Mount Everest is 8,848.86 metres (29,028.87 feet) high. As of 8th December 2020 anyway. The day China and Nepal jointly announced the newly-agreed height of the world’s mightiest peak.
The verb Everesting refers to an activity where a cyclist climbs a cumulative total of 8,848 metres. It was thought George Mallory made the first Everesting attempt in 1994. That George is the grandson of George Mallory, who disappeared on Everest in 1924.
Inspired by the Mallory story, Andy van Bergen founded Hells 500, the creators and custodians of the Everesting concept. Incidentally, Andy and George are friends.
In June 2020, Andy received an email from Francois Siohan with evidence that he had Everested on 1st July 1984. The first Everesting is now acknowledged to have happened a decade before George Mallory did it.
The rules of Everesting are simple.
An explanation of the rules and other information are available at everesting.cc
According to the Everesting Hall of Fame, there was only one successful Everesting between George Mallory’s in November 1994 and Carlo Gironi’s in July 2012. Klaas Veenbaas did it in June 2009.
Five cyclists completed this challenge in 2012. Ten did it the following year. Andy and the Hells 500 crew organised a group assault in 2014. Of the one hundred and twenty riders invited, thirty-three completed the challenge.
Since then, the popularity, if one can call it that, of Everesting has exploded. To date, 10,410 cyclists have Everested. 4,729 other riders have climbed at least the height of Everest on a trainer. On the home front, 151 Malaysians have Everested since August 2019.
104 countries have at least one person who has Everested.
The number of hours it takes the average cyclist to climb 8,848 metres can reach into the twenties and beyond. Professional and elite cyclists do it in much less time.
The chart below shows the evolution of the women’s world Everesting record from Alice Thomson’s 12 hours 32 minutes in 2018 to current record holder Emma Pooley’s 8 hours 53 minutes in July 2020.
This is Emma Pooley during her world record ride.
The women’s world record fell 1 hour 8 minutes in five months last year.
This is the men’s chart.
Lachlan Morton thought he had set a new world record in June 2020, only to have his attempt nullified due to bad elevation data. So he went out six days later and set a legal world Everesting record.
I rode with Lachlan in 2015. He looked like a potential Everesting world record holder.
This is Lachlan during his world record ride.
The current record is held by Ronan McLaughlin. Ronan reclaimed the world record eight months after losing it to Sean Gardner.
Ronan did 78 laps of this almost dead-straight 810-metre section of road that pitches up at a punishing average gradient of 14.2%.
The men’s record has fallen 1 hour 11 minutes in less than a year. 6 hours 40 minutes is a phenomenal time in which to climb 8,848 metres. No doubt someone will come along and do it faster.
I won’t be earning one of these Everesting achievement badges. I have too much mass in my ass.
Here is a closing thought. Mount Everest is getting 2 centimetres higher every year. Will the record book have to be rewritten when Nepal and China announce that the mountain’s new height is 8,849 metres?