Photograph by Maxime Schmid, Alamy Photo
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Kilian Jornet climbs a mountain at last year's International Ski Mountaineering World Championships in Switzerland.

Photograph by Maxime Schmid, Alamy Photo

Kilian Jornet Cancels Everest Attempt

The top ultrarunner's speed record attempt was thwarted by snowstorms and risk of avalanches.

Kilian Jornet, one of the world’s top long-distance alpine runners, has called off his planned ascent of Mount Everest due to bad weather.

Jornet and his team had spent the past three weeks at Base Camp on Everest’s north face, at an altitude of 19,685 feet (6,000 meters), to acclimatize and prepare for the ascent. In a statement posted on his Summits of My Life project website, he said that initial weather conditions were favorable.

“However, when we were getting ready to prepare the attempt, the weather began to change. There were some heavy snow storms and a large accumulation of snow. As a result, although we were in good physical shape, there was a high risk of avalanches,” Jornet wrote.

“In the absence of good safety conditions, it was impossible to climb.”

The Everest attempt had been part of Jornet’s Summits of My Life project, a four-year challenge to set speed records climbing the world’s tallest mountains—including Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Elbrus, Denali, Aconcagua, and Everest—without oxygen or fixed ropes and carrying only the lightest equipment.

Everest was to be the final ascent on Jornet’s list. He said he has postponed the attempt until a later date, but no other details were available.

A People's Choice Adventurer of the Year, Jornet is a four-time winner of the Skyrunner World Series, three-time winner of the Mont Blanc Ultra Trail, and winner of numerous ski alpinism races. In 2016 he shared a first-place finish in the grueling 100-mile Hardrock 100 in Colorado.

Despite the setback on the world's highest peak, Jornet wrote that he remained optimistic.

“There’s a sense of frustration because we’re well acclimatized and we feel good, but it would have exposed us to too much risk. Nevertheless, we’re happy because it’s been a very positive experience in which we’ve learned a lot,” he said. “Now we’ll go home to recover and plan the future.”