, so you can run fast. But there are just seven or eight ropes, the rest is without. I was running fast but always feeling in my comfort zone, close but in the line of my safety.

Kilian Jornet - Matterhorn - 7

Photo: Seb Montaz

iRF: Where did you feel the strongest? And, were there any moments where you doubted yourself?

Jornet: I feel not strong but fluid and fast on the ridge, and all the way down. The doubting moments was the uphill until Leone pass.

iRF: According to an interview with Desnivel.com, you and Brunod talked in detail about his record and your attempt tactics. What did you talk about?

Jornet: In this kind of record attempt, it is not much about tactic. It is to give everything. It is also a lot about routes, shortcuts, how to glide in the snow, where to drink from rivers. So we talked about that. He gave me all the informations about his record.

iRF: I understand you climbed in the afternoon so that fewer climbers would be on the route. Did you encounter others and have to navigate around them?

Jornet: Yes, I started at 3 p.m. It was perfect. I just passed three or four teams and no one on the mountain, just the mountain guides of Cervinia to validate and to help me in case.

iRF: There’s a pretty iconic image by Seb Montaz of you touching the Matterhorn’s summit cross. What did that moment feel like? Elation? Were you thinking about the descent? A combination of feelings?

Jornet: I felt a bit relieved to have some extra minutes on the record to take more confidently the downhill. I was happy to break the uphill time and excited to start to have fun on the downhill.

iRF: I notice from video and images of your outing that are now on the Internet, you didn’t have a jacket when you started, but you did have a jacket right after you passed the hut on your ascent. And you had one at the finish. Also, in these images, there are folks all over the mountain who are kind of pointing the way in a very general sense. Did you stash your jacket somewhere? Were those people on the mountain there just for you?

Jornet: I put a jacket in the hut day the before when I climbed. On the way down, I took it with me because I didn’t want to climb to get it the day after. The people on the mountain were mountain guides and Guarda di Fianza. They were there to control the record (chrono, checking the times, seeing where I was), to ask other climbers to wait if I came to a rope, and in case I had an accident. They was super enthusiastic and helpful. Here in Cervinia there are the guides to validate and check the record. They did this also for Valerio [Bertoglio], Bruno…

Kilian Jornet - Matterhorn - 5

Photo: Seb Montaz

iRF: After setting this record, you took a couple easy days before racing and winning the Matterhorn Ultraks race. Were you tired on race day? Were you enlivened by what had happened earlier in the week?

Jornet: I was tired in general, but in good shape. So I ran easy and went for the win in the last kilometers.

iRF: Which Salomon shoe did you wear for the record? How were they different from the production model?

Jornet: I was with a Sense with a Speedcross sole, with a softer rubber.

Kilian Jornet - Matterhorn - 3

Photo: Seb Montaz

Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Senior Editor, the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running,' and a Contributing Editor at Trail Runner magazine. The converted road runner finished her first ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places. For more information on Meghan and her adventures, please visit her personal website.

There are 47 comments

    1. SageCanaday

      I agree in going "just enough to win" at some races as you can't go 100% all the time and race so much….the recovery would be impossible! (at least for me). That being said I'm usually going 97% to 100% in every race as you can only manage so much pain and take so many risks on the downhill ("risks" for me being breaking an ankle of course rather than falling of a real mountain cliff) But I think mentally you can only take so much in a given season or career.

      That being said, look at Transvulcania in 2012 or WS100 when he got dehydrated and was 3rd (still super impressive showings of course). Surely those were 100% efforts?! I think it is interesting to call Pikes Peak a "flat road" and consider it to not be a true "Sky Running race" but yet not come even close to Matt Carpenter's record. Very interesting to see what this guy could do in a road marathon.

      1. Daniel Westrate

        I think the reason he didn't come close to Carpenter's record is because the race was in fact a "flat road" to him. It wasn't that he was calling it easy per say, more that he was saying it would actually be harder for him to break the record because it was so "flat."

      2. David T

        If KJ was not inspired or pushed it is not surprising that he did not match MC's record. Also I see expecting KJ, on his first attempt, to match or beat MC's record as being disrespectful to MC's record and the effort he put in to get it. Here are some additional stats:

        KJ nearly matched the time MC posted in his first PPM when he was 24 (the same age as KJ in his first PPM last year). KJ was 2 minutes slower.

