Speed Climbing Records

A History of Mt. Everest Speed Climbing Records/Claims, by Dan Howitt

Mt. Everest Speed Record-Claim List:

South Col Route, Without Supplemental Oxygen

Kazi Sherpa, October 17, 1998, 20 hours 24 minutes, unofficial
Marc Batard, September 26, 1988, 22 hours 30 minutes, unofficial

South Col Route, With Supplemental Oxygen

May 21, 2004, Pemba Dorje Sherpa, 8 hours 10 minutes, unofficial, disputed
May 25, 2003, Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa, 10 hours 56 minutes, unofficial, disputed
May 22, 2003, Pemba Dorje Sherpa, 12 hours 45 minutes, unofficial
May 21, 2000, Babu Chiri Sherpa, 16 hours 56 minutes, unofficial

North Col Route, Without Oxygen

May 24, 2006, Christian Stangl, 16 hours 42 minutes, unofficial, disputed
May 23, 1996, Hans Kammerlander, 16 hours 45 minutes, unofficial

North Col Route, With Supplemental Oxygen

None

South Col Route, Ascent-Descent (Round-Trip), With Supplemental Oxygen

None

South Col Route, Ascent-Descent (Round-Trip), Without Supplemental Oxygen

None

North Col Route, Ascent-Descent (Round-Trip), With Supplemental Oxygen

None

North Col Route, Ascent-Descent (Round-Trip), Without Supplemental Oxygen

None

(1) Summit Photo Now Required For Official Recognition Of Having Summitted Mt. Everest

Due to the intense disputes that occurred between Pemba Dorjee Sherpa and Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa between 2003 and 2004, and due to the multitude of disputes that were submitted to the Nepal Ministry of Tourism about Pemba Dorje Sherpa’s 2004 record-claim, the Nepal Ministry of Tourism now requires a summit photo as proof that a person reached the summit, or both speed climbs, and regular climbs.
http://www.tourism.gov.np/contacts.php

USA guide Tim Ripple is reported by Explorers Web to have confirmed the above also. (Second sentence in article).
http://explorersweb.com/tech/news.php?id=19336

(2) Summit Photos For Speed Record-Claims on Mt. Everest

There appears to be only 3 summit photos among the many people who have claimed speed records for Mt. Everest.
Kazi Sherpa’s 1998 record-claim, South Col Route. http://www.everestsummiteersassociation.org/images/stories/new-old-records/kazi.jpg

Kazi Sherpa

Pemba Dorjee Sherpa’s 2003 record-claim, South Col Route. http://www.everestnews2004.com/4002expcoverage/pictures/pemba-dorjee.jpg

Pemba Dorjee Sherpa

Hans Kammerlander’s 1996 record-claim, North Col Route.

http://oi42.tinypic.com/344tbwi.jpg

Hans Kammerlander

(3) All Mt. Everest Record-Claims Are Time-Unverified

All Mt. Everest speed climbing record-claims are time-unverified, meaning that there were no people who timed the speed climbs from the start to the summit. Also, none of the climbers used alternate, objective, time-verification methods, such as GPS technology.  GPS technology, however, can be fraught with errors.  And, the GPS data submitted to climbing organizations and the media for review after the record-claim can be manipulated.

(3a) Misleading Summit Photos, Misleading Time-Verification

On other mountains besides Everest, some climbers have resorted to using photos of their own watches as proof of having reached the summit, or proof of their speed climbing record-claim.  Photos of either the stopwatch’s elapsed time, or the altimeter reading.  Several of the photos of the watch’s altimeter reading do not include any of the mountain or mountain-background in the photo – all that was shown is either an up-close photo of the watch, or a photo of the watch with only the climber’s face in the photo and only a slight amount of sky.  A climber’s own watch can be manually adjusted by the climber at any time, and is not objective verification in any way.  A summit photo that does not show any of the summit, nor any background features of the summit, is not a proper summit photo.

http://controversyclimbing.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/summit_claim_controversy_chad_kellogg/

http://controversyclimbing.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/2003_denali_fraud_chad_kellogg/

(4) No Ascent-Descent Speed Record-Claims In History For Mt. Everest’s South Col Route

There has never been an ascent-descent (round trip) record-claim for the South Col Route, nor any other route on Mt. Everest.

