Kilian Jornet Sets Speed Record On McKinley

Ultra-runner Kilian Jornet just completed what may be his biggest accomplishment to date, surpassing a bar that he’s already set very, very high.

kilian jornet mount mckinley

Jornet unofficially shattered the speed record on Mount McKinley last week, running to the summit and descending in under 12 hours.

For perspective, most mountaineers spend several days climbing the 20,237 foot mountain during a bid for the summit. According to the National Park Service, which manages McKinley, the average expedition (which includes acclimatization and travel to the base) is 17 to 21 days, round trip.

Most expeditions spend at least one rest day at 14,200 feet and another upon reaching High Camp.

Jornet had already acclimatized on McKinley before the attempt.

kilian jornet mckinley

On Friday, Jornet’s team posted this message on Facebook: “Great news from Alaska!! Kilian has set a new record on the McKinley!! Huuuuge congrats Kilian!!!! The team is still out there for a few more days so there are no confirmed details. We’ll get you the full story as soon as they are back! Congrats again, Kilian, you are amazing!!”

While Jornet has not made an official statement yet, Climbing reported that Jornet charged up and down the West Butress route in 11 hours, 40 minutes, crushing the previous record of 16 hours 46 minutes by Ed Warren of New Hampshire that was set in 2013.

The record adds another notable accomplishment to the already-luminous athlete’s career. Among many other things, Jornet has speed records on Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn, and has won the prestigious Western States Endurance Run and Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. He holds records for Mount Kilimanjaro’s ascent as well as combined ascent/descent times (5hrs 23min, and 7hrs 14min, respectively).

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Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.
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