        Some additional stats: KJ ran a 3:40:26. MC has run the PPM 15 times with an average time of 3:44:10. KJ’s time beat all but 6 of MC’s times. I think this shows KJ’s potential and also makes his time a bit more respectable as I think it seemed disappointing to some. MC, like KJ, often said that he could have run a faster time if he had been pushed.

        Like I said the talk about KJ and MC’s record is crazy and was disrespectful to MC, his record, and the years of hard work he put into setting that record. No one is going to touch it, especially their first time trying.

        Finally, surely when KJ said he puts in 80% effort he is speaking on average. I'm sure he has given more and less than that at times. I would not take it too literal.

        1. Ben Nephew

          I don't know about how discussion about someone breaking a record is disrespectful, but the point about Matt's dedication to that race, most importantly the number of times he ran it is key. Those days when both the weather and your own conditioning and health are ideal so rare, running a race many times is huge advantage in terms of simple probability. Given those advantages, I don't think you can really compare Matt's time to someone who doesn't live at altitude, train on the course every day, and race it repeatedly. As others have mentioned, Matt's records have been beat at other races that he not focus on so intensely.

          While it was unlikely that Kilian was going to set the PPM record on his first run, he has done other races and projects where there were records held by champion runners that spent a lot of time on the course, and he broke those records by large margins.

      3. Lstomsl

        I took 80% to mean that in an ultra you just can't sprint for 5 or 10 or 20 hours.  The Matterhorn, for him at least, was short enough to just go all out.  I think at transvulcania 2012 he only had like a week of running in his legs after skimo season.  He did come back and win it the next year as he did at western states in 2011.  Kudos to him for learning from the past.  As for pikes peak I think I remember him saying he wasn't trying to break the record just win the race.  I believe he had recently "won" Speedgoat and set a (very temporary) FKT on the grand teton so he couldn't have been completely fresh or as specifically trained and focused for PP as Matt Carpenter was.  I also take "flat road" to mean it wasnt technically difficult even if it is steep, and thus maybe less interesting to him given where he seems to be heading. Anyhow I think he's definitely not unbeatable as a runner as you and others have broken his course records or beat him head to head.  He seems to be heading off into his own direction rather than focusing on running ultras and not many people are following him (for good reason).  I just hope he lives long enough to keep learning from his mistakes and showing us what is possible.  Some of what he is doing these days is just crazy…..

        1. David T

          Agreed with everything you wrote.

          I would also be very surprised to see KJ win UROC. Definitely not his type of race and he has certainly not been doing any course specific training.

          Someone like Sage who has excellent leg speed, who has been doing course specific training and who has UROC as a goal race stand a much better chance of winning.

          1. SageCanaday

            Agree on all accounts with what you and Lstomsi said (also, thanks for the compliment although I'm not sure leg speed will play much of a factor over 62 miles in what are still mostly mountain trails at altitude). I'm trying as much as I can to take advantage of living only 90min away from the UROC course though!

            Of course some of the interview content and context are probably lost in translation (thank goodness almost all Euro runners speak several languages..including English!) "80%" or not, whoever gets second to him in a race giving their all may not be too pleased to hear a number like that.

            He will be tough at UROC even if doing more climbing instead of traditional running…as will Dakota and many other runners. I may be a little biased because of my road/track background, but Matt C's ascent on PPM (and overall time for that matter) is flat out amazing…but to also have a 2:18 road marathon, a 59min run at Mt. Washington and the record at the Leadville 100…that is range.

            1. Lstomsl

              I didn't know KJ was coming to UROC. Very cool. So Sage has beaten Tim Olsen head to head at a 100k and broke KJs CR at Speedgoat (I'd say that indicates some range). And Dakota broke one of Matt Carpenters ultra CRs this year. It's going to be an interesting race….

              And I just saw Johnson Cruz from Nicaragua is on the list. It will be I treating to see what he can do….

            2. JP

              I think yeah, Kilian's 80% is a bit faster than everyone elses, but also he may have visited nooks and crannies of the pain cave that not many other people have, thus raising his idea of his maximum and also relatively raising his idea of 80% of that maximum.

              The WS100 and TV races mentioned were, as I understood it, problems with decision making/course knowldege regarding dehydration and heat management.I know that those decisions ARE ultra running, but he is talking about exertion, innit?

              I'd be interested to see if he could stay awake running a whole road marathon, too ;)

            3. Molly's dad

              Sage I really don't think that anyone (other than yourself) would take offence to his comments. Surely you can understand that running at 97% max heart rate (as you quote) for the course of an Ultra is just not possible, running at 80% is….