However, since 2010, Chad Kellogg of the United States has been reporting that Marc Batard of France set the ascent-descent record in “36 hours”.

And Kellogg’s sponsor, Outdoor Research (Christian Folk cfolk@outdoorresearch.com, Charles Lozner clozner@gmail.com), and Kellogg himself www.chadkellogg.com/contact.html (at about 1 minute in the below video) have stated this in media and in video-publicity since 2010, to the time of Kellogg’s 2013 speed-climb attempt.

http://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/stories/chad-kellogg-to-attempt-to-break-everest-speed-climbing-record

There have never been any sources, such as newspapers, journals, television, websites, magazines, books, etc, that reported such a record.  And, Marc Batard on his own detailed website has never reported such a record-claim.

This is an archive of Batard’s website — it appears his website is currently not available. http://web.archive.org/web/20120928235538/http://www.marcbatard.com/marcbatard.htm

A careful reading through the page shows only his 1988 record-claim.

“Ascension de l’Everest (8 848 m.) sans oxygène, en 22h30, le 26 septembre”

Translated to:

“Ascent of Everest (8848 m.) Without oxygen in 22:30, September 26”

In Batard’s book, ‘Le sprinter de l’Everest’ [The Sprinter of Everest] http://books.google.com/books/about/Le_Sprinter_de_l_Everest.html?id=H7e3AAAACAAJ  there is no mention of a 36 hour time nor record-claim, nor any round-trip time.

Furthermore, the 36 hour reported record-claim is obviously a rounded-off time. As is obvious, record times, especially world record times on the biggest mountain in the world, should have the minutes along with the hours.  Rounding off a time is unacceptable, and further evidence of the lack of credibility of this reported record-claim.

(5) Mt. Everest’s South Col Route, Ascent Record-Claims, WITHOUT SUPPLEMENTAL OXYGEN

Kazi Sherpa, October 17, 1998, 20 hours 24 minutes, unofficial
Marc Batard, September 26, 1988, 22 hours 30 minutes, unofficial

The current ascent record-claim was reported by Kazi Sherpa, for his October 17, 1998 speed climb.  He was recognized by several historians, organizations, and media for having broken Marc Batard’s 1988 record-claim, with a time of 20 hours 24 minutes, from basecamp to the summit 100% without oxygen.  Batard’s 1988 record-claim was 22 hours 30 minutes.

The below article of the American Alpine Club journal has a detailed section written by Everest historian Elizabeth Hawley about Marc Batard and Kazi Sherpa’s speed climbing.  (She misspells Kazi’s name as ‘Kaji’).  She states that Kazi Sherpa broke Batard’s record on October 17, 1998.

Further, there is no mention of any ascent-descent record-claim by Marc Batard, nor any 36 hour time.

http://books.google.com/books?id=UhmT3_I_xU4C&lpg=PA374&dq=everest%2C%20south%20col%2Fsoutheast%20ridge%2C%20speed%20ascent&pg=PA374#v=onepage&q=everest%2C%20south%20col%2Fsoutheast%20ridge%2C%20speed%20ascent&f=false

The Everest Summiteers Association recognizes Kazi Sherpa’s record in this article, and provides his summit-photo:

http://www.everestsummiteersassociation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=24&Itemid=27

MountainZone.com
http://classic.mountainzone.com/news/everestspeed.html

Prior to Marc Batard’s 1988 record-claim, it appears that there were no other record-claims for speed climbs done without oxygen on the South Col Route.

It appears that only 2 people in history have done speed climbs on the South Col Route without oxygen – Marc Batard and Kazi Sherpa.

