In between a super busy race schedule, we managed to catch up with the recently voted National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, Kilian Jornet. The Suunto ambassador shares his thoughts on adventure, reveals who his heroes are, and what Apps he never hits the trails without.
Thanks! It's great to be an ambassador for running and mountaineering and to see these sports get recognised. And if I can inspire other people to fulfil their dreams, that's really motivating.
What are you up to right now?
I'm very busy. It's the middle of the ski mountaineering season and I have two world cup races coming up. I'm really doing a lot of meters now for the next month and a half.
I go to McKinley (Denali) in June and then Aconcagua in winter to continue my Summits of My Life project.
“The summit is just an excuse; it's more about the way, and not the goal.”
What is your definition of adventure?
Adventure for me is about discovery. It's about going to new places, whether physical places or new sensations that you haven't experienced before. You can go to the high mountains but if you have all the information, it may not be an adventure. Equally, you can go behind your house and if you don't know what's there, then it can turn into an adventure because you're going somewhere unknown. When you want to explore, adventure comes.
Do you see yourself as an adventurer?
People like to give labels but I don't think like that. I feel like a person who simply loves the mountains.
You have a huge fanbase. But who are your heroes?
When I was a kid, I was always looking to the big mountaineers like Walter Bonatti or Reinhold Messner but also people like Ueli Steck are a huge inspiration. Bonatti started the idea of light alpinism and Messner did the same in the Himalayas and Ueli is taking it one step further. The summit is just an excuse; it's more about the way, and not the goal.
I use Current Incline for when I'm climbing or skiing, Total Ascent-Descent for counting the meters - I will do up to 700,000 a year - and Vertical Speed. I really like the way I can personalize my Ambit to have just the sports I want.
Next year you plan to climb Mt Everest. After that...?
I don't know, I will see what I will do. It's important to have goals but also listen to the feelings of today and stay in the moment. For me, adventure and exploring is more than just achieving a list of things.