              Im really looking forward to the competition at UROC, as it seems you have really have a Bee in your bonet about KJ, but I guess to get to the level you have ahieved you have to be a bit of a sore looser to inspire you to do better next time.

              Wondering how he would do in a road marathon is the epitome of your attitude, I think KJ has been quoted as saying he would be terrible or words to that effect, so I am sure you could beat him and feel a bit better about yourself

  1. Alex

    Were the same fixed ropes in place when Bruno Brunod set his record, in quantity and location?

    It would be interesting to see what Kilian's time would be without using the fixed lines.

    Obviously the concept of a mountain FKT is quite subjective, and this ascent of the Matterhorn is a great example. So many variables considering routes and fixed gear.

    How many readers think that there should be an asterisk next to FKT's where fixed gear was used,? Even though it may not be necessary for him to use such gear, since I'm sure Kilian could manage to climb 5.3 under his own power and without the assistance of yarding on a rope like a middle school teen climbing the rope ladder in the gymnasium.

    Intimacy and contact with the actual rock is where it all began.

    1. Meghan Hicks

      Alex,

      Great question on the fixed ropes and their history. I'd love to know the answer, too.

      To be clear, climbers have rated the route Kilian climbed as 5.3 with the fixed ropes and chains, in summer conditions. The route without using the fixed equipment is rated as a bit more technical, I think something in the 5.4 to 5.5 range. And then, of course, under off-summer conditions, the route's classification changes again due to ice and snow.

      1. Alex

        Meghan,

        Yes, if you still have contact with Bruno or Kilian it would be interesting to know just how much the fixed gear on the route has changed since their respective ascents.

        I agree with Matt's comment below, on running the route "better" and not just "faster", as well as actually climbing the rock that is there, rather than ropes, fixed lines, etc.

        It seems Kilian, and many other FKT runners, have likely had experience with both 'pure' and 'assisted' mountain FKT's. It would be interesting to compile some interviews with such athletes to dig a bit deeper into this topic and how these ascents compare to one another in terms of satisfaction, difficulty, risk, popularity, etc.

        1. David T

          I don't agree with Matt's comments (and certainly not his tone), but I do agree with Alex that a deeper discussion of the issues around FKTs, ethics, standards, history, etc. would be a great contribution.

    2. Matt

      Too often, FKT is claimed without any consideration of style or the history of the route.

      I know that time/speed is a critical aspect of running for many, but how about running the route 'better' and not just 'faster'?

      Sadly, I see this entire endeavor as a marketing campaign for Salomon and find little inspiration in Killian's contrived exploits. Amazing athlete, but the story is a bit flat.

      1. Daniel Westrate

        He said in the interview he's been thinking about the record since he was 13. I'm not sure that "contrived" would be the right word, in this particular instance at least.

      2. David T

        What do you mean by contrived? Just curious.

        Also many people have attempted to set new FKTs on the routes Kilian has been working on. Kilian isn't the only one trying. He is just the only one succeeding. This is treated as a very big deal in those areas.

      3. Ben Nephew

        If by contrived you are referring to the massive productive involved in some of his projects, I can see your point. I bet Kilian would agree that his GR20 and Tahoe Rim runs were too big, and it seems he is now staying away from that type of production with his latest runs on Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. With regards to the ropes, I wonder if he had enough risk earlier in the year on Mont Blanc? He seems to be focusing on routes that are challenging but do not involve extreme risk.

        1. Lstomsl

          I would classify the Matterhorn run as extreme risk. I may be wrong as I only saw a few minutes of video but I didn't see him clip in to the rope and I don't believe he could have moved so fast if he did. If he had slipped he still would have had to catch himself by his grip and at the rate he was moving with most likely sweaty palms there would be a reasonable likelihood that he might not catch himself. Most rock climbers are ALWAYS tied into the rope in such a way that if they passed out and lost complete consciousness the rope would still catch them. If Kilian had let go of the rope he would have fallen to his death. That is a big difference.

          1. Ben Nephew

            So would I, but I think people like Kilian have a different range of risk levels. Climbers will sometimes chose to face extreme risks to climb a route in a particular style. Kilian chose to use the ropes. It's still risky, but not as risky for him as for most of us.

      4. Alex

        Matt,

        Agreed. Without the use of fixed gear I feel there is a certain level of respect upheld and maintained for the mountain itself as well as the pioneers who first climbed it.

        The world is full of amazing athletes testing their limits, Alex Honnold (Google him) is a rock climber and free solo climber of amazing caliber, if he could run half as fast as Kilian he could set some unprecedented running FKT's.

