Rumours of Kilian Jornet’s planned return to Mount Everest this fall have been swirling since an August 31 report in the Himalayan Times, but the normally voluble Spanish mountain runner is being uncharacteristically quiet about his plans. Jornet reportedly summitted Everest twice, without oxygen, over a five-day period in May, 2017, but some experts have asserted that his claims have are unverifiable, and conclude that his plans for this year are an admission of his previous failure.
Jornet will compete in the Annapurna 100 in Nepal, which starts on October 25 and is the final race in the Golden Trail World Series. According to the Himalayan Times report, he plans to climb Everest from the Nepal side on a single permit “after leading a three-member team on Mt Lhotse in the autumn season.”
Jornet has twice been named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic. He has scored multiple wins at some of the world’s most prestigious ultra-trail races (Hardrock 100, Western States Endurance Run, Ultra Trail de Mont-Blanc), and he holds multiple course records and FKT’s (fastest known times) including speed ascent records on Mont-Blanc, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Denali and the Matterhorn. But his claim to have summitted Everest twice in one week in May, 2017 without using bottled oxygen or fixed ropes is very much in dispute.
The latest salvo to Jornet’s reputation appears in Adharanand Finn’s The Rise of the Ultrarunner: a Journey to the Edge of Human Endurance, which includes a detailed analysis by American mountain runner Dan Howitt of Jornet’s 2017 summit attempts, based on the available information. Finn is a UK-based journalist and the author of Running with the Kenyans and The Way of the Runner.
Howitt asserts that there are no photographs, video footage, GPS data or satellite smartphone communication from the summit and no witnesses to Jornet reaching the summit on May 22, 2017 at 12:00 a.m. (midnight) and again on May 27 at 9:30 p.m., as he claims in his book Summits of My Life. This is in spite of his having all the necessary technology for documenting such claims, not to mention that Jornet has always extensively documented his climbs with photos, video and verifiable GPS data.
Howitt alerted us to the Himalayan Times report, and Jornet’s plans were tacitly confirmed today in an email from his publicist, Laura Font Sentís of the Barcelona-based Lymbus agency, who wrote that “Kilian will spend some time in the Himalayas with his family and he will take advantage to explore the terrain. If he does any relevant activity he will communicate after he has completed it.”