Kilian Jornet’s Epic Pyrenees Adventure: 177 Peaks, 300 Miles, 8 Days

Kilian Jornet completes 485-kilometer (302 miles) route through the Pyrenees.

By on October 11, 2023 | Comments

Many mountain sports fans were sorry to hear of Kilian Jornet’s recent injury, which took him out of action for much of this year’s racing season. Happily, he has confirmed his return to full health in a very Jornet-esque fashion — by completing a challenge to summit all 177 peaks over 3,000 meters in the Pyrenees in a single push.

The iconic mountain range straddles the border between Spain and France, and separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of mainland Europe. It’s also a special range for Jornet, since it’s where he grew up.

Kilian Jornet - Pyrenees - nighttime

Kilian Jornet during a nighttime section of his Pyrenees traverse. All photos: NNormal/David Ariño

The route, which Jornet covered in just over eight days total, took in 485 kilometers (302 miles), in excess of 43,000 meters (131,200 feet) of elevation gain, and over 155 hours of moving time. He began his journey from the base of Frondella peak on Monday, October 2, and descended the final peak, Pica d’Estats, on the morning of Tuesday, October 10. Afterward, Jornet described the challenge as an “unforgettable experience” and “one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”

Of the idea’s inception, he said: “This year I wanted to participate in some races, but it wasn’t possible due to an injury. After recovering, I began to consider various projects and thought of linking the peaks higher than 3,000 meters in the Pyrenees. I had this idea in mind but wasn’t sure if it would be a feasible challenge or pure madness. After consulting and seeking advice from people very familiar with the Pyrenees routes, I decided to do it.”

Kilian Jornet - Pyrenees - mountainscape

Kilian Jornet crosses a ridgeline in the Pyrenees.

For Jornet, who grew up in a mountain shelter in the Pyrenees, the challenge was largely about getting back to his roots. He recalled, “I had climbed these peaks when I was 13 but did not remember them, making this a visually intense experience.” Some of the iconic peaks visited on his journey included Balaitus, Garmo Negro, Vignemale, Cilindro, Mont Perdut, Pic Long, Pic de Posets, Punta de Lliterola, Aneto, Sayó, Montcalm, and Pica d’Estats. Jornet also incorporated a section of cycling to link up the peaks.

You can look back on Jornet’s social media, his brand NNormal’s social media, and Jornet’s Strava profile for loads of details on this adventure.

With one of the world’s all-time greatest mountain athletes firmly back in action, we are excited to see where the trails take him next.

Kilian Jornet - Pic de Posets

Kilian Jornet rests on the summit of Pic de Posets, during his 177-peak traverse of the Pyrenees.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is Managing Editor at iRunFar. She’s been working in an editorial capacity for ten years and has been a trail runner for almost as long. Aside from iRunFar, she’s worked as an editor for various educational publishers and written race previews for Apex Running, UK, and RAW Ultra, Ireland. Based in Belfast, Ireland, Sarah is an avid mountain runner and ultrarunner and competes at distances from under 10k to over 100k. When not running, she enjoys reading, socializing, and hanging out with her dog, Angie, and cat, Judy.