Kilian Jornet & the ‘Romsdal 7 Topper’

On April 6th, 2023 Kilian Jornet set a reference time with his successful completion of the ‘Romsdal 7 Topper’ route near Åndalsnes, Norway. He skied and climbed for 76.5 kilometers, ascending 9257 meters of vert and finishing in a jaw-dropping 21 hours, 28 minutes. This was his third attempt at the line; previously he had attempted it twice – both times thwarted by avalanche danger. A full report is available here.

Hello Kilian, for the non-locals, can you briefly describe the ‘Romsdal 7 Topper’? How was the route born? Why these specific summits?

The Romsdal 7 summits are the 7 more known or spectacular mountains in the Romsdal area, the ones who climb them can be called Fjellkonge or Fjelldronning (King/Queen Of Mountain). In 2013 Nils Nilsen and Ola Hovdenak did link the 7 summits in a single day, using the car between the different summits, and that inspired me to do this activity without using the car.

What made you choose the Bright As Day 2000 headlamp for this project? How did you manage your settings during the night