American Hillary Gerardi sets a new record on Mont Blanc with a time of 7 hours and 25 minutes. On Saturday 17 June 2023 at 2 a.m. she set off from Chamonix church. After 7 hours and 25 minutes, she returned to her starting point, having covered a distance of 32,67 km and a vertical drop of 3877 m.
The previous record on Montblanc was set up in 2018 by Emelie Forsberg via the classic route. Hillary Gerardi on the other hand, chose the north ridge, which is steeper but less threatened by seracs. She then switched to the normal route via the Bossesgrat, on which a crevasse has formed in recent years, making it difficult to climb through.
"The descent was a bit slower than expected because of the snow conditions," the athlete says after her return. "I'm very happy because I've proved that this alternative route, which requires more equipment and appears to be longer, does not mean a loss in performance."
Record in the sign of climate change
So far only the Swede Emelie Forsberg was successful in June 2018 in 7 hours, 53 minutes and 12 seconds over the Grands Mulets. Hillary was unable to choose this route due to the dangers of global warming.
Hillary started alongside other athletes including Valentine Fabre, her rope partner at the Skimo Rekord Chamonix-Zermatt (2021). During the descent, she partially ran with South African trail runner Meg Mackenzie.
With her extraordinary achievement, Hillary Gerardi wants to draw attention to the effects of climate change, especially on the roof of Europe.
Find out more about Hillary Gerardi
Who is Hillary Gerardi? Originally from Vermont (USA), Hillary now lives in the Chamonix Valley where she can pursue her passion for trail running and mountains very close by.
As a passionate alpinist, she started trail running professionally 6 years ago and turned her passion into a career by becoming a professional athlete.
Her career took off in 2018 when she won first place in three of the most difficult races in her discipline: Trofeo Kima (Italy), Tromso Skyrace (Norway) and Glencoe Skyline (Scotland).
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Credits: Cover picture Dan Patitucci