Kilian Jornet’s ‘return home’: 177 summits of more than 3,000 meters in the Pyrenees in just 8 days

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It is not a record nor is it necessary. Kilian Jornet, in its essence. Where he grew up, in the Pyrenees, jumping from peak to peak at an inconceivable speed, passing through sections of grade IV climbing like someone walking. This Tuesday, after summiting Pica d’Estats, the best mountain runner of all time completed his return to his origins: 177 summits of more than 3,000 meters in just 8 days. They are not all three thousand of the Pyrenees nor was there a notary next to him, so there is no record, but the challenge completed is equally notable. Balaitus, Garmo Negro, Vignemale, Cilindro, Monte Perdido, Pic Long, Pic de Posets, Punta de Lliterola, Aneto, Sayó, Montcalm or Pica itself… the mountains that Jornet dreamed of as a child were once again at his feet , after many years living first in Chamonix, in the Alps, and now in Norway.

“Rediscovering the peaks that I no longer remembered has been a spectacular experience and, on the other hand, one of the hardest things I have ever done,” he noted at the end of his expedition.

It has not been a great sporting year for Jornet. In spring he tried to climb Everest from the west ridge, but an avalanche forced him to give up. In the summer he prepared for another UMTB – he even got the points – but a sacrum injury knocked him out two weeks before the start. This 2023 had left him with a bitter taste and he decided to take it away at home with a challenge of his own, personal and family. In fact, his mother Nuria Burgada, who was a teacher at the Martinet rural school, in the same Pyrenees, accompanied him on some part of the journey. “This year I wanted to participate in some races, but an injury prevented me from doing so. After recovering, I began to consider different projects and it occurred to me to chain the peaks of more than 3,000 meters in the Pyrenees. I had this idea in my head but I didn’t know “Whether it would be a possible challenge or whether it would be crazy. After consulting it and getting advice from people who know the routes of the Pyrenees very well, I decided to do it,” commented Jornet.

Their adventure began on Monday 2nd from the foot of the Frondella summit, in Sallent de Gállego, Huesca. During the trip through some of the most iconic Pyrenean peaks, he managed to chain more than 40 peaks in a single day, walking 39 hours in a row and traveling by bike to connect sections that were to his liking. “Advancing along all these edges has been a pleasure and I have really enjoyed the routes. I had climbed these peaks when I was 13 years old but I didn’t remember them, and this has made this a very intense experience on a visual level,” he discovered. Jornet, who has been showing his routes on social networks, especially Strava, and through his brand, Nnormal.

The data is scandalous: in eight days, a total of 485.65 kilometers, a difference in altitude of more than 43,000 meters and more than 155 hours of physical activity. During the adventure, Jornet has also been able to test different prototypes of the Normal itself in very technical and different terrain and conditions. “It has been an excellent field of work: the use that you can give a product for a few years, concentrated in one week,” he concludes with his mind already set on 2024.

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