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Mind-Boggling Vertical Feet: Skimo Athlete Breaks Kilian’s Lung-Sucking World Record

Austrian native Jakob Herrmann just broke Kilian Jornet's world record for vertical climbed by a skimo athlete in 24 hours at his home resort near Salzburg.

(Photo/Philipp Reiter)
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At 3:00 p.m. on January 27, Jakob Herrmann reached the top of Radstadt, his home ski resort in Austria, for the 34th consecutive time. In just 24 hours, Herrmann had climbed 24,242 vertical meters (79,534 feet) — setting a new world record for vertical climbing.

The 36-year-old Dynafit athlete started in the wee hours of the morning on January 26 and began relentlessly charging uphill again and again. His goal was to surpass Kilian Jornet‘s 2019 world record of 23,486 vertical meters (77,053 feet).

“It has always been a dream of mine to be on touring skis for 24 hours straight and see how many vertical meters I can achieve,” Herrmann said in a press release on the achievement. “I just wanted to know what limits one can reach and how far beyond you can go. I have a great support team around me, and I love simply skiing for hours.”

2.74 Mt. Everests in 24 Hours: World Record Vertical Climbed

Jakob Herrmann sets world record for vertical climbed by skimo athlete
(Photo/Philipp Reiter)

Herrmann is an Austrian native, born in Vienna. He has had a decorated career with wins in skimo races from Austria, Germany, France, and Italy. He’s competed twice with the previous record holder, Kilian Jornet, in the Pierra Menta ski touring race — often referred to as the Tour de France of skimo. He’s been a part of the Dynafit team since 2019.

This was the third time the two endurance skiers went head to head, though this time around it wasn’t an actual race. In 2019, Jornet shook the skimo world with his insane record of 23,486 vertical meters in 24 hours. That record towered over everyone for 5 years until Herrmann set his sights on it this year.

When Herrmann embarked on this project, he set his vertical target at 24,000 m (78,740 feet) — 514 m (1,686 feet) beyond where Jornet stopped.

Radstadt had curated a special ascent track for Herrmann that was 2.5 km long and 710 vertical meters (2,329 feet). He climbed through the dark, past sunrise, and well into the afternoon. He took only short breaks to snack on rice, potatoes, isotonic drinks, gels, bars, and homemade banana bread. Along the way, his friends and family supported him, bringing water, offering sustenance, and cheering him on.

When he finally called it quits, Herrmann had racked up a mind-boggling total of 24,242 vertical meters (79,534 feet). He’d not only met his goal but also surpassed it. He’d climbed the equivalent of 2.74 Mt. Everests (sea level to summit) in a single day.

Kilian Jornet said he was happy for Herrmann and congratulated him on the accomplishment.

“I have a great support team around me, and I love simply skiing for hours,” Herrmann said. “The most challenging part was skiing overnight with 14 hours of darkness. Now I am overjoyed and proud that I made it.”

The Gear Herrmann Used

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