Gallery: 'Everesters' complete Kiviõli ash hill ascent overnight

Triathletes Rain Seepõld and Olle Rõuk have completed their "ascent of Everest" at an ash hill in the eastern Estonian town of Kiviõli, the first Estonians to do so on foot. The whole trek took Seepõld, who turned 31 during the event, a little under 19-and-a-half hours, with Rõuk, 45, completing it in just under 25-and-a-half hours, with both men running, not walking, up and down the ash hill, through the night.

With Everest, standing at 8,848 meters, while Estonia's highest peak, Suur Munamägi, is just 317 meters – and the Kiviõli ash mound only 71 meters – simulating an ascent of the world's highest peak in terms of meters climbed is still possible, by making multiple trips up and down the far lower peak.

Kiviõli's ash hill, a man-made high point resulting from slag produced by the oil shale mining in the area, at 71 meters in height works out at 125 ascents to match an Everest ascent and descent. Naturally, the effects of altitude, low temperatures, snow and ice and other Himalayan conditions are not replicated in the activity.

One round trip is around 720 meters, meaning the pair, who announced their attempt in July, covered about 90 km in their journey

Rain Seepõld said the feat proved deceptively hard.

"In fact, it was harder to just run downhill and uphill [than regular mountaineering]. There were no rest breaks or change in pace. It was technically quite demanding, and also quite demanding on the feet," he told ETV.

Seepõld, whose effort coincided with his 31st birthday weekend, added the hardest point came just before the halfway mark, when his feet were already feeling the effects with a long way still to go.

The men started around 11 a.m. on Saturday, with no specific time goal in mind. Rõuk, the older of the pair at 45, said he predicted the whole trek would take him about 24 hours, a forecast which proved relatively accurate.

The rules in fact allow them to use transport aids such as a bike or even a car for the ascent stages, but the men decide to do it all the hard way on foot.

Another regulation prohibits sleep. Short breaks for refreshments are obviously permitted.

Rain Seepõld finished just before 6.30 a.m. Sunday, with Olle Rõuge needing a few more hours, finishing at 12.20 p.m. on the same day, meaning he was on the go for over 24 hours.

The record for "everesting'" at present was recently set by a 34-year-old Italian, Simone Eydallin, who completed the "ascent" in just over 10 hours.

Estonian Alo Alunurm completed a cycling version of everesting in October 2018, this time on Suur Munamägi.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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