        1. Lstomsl

          I understand the sentiment but are we going to turn running into synchronized swimming or gymnastics?  With judges giving subjective and biased opinions?  There is plenty of that in the climbing world.  We are runners and its about an objective stopwatch.  Of course that is one of the problems with an FKT as there are no hard an fast rules but if Bruno Brunod doesn't have a problem with Killian c,aiming the record why should we?

          I definitely agree there are some crazy fit folks in the climbing world.  I remember when Alex Lowe showed up at the Bridger Ridge run back when it was a small grassroots event and he blew all the runners out of the water.  No doubt in my mind he could have been a world class ultra-runner, especially back then, if he had focused on it. Alex Honnold surely must have insanely high aerobic fitness with the stuff he's done in Yosemite.  Its interesting to see the two worlds converging.  It will be a fascinating few years for mountain endurance sport.

    3. Lstomsl

      I did some "trails" in Patagonia that had fixed ropes but I actually felt safer not using them on the ascents.  I had no idea how long they were there, or how good the ropes were.  Also hanging onto a rope doesn't really make you safer unless you are tied into it, like you would be rock climbing.  You are just hanging on to a rope rather than a rock.  That may make it easier but not safe.  If your hands are not used to hanging onto a rope it can be quite uncomfortable/difficult and if you cant hold on you will still fall off.

      As for the validity of the FKT I don't know what the answer is, but as the previous record holder was involved and seemed encouraging, approving, etc. that is good enough to me.  I am sure this question will come up again when he runs up Everest.  Will he use the fixed ropes there?  Or the ladders over the khombu icefall?  I bet pretty much everyone who climbs the south col does, except for the first sherpas who actually set the ropes and ladders…..

  2. Joe

    I think the way he was climbing the ropes in that video was stupid. He wasn't actually climbing the mountain, he was just climbing the ropes that were ON the mountain. I don't think he should have relied on the ropes like that, and neither should anyone else claiming to "climb" a mountain. That is just rope climbing. BFD, anyone can climb a rope like that (maybe not as fast, but that's not my point).

    I've encountered a similar scenario personally in the hourglass of Little Bear Peak in Colorado. After watching my friends climb the rope up that section, I climbed the rock. So to me, I'm the only one who climbed the mountain that day.

    1. Alex

      Word.

      The reality is many Euro mountains, especially the popular ones, sport these types of fixed lines and gear. What we need is a mountain running hero with purist ethics to best other FKT's without the use of said gear…

    2. Mark

      Well…, I think the way you tried to comment is "stupid". Showing respect is not a bad thing, especially when it comes to world class athletes like Kilian. Enjoy your Little Bear Peak.

    3. Lstomsl

      I will just say I would be very careful about just using ANY rope you happen to come across on a mountain unless you know who placed it there and when and what it's purpose is. Anchors can loosen with freeze and thaw. Ropes weaken with use, falls, and sun. It's one thing if you know they are being used frequently and maintained like on Everett or the Matterhorn but just some random rope you come across? Better to stick to the rock…

  3. Lucia

    Hi Sage, you must really have UROC on your mind :)

    with utmost respect for you – come on, KJ just accomplished something truly amazing and wonderful, and somehow you pick on one comment and turn the whole discussion around about UROC and how he supposedly will "beat" everybody. And the reference to the two ill fated races where he did not win seems just a trifle petty, sorry.

    KJ wasn't putting other racers in the sport of ultra running down, he was just talking of his own effort, how he happy it must have made him to truly go all out and push himself

    (he really must have been tired if he preferred to run down with the jacket, rather than climb back to get it the next day :))

    He is always extremely humble and respectful of other athletes, I think, nature, and people in general.

    Now, I agree with you, in a different context, the same comment might have sounded smug and conceited. I have personally watched an interview with a road marathon winner who was saying she was just "using it as a training run, no big deal, running casually, stopping to have a beer", I am sure it wasn't very respectful to the lady who got second to her and was right there, and clearly had given it her all. It was tactless and classless.

    But, in this case….. totally different. Amazing accomplishment! KJ has every reason to be happy.

  4. Buzz

    The record is the fastest time between two points and Kilian crushed it.

    People have been going fast in the Alps for decades, so this course is very established – I would guess KJ started and finished at the same stone as Bruno did, did touch the same cross on top, and had reliable witnesses for both – so whatever the watch says is the truth.

