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Kilian Jornet

Expect the growing FKT movement to shed its scrappy, unpublicized existence next spring. That’s when Jornet will head to Mount Everest without oxygen, carrying only the slimmest survivalist’s pack of food, water, and protective gear, and attempt to lay down a new record on the world’s most scrutinized peak. Jornet hasn’t settled on his precise route or starting point yet, but he does have a time in mind: 20-some hours up, 35-ish back down. Bottom to top to bottom in one weekend.

Jornet’s emergence as a crossover star in the high-risk sport of alpinism comes as little surprise to anyone paying mild attention to trail running over the past decade. He’s been Sky Running world champ six of the past seven years while also dominating the most prestigious ultra races—Western States 100, Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc—and more than a dozen smaller muscle flexers, including the Pikes Peak Marathon and the World Championship of Ski Mountaineering. During his debut at last summer’s Hardrock 100, considered America’s toughest ultrarunning course, he threw back a midrace tequila shot and dillydallied at an aid station because he was lonely and wanted the second-place runner to catch up and keep him company. Socializing complete, he surged off to crush the course record by 40 minutes.

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