It’s classic tale of a race from Point A to B — not so much tortoise and hare, but more mountain goat versus falcon. Take one of the finest trail runners on the planet and pit them against one of the most experienced BASE jumpers in the game. Why not? At first thought, the BASE jumper has the obvious edge (especially with top flight speeds of roughly 137 mph). However, when the route involves a seriously steep and treacherous ascent, the scales tilt to favor of the seasoned ultrarunner, right?
Well, on Tuesday, two of the outdoor world’s most notable athletes—legendary trail runner Kilian Jornet and veteran wingsuit pilot/BASE jumper Torn Erik Heimen—released a new video to settle the matter in Runner vs. BASE Jumper – The Romsdalshorn Challenge.
The objective is simple: Both athletes start at the same time, and race to the summit of Norway’s iconic 5,085-foot Romsdalshorn. The twist is that Jornet must also run back down to the finish line, while Heimen will descend via wingsuit. (Jornet climbed up the more exposed north face and down-climbed the Halls Renne, while Heimen climbed up Halls Renne and flew over the north face.)
As mentioned, Heimen has reached top speeds of 137 mph with his wingsuit, so the trip down should be a breeze. But that means he also must lug his wingsuit up the peak, while Jornet’s unencumbered direct approach, plus freakish speed and stamina, should offer a healthy immediate lead up the mountain. At this point, it really seems like a toss-up.
With 2,147 jumps under his belt, 44-year-old Heimen is one of the most experienced BASE jumpers on the planet. He also holds a world record for most vertical meters flown in 24 hours (66,000). Jornet is a six-time champion of the long-distance running Skyrunner World Series, and holds fastest known times for the ascent/descent for the summits of Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, and Mount Everest.
Both hailing from the same area on the west coast of Norway, the two athletes most definitely went toe-to-toe on the Romsdalshorn in their home country. The face-off between two of the most intense outdoor disciplines, if nothing else, is certainly something we’ve never seen before. Check out who comes out victorious.
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