USA climber Chad Kellogg, from 2010 to 2013, reported to the public himself, and via his sponsor
http://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/stories/chad-kellogg-to-attempt-to-break-everest-speed-climbing-record that Marc Batard holds the current record with 22 hours 30 minutes, thereby ignoring Kazi Sherpa’s record-claim and the multitude of sources that recognize Kazi Sherpa’s record-claim as having broken Marc Batard’s record-claim.

There are a multitude of additional articles and blog reports from Kellogg and his sponsor about this, between 2010 and 2013, that are readily available on the Internet.

(5a) Misreporting and Different Opinions About Kazi Sherpa’s Record

Despite how Everest historian Elizabeth Hawley recognized Kazi Sherpa as having broken Marc Batard’s record-claim in the below article written by her in the American Alpine Club Journal

http://books.google.com/books?id=UhmT3_I_xU4C&lpg=PA374&dq=everest%2C%20south%20col%2Fsoutheast%20ridge%2C%20speed%20ascent&pg=PA374#v=onepage&q=everest%2C%20south%20col%2Fsoutheast%20ridge%2C%20speed%20ascent&f= false it appears that she, later, changed her opinion on this.

Her website’s contact page http://www.himalayandatabase.com/contact.html She appears to now state that Kazi Sherpa did not break Marc Batard’s record because of how Kazi Sherpa, as she reports in the above journal article, used supplemental oxygen in his descent. While he did 100% of his ascent from basecamp to the summit without oxygen, he used at least some oxygen in his descent.

Many people, media, and organizations still believe that Kazi Sherpa holds the current record-claim because he did 100% of his ascent without oxygen.

(a) His speed climb finished after he reached the summit, and he was not attempting nor claiming to do an ascent-descent without oxygen.

(b) While it is necessary for regular mountaineers to do both the ascent and descent without oxygen in order to be successful in climbing Mt. Everest without oxygen in full, for speed climbing there are different factors involved that are not involved in regular mountaineering.  Kazi Sherpa’s performance was strictly for the climb from basecamp to the summit.

(6) Mt. Everest’s South Col Route, Ascent Record-Claims, WITH SUPPLEMENTAL OXYGEN

May 21, 2004, Pemba Dorje Sherpa, 8 hours 10 minutes, unofficial, disputed
May 25, 2003, Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa, 10 hours 56 minutes, unofficial, disputed
May 22, 2003, Pemba Dorje Sherpa, 12 hours 45 minutes, unofficial
May 21, 2000, Babu Chiri Sherpa, 16 hours 56 minutes, unofficial

On May 21, 2000, Babu Chiri Sherpa reported the first speed climbing record-claim (with supplemental oxygen) in history on the South Col Route. 16 hours 56 minutes.
http://www.everestsummiteersassociation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=24&Itemid=27

3 more record-claims were reported between 2003-2004, by Pemba Dorje Sherpa and Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa.

May 22, 2003, Pemba Dorje Sherpa, 12 hours 45 minutes
May 25, 2003, Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa, 10 hours 56 minutes, unofficial, disputed
May 21, 2004, Pemba Dorje Sherpa, 8 hours 10 minutes, unofficial, disputed

Again the only summit-photo appears to be for Pemba Dorje Sherpa’s 2003 speed climb

http://www.everestnews2004.com/4002expcoverage/pictures/pemba-dorjee.jpg

Sadly, for the above article by Everest News, the sole owner/operator of Everest News, George Martin of Granville, Ohio, posted the above photo in the context of the dispute about Pemba Dorje Sherpa’s 2004 record-claim, for which he does not have a summit photo, nor any summit witnesses.  Mr. Martin misleads the reader to believe the summit-photo if for Pemba Dorje Sherpa’s 2004 record-claim, when in fact it is for his 2003 record-claim, which was for a time that was 4 hours and 35 minutes slower.

