It's one thing to climb Everest. It's another to climb Everest without fixed ropes or extra oxygen. And it's entirely something else to do the latter twice in a span of a single week. That's what 29-year-old Spanish climber Kilian Jornet claims to have just accomplished, reports the Guardian. Jornet, a long-distance runner, says he reached the summit after a 17-hour climb from advanced base camp on Saturday. For the record, the China Tibet Mountaineering Association, which validates such things, has not officially weighed in yet. Assuming it does, Jornet won't set a speed record, but he's making headlines for a different facet of his feat: The 17-hour ascent came just five days after Jornet said he scaled the mountain in 26 hours, again without ropes or oxygen.
"I think summiting Everest twice in one week without oxygen opens up a new realm of possibilities in alpinism and I'm really happy to have done it," Jornet says on his Summits of My Life blog. Outside magazine, which calls Jornet "a freak of nature," marvels at the faster ascent, even if it is shy of a record. He "just ran 8,000 vertical feet up the world's highest mountain—a mountain on which it's hard to breathe, period, for the last third of it—in less than a day," it notes. The world of Everest records can be a bewildering one, with some times in dispute, but a post at Marca says Austria's Christian Stangl currently holds the record for the fastest climb with a time of 16 hours and 42 minutes in 2016. (Under pressure, Everest guides will risk death to recover a body.)