Jan 24, 2013

"It's not about the destination, it's about how to get there"

World Cup winner and World Championship medal winner Kilian Jornet is the ambassador for the new Atomic Waymaker touring team challenge. He reveals in interview what it's all about, and tells us what ambitious project he has planned next.

Kilian, what's so special about Atomic Waymaker?

It's an entirely new form of competition – which is based on stripping the sport back to its basics. Because with ski touring, it's not about the destination, it's about how to get there.

What's the most important aspect of the Waymaker challenge?

Familiarity with the route. You can only maximize the potential of the terrain if you know your way around. The Dachstein massif is the ideal backdrop for this event – you have this huge plateau, fantastic peaks, challenging climbs and descents ...

What's your advice to teams with their sights set on victory?

Go light on the equipment to increase freedom of movement. Pace yourself to get in as many peaks, downhills and climbs as possible. Work as a team – and don't forget to enjoy the great moments together.

Do the same rules apply to the "Summits of my life"? The project where you and your friends will be attempting to climb some of the world's most challenging peaks in as short a time as possible?

The two challenges have a lot in common. Both "Summits of my life" and Atomic Waymaker are more about experiences along the way rather than the destination. Plus both are first and foremost team events.

Your list includes Mont Blanc and The Matterhorn, Elbrus and McKinley, Aconcagua and Everest. How do you intend to set new records for climbing and descending most of these mountains?

Easy: we'll be carrying so little equipment that if we slow down, we'll get cold. So speed is the only option. (grins)

And you'll be skiing from the peaks back to the valleys?

Wherever possible. Not on The Matterhorn, obviously, but on Mont Blanc definitely, and on Everest it all depends on the weather.

What lessons can Waymaker participants learn from your training plan?

Be sure to move a lot on the mountain. Get a feeling for the mountain, learn where the right line is. Don't just focus on endurance, make sure your training plan is as varied as possible.

For the Waymaker challenge you'll be selecting two team-mates from the individual applicants rather than bringing your own team along. Based on what criteria?

They need to be in good shape. Because if I go too slowly, I get cold. And if I get cold, it's no fun. (Grins again)