On Friday, I posted the news that Kilian Jornet had launched his attempt to set a speed record on Aconcagua, the tallest peak in South America at 6962 meters (22,841 ft) in height. At the time, I mentioned that it might be awhile before we heard anything about his progress, and the success of failure of this attempt. It turns out it wasn’t as long as we had hoped, as news was posted later in the day that the mountain runner had turned back due to high winds.
According to updates from Kilian’s Facebook page, the Spanish endurance runner got as high as 6500 meters (21,235 ft) before turning around. He was reportedly making good time on his summit bid, but began experiencing high winds that exceeded 90 km/h (56 mph), which made it extremely difficult for him to continue upwards. When you’re on a mountain like Aconcagua, those kinds of winds speeds can be very dangerous, particularly when you’re traveling as light and fast as Kilian was.
The high winds didn’t come completely by surprise. When Kilian announced that he was making his speed attempt, he mentioned that the weather wasn’t as good as he’d like, specifically mentioning that the winds could be a problem. Of course, discretion is the better part of valor, and it was a wise move for him to turn back. According to the post on his Facebook page, he will try again soon, possibly as early as today or tomorrow depending on conditions.
Aconcagua is the latest in Kilian’s Summits of My Life project, during which he has set speed records on other peaks, including Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc, and Denali. On Aconcagua, he is hoping to break the old record, set by Jorge Egocheaga in 2011, of 15 hours and 5 minutes. If all goes according to schedule, he’ll also be traveling to Nepal in the spring to attempt a speed record on Everest as well.
I’ll be watching Kilian’s social media outlets over the next few days to see when he starts his second attempt at this record. After having a couple of days back in Base Camp to rest, he is probably watching the weather forecasts at the moment, and waiting for his next opportunity. I’ll post updates as I hear anything.
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