The highest peak on the planet this spring already has seen its fair share of drama, including early summits, the scoping of new routes, and even a mystifying high-altitude brawl between three Western climbers and a group of Sherpas. Chad Kellogg, a Seattle climber and Outdoor Research-sponsored athlete, has plans to add more drama to the scene.
A speed-record ascent is in his sights, and he plans to do it without supplemental oxygen. He’ll need to climb from Base Camp at 17,600 feet to Everest’s peak — and back down again — in less than 36 hours total time to break the record.
This year marks Kellogg’s third time to Everest, and with it he’s trained and trudged up and down on the Big E’s face for many collective days on end. In a recent post on Outdoor Research’s Verticulture blog he noted after all the preparation there is “a map of the route imprinted in my muscles and years of training that believes I can realize this dream [of the speed ascent].”
Kellogg continued, “A shower every eight days [at Base Camp] allows me to inspect the atrophy that has taken place to my physique. At this time I have transformed into something that resembles a high altitude frog — I have kept my legs, but my upper body has shape-shifted into only the absolutely necessary. Forearms, chest, back and triceps have been striped away. My goal weight is 148 pounds by ‘go time.’ One more rotation on the upper mountain should put me close to my optimal weight for minimal oxygen consumption at extreme altitudes.”
In training on Everest and other mountains over the past couple months Kellogg notes he has climbed more than 82,000 vertical feet to prepare for the speed ascent. “I believe that I have conditioned myself properly without overdoing it on any one day,” he noted. “We shall find out very soon if I have transformed into the physical and mental solution to the ‘problem’ I am trying to solve: The speed record on Mt. Everest without oxygen.”
Kellogg is on the mountain now, with a planned summit attempt for May 22. We wish him luck and strength as he makes the hard push! You can follow his effort at Outdoor Research’s Verticulture blog and tuned-in mountaineering sites around the web. Go Chad!
continued on next page: Chad Kellogg’s Mount Everest gear list. . .