    Fixed lines allow for never-ending armchair discussion, but have no relevance to mountain runners or this FKT. These lines have been there in some form for longer than anyone can remember, are part of the route, and are accepted as such – that is the ethic, and while everyone certainly can and should make their own choices, when it come accepted standards this is not for us to debate any more than we should convince them all to speak English. In this case, to question using the hardware would be like saying it isn't "pure" unless it is barefoot, or naked, or whatever one's personal values happen to be.

    Meghan conducted an excellent and very worthwhile interview, but I need to correct an insertion she made: "The technicality of this Matterhorn route is very low as there are fixed ropes that negate most areas with technical ‘issues.’" Whoa! Sorry, but I have to presume this is coming from someone who hasn't been there. Take a look at that photo … non-technical? Few people reading this Post are capable of climbing the Matterhorn without a guide and w/o being belayed, using all the fixed lines one wants, and to run it at that speed is one the most impressive athletic feats I have heard of in my life. I've run mountains all over the world, and when I was hiking up to do the Hornli Ridge (the Swiss side), the sight made me gasp … I craned my neck up twice a minute every minute … I've done harder mountains, but the Matterhorn deserves it's reputation.

    Lastly, I interviewed Bruno Brunod years ago (Trail Runner Mag wasn't interested in publishing). Kilian is giving him full respect now, without which few Yanks would have ever heard of him, and which is a wonderful, wonderful sign of Kilan's class … Bruno was The Man … he deserves everything anyone ever says about him. I was told when Bruno suddenly appeared sprinting into the town square in Cervinia 18 years ago, people started openly weeping … no cell phones, they didn't know what was happening up there … they didn't care about the record; they were just happy to just see he hadn't fallen to his death.

    The Stories continue … they make our sport … thank you very much iRunFar for sharing this one.

    1. David T

      +1

      So perfect, Buzz.

      It should be pointed out that most people do use a belay on this route despite the fixed line (both fixed and running belays). So yeah, it is technical (this is coming from a climber).

  5. Buzz

    Although the 80% number is probably quite underestimated, Kilian's statement should be taken at face value. The previous few years he hasn't been fully engaged in races, but he's very keen on the classic mountain routes of the world, and so he puts forth a total effort on those. The Matterhorn is an excellent example – he went all-out – and it showed.

    That being said, one beauty of running is the scoring is so simple and fair to all: who gets their first and how much time it takes. There is no panel of judges holding up scorecards. Matt ran 3:16:19 at Pikes Peak – everyone else has been much slower – as long as he traveled the same course, could've should've would've doesn't matter much.

  6. Bjorn F

    So what about all the folks who summit Half Dome by the cables?

    Do they climb the mountain?

    How about the via ferratas all over the Dolomites?

    The FKT is for a route… If the route features fixed gear, fine. If the route does not feature that gear, and the ropes would have been placed there for this attempt, not fine.

    I am sure he could have chosen a harder line on the mountain too…

    He didn't. It would have been a different FKT…

  7. lstomsl

    Maybe IRF would be interested in publishing your interview with Bruno, given all the recent interest? I know I would be interested in reading it…..

  8. Jason C

    Well said Buzz. Sadly, I'm not sure some of these guys know who you are. Would love to read the interview and anything else you like to contribute. A few weeks ago I had some really neat talks with Marshall about your adventure racing days and the UD packs. Good stuff!

  9. Jason C

    Meghan,

    You gave this story the attention it deserved in spades. Three separate posts from facets overlapping yet not intersecting nor overshadowing. For me though, a picture is still priceless in an economy of words. Seb's images are inspiring and lure my soul back to the high country.

  10. Jan Triska

    It is an amazing accomplishment and will stand as testimony to Jornet’s abilities, as much as his victories in various ultra trail races.
    Judging from the photos, parts of the Matterhorn are technical and extremely exposed. Most folks, even from mountaineering backgrounds (I do mountaineering ascents from time to time), we would be roped up or would at least be carrying an ice axe and have heavy duty boots. To tackle these hard and varying surfaces, flawlessly, without slippage, in trail running shoes…yes, that is the genius. Kilian must have almost no fear of heights.
    Now that he has completed the Summits of My Life project, I hazard to say that the Matterhorn speed traverse is the most mind-blowing of Jornet’s summits. Denali and Everest are much larger, they’re snowy and icy and altitude is an issue…but he wasn’t running up them, he was speed-hiking and climbing at a high rate. On Denali, he skied back down. But on Matterhorn, there was a lot of actual running, hopping, moving like a mountain goat. Unreal.

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