Pemba Dorje Sherpa in 2003 disputed Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa’s 2003 record-claim http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2993888.stm and in 2004 Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa disputed Pemba Dorje Sherpa’s 2004 record-claim. Others disputed Pemba Dorje Sherpa’s 2004 record-claim as well.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3766375.stm

Later, the Nepal Ministry Of Tourism upheld Pemba Dorje Sherpa’s 2004 record-claim despite the lack of a summit photo, and the lack of summit witnesses.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3112721.stm

This matter prompted the Nepal Ministry Of Tourism to now require a summit photo as proof of having reached the summit.  http://www.tourism.gov.np/contacts.php

(7) A USA Climber’s 3 Mt. Everest Speed Climbing Attempts, 2010, 2012, 2013

Chad Kellogg 3 attempts were unsuccessful at reaching the summit.

Here are his own dispatch-reports.

2010 http://humanedgetech.com/expedition/kellogg/
2012 http://www.explorersweb.com/kellogg5
2013 http://www.explorersweb.com/kellogg7

In 2010, his sponsor Outdoor Research, and many other media, conveyed Kellogg’s goal to do his speed climb “solo”, “without Sherpa assistance”, and “unsupported”, and Kellogg was often quoted, such as in the above 2010 dispatch-report, as saying “this climb was about meeting the mountain in the most difficult way I could imagine.”

As reported in the above American Alpine Club Journal article by Elizabeth Hawley, Marc Batard and Kazi Sherpa did their speed climbs in a similar manner.  Solo, without Sherpa assistance, and only supported by their own stores of supplies at some camps along the route, in contrast to being supported by the food/water/gear/shelter of other people.

However, as Kellogg himself reported in his 2010 and 2012 dispatch-reports, and as was revealed here by Outside Magazine
http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/Climbings-Little-Helper.html?page=all writer Devon O’Neil http://devononeil.com/contact.aspx Kellogg used a prescription steroid drug Dexamethasone to enhance his performance in 2010 and 2012.

Furthermore, as reported in his 2010, 2012, and 2013 dispatch-reports, and as reported by his sponsor Outdoor Research, Kellogg used the gear/food/water/shelter support of other climbers at the various camps on the route.

Furthermore, Kellogg paid substantial money for the assistance of a Sherpa as a guide to climb with him from the last high camp to the summit-attempt.  And, the Sherpa was hired to carry an extra supply of supplemental oxygen in case Kellogg needed it as an emergency.

Kazi Sherpa and Marc Batard did not state that they used the above advantages and aids.

Furthermore, as mentioned above, Kellogg misreported, between 2010 and 2013, the existence of 2 Mt. Everest records of Marc Batard.  One record-claim was broken, and the other record-claim has never existed.  Batard’s 1988 record was broken in 1998 by Kazi Sherpa. And Batard has never set an ascent-descent record, nor has he ever made an ascent-descent record-claim.

(8) Mt. Everest’s North Col Route, Ascent Record-Claims, WITHOUT SUPPLEMENTAL OXYGEN

May 24, 2006, Christian Stangl, 16 hours 42 minutes, unofficial, disputed
May 23, 1996, Hans Kammerlander, 16 hours 45 minutes, unofficial

Stangl’s summit photos:
http://lh3.ggpht.com/kq3mpqXZJchQ64Kf6ybsbd_IAVw6jPfrbO_smaoapAaGQ-pb3hulqFx4iYp7pmjKZmgcMLyJmdCmYNG-DF8qsg
http://skyrunning.at/sites/default/files/styles/thumbnail_article_image_preview/public/field/article_images/summit_of_mt.everest_foto_by_patricio_crausaz_equator.jpg

Kammerlander’s summit photo http://i42.tinypic.com/344tbwi.jpg

K2 proven fraud of Christian Stangl
http://www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews1.lasso?l=2&keyid=37578
https://thebmc.co.uk/unfortunate-deception-on-k2

Due to this, Stangl’s various speed record-claims on various mountains, such as Everest, Aconcagua, Elbrus, etc, are likely fraudulent.

Note: While Stangl has a summit photo for the above Mt. Everest climb, he does not (like all other speed climbing record-claims on all routes of Mt. Everest) have time-verification.  A summit photo is commendable though, and more than most speed climbers obtain, even for Mt. Everest.  But the public should not be mislead to believe it is proof of his record-claim time.

(9) Descent Issue

As Kammerlander reported, and as conveyed by the media, he skied his descent from the summit.  No organizations, media, or other climbers have objected to this.  For example, no one has objected that his ski-descent made his speed climb not a true climb (where a true climb is a climb of both the ascent and descent).  The most important aspect of his speed climb was from advance-basecamp to summit, and he was credited with the record.

Likewise, Kazi Sherpa, as noted above, did a 100% without supplemental oxygen climb from basecamp to the summit, and then, in his descent, he used a different method for a brief period of time – he used supplemental oxygen for a brief period of time. Like Kammerlander’s ascent, the most important aspect of Kazi Sherpa’s speed climb was his ascent from basecamp to the summit.  Alternate methods used to descend are not relevant to his ascent time, and do not affect how he did 100% of the ascent without supplemental oxygen.

(10) Honor Code

As is well known in the international mountaineering community, and among many non-mountaineers, there is no requirement that mountaineers obtain proof of any aspect of their climbs and speed climbs.  Yet, as mentioned above, there are efforts being made, such as by the Nepal Ministry of Tourism, to require at least a summit photo as proof of reaching the summit, and this is because of the growing concern of the legitimacy of not only claims of certain mountaineers, but of mountaineers in general. This is why the Ministry now has this requirement for all mountaineers.  The Ministry should likewise also require time-verification for all speed climbing record-claims.

(11) Challenges to Record-Claimers, Everest and Other Mountains

In 2004, Dan Howitt offered Pemba Dorje Sherpa $5,000 US to do a speed climb of Mt. Everest that is time-verified by 3rd party timing officials.  Pemba refused.  Pemba stated that he would sleep on the summit for 24 hours as a way to prove his speed record-claim.  Furthermore, since 2004, Pemba Dorje Sherpa has not done another Everest speed climb attempt.

Between 2004-2012, Dan Howitt offered Chad Kellogg between $1,500-$5000 US to do speed climb of Mt. Rainier that is time-verified by 3rd party timing officials.  Chad refused some offers, and ignored the other offers.  The offers were also made to the media of Chad’s region, the Seattle Times and Tacoma Tribune.

In 2012 and 2013, Dan Howitt offered RMI guide Katie Bono $1000 and then $2500 to do a speed climb of Mt. Rainier that is time-verified by 3rd party timing officials.  Katie refused.  The offers were also made to the media of Chad’s region, the Seattle Times and Tacoma Tribune.

Katie claimed in 2012 to do an ascent-descent of Mt. Rainier’s standard route in under 5 hours
http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2012/08/womens-speed-ascent-of-mount-rainier-set-last-week/ and like Chad Kellogg as noted in #3a above, and here
http://controversyclimbing.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/summit_claim_controversy_chad_kellogg/ Katie provided this up close photo of her stop-watch as verification of her record-claim’s time.

Dan Howitt asked Katie why she did not take a photo of her watch at her start, and at her summit (along with herself in the photo at the summit).  She did not reply.  She was also asked if she had a camera with her during her speedclimb in order to take the photo of her watch, and she said she did not carry a camera with her.

However, she had a camera at the moment of her finish.  And in all of her reports of her speed climb, she never said that she went to her car to get a camera to take a photo of her watch, which would have certainly taken 1-2+ minutes.  She said she finished her descent right at 4 hours 58 minutes.

In 2009-2012, Dan Howitt offered guide Willie Benegas $5000 US to do a speed climb of Mt. Rainier that is time-verified by 3rd party timing officials.  Willie refused each time.  Willie in 2008 claimed a 4 hour 40 minute ascent-descent, and does not have any witnesses to his start, summit, nor finish, nor any photos.

None of the above people have summit photos for their record-claims.