Kellogg plans early season climb to avoid crowds, set new speed record on world’s tallest peak.
Seattle, WASH. – In a few short weeks, some time in early May when the Himalayan weather allows an attempt, Chad Kellogg will be in position on Mt. Everest to try to finish what he started in 2010: A record-breaking 12,000 vertical foot, base camp-to-summit ascent and descent in a single 22-hour push, without supplemental oxygen.
If he can do it, Kellogg – a Seattle-based climber who’s set speed ascents on Mt. Rainier and Denali – will fulfill his personal vision for a pure speed record on the world’s tallest peak. Kellogg is sponsored by Outdoor Research, an outdoor apparel and equipment manufacturer with which he’s had a long affiliation as an athlete. OR also helped sponsor his 2010 speed attempt on Mt. Everest.
Kellogg says he learned a lot from his effort two years ago. And he’s tailored this year’s approach accordingly.
Two years ago, Kellogg started late in the afternoon in an effort to avoid times of day when the main route on the peak can be clogged with climbers. Nonetheless, high on the mountain, after being slowed earlier in his push due to soft snow conditions, Kellogg faced delays on a single fixed-line as he waited to let descending climbers pass. As weather moved in, Kellogg opted to turn around at 27,250 feet.
This time around, Kellogg will attempt to climb earlier in the season. Most climbers typically attempt the mountain starting in mid- to late May. Kellogg is currently on the mountain working to establish a series of camps, and acclimatizing. His plan is to be ready to climb in early May, if or when good weather arrives, avoiding the majority of traffic on the standard route.
Kellogg will start his push from Base Camp in light footwear and clothing. He’ll stop in camps on his ascent — Camp 1 at 19,900 feet, Camp 2 at 21,300 feet, Camp 3 at 24,500 feet, and Camp 4 at 26,000 feet — to retrieve cached food and supplies, and to layer in successively warmer clothing and footwear on his way toward the 29,035-foot summit. Although he will lead and break all trail on his attempt, a Sherpa climber will accompany Kellogg from Camp 4 to the summit, carrying oxygen in case of an emergency.
“This is a quest to achieve my potential in the speed climbing arena of high altitude,” Kellogg says. “If I set the new record without oxygen, I have climbed the mountain in my way by ‘fair means.’ I think this milestone will expand what is possible for me at altitude on other routes and other peaks using an alpine-style approach. One experience builds on the preceding knowledge gained.”
In preparation for this climb, Kellogg tackled challenging routes in different parts of the world during the past six months. In November, he put up the first ascent of the very remote 21,735-foot Pangbuk Ri in Nepal. Then he traveled to South America, climbing its high peak, Aconcagua at 22,841 feet, as well as the highly technical Cerro Torre in Patagonia.
The attempt on Everest, he said, is about challenging himself, not getting in the record books.
“Records are meant to inspire others of what is currently possible so that they can be broken,” Kellogg says. “I am not doing this for fame or ego. That type of external motivation is fleeting and will only get you killed. This is about my love of the mountains and the pursuit of a transcendent life experience.”
The current speed ascent on Everest was set in 1988 by Marc Batard, who made it from Base Camp to summit in 22.5 hours, and Base Camp to summit and back in roughly 30 hours.
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