Killian Jornet & Matheo Jacquemoud left St. Michel’s church (where all Mt. Blanc summit attempts begin) in Chamonix, France at 4:46am on July 11th, 2013. They used the winter ski mountaineers route to begin their speed ascent of 15,781-foot Mt. Blanc.
From there they ran up 12,500 vertical feet of road, trail, scree, forest, and glacier to arrive at the summit of Mt. Blanc in a mere 3 hours and 33 minutes. These guys were climbing at 3,300 vertical feet per hour!
At the top they high-fived and started running back down the same route they came up. Descending any mountain is the most dangerous part of a summit attempt. Mt. Blanc is no exception. Running down adds about a factor of 10 to that danger because you have so much momentum moving down that if you fall, you’re going to fall hard and long.
That’s just what happened to Matheo on the way down. Matheo slipped while running across the Bosson glacier and fell into a crevasse. The crevasse was luckily only 20 feet deep so Killian was able to assist in extracting Matheo from the shallow crevasse. Matheo did receive a minor leg injury and was unable to continue his speed record ascent/descent. Matheo was taken down my skier/cameraman Vivian Buchez.
“Once Matheo was safely out of the crevasse, I decided to continue on alone.” – Killian Jornet/Chamonix.net
Killian lost time with this rescue but was still able to reach St. Michel’s church in Chamonix in 1 hour and 24 minutes from the summit of Mt. Blanc!
Killian’s round trip time was 4 hours and 57 minutes with a vertical climb of 12,500 feet. He beat the existing record of 5 hours and 11 minutes set by Pierre-André Gobet in 1990.
HISTORY OF MT. BLANC SPEED ASCENTS:
Matheo Jacquemoud 2013 – 5h06m
Stephane Brosse and Pierre Gignoux 2003 – 5:15
Kilian Jornet in 2013 – 4h57m
Pierre-André Gobet 1990 – 5:11
Mt. Rainier’s speed record was also shattered this year on skis: Mt. Rainier, WA Speed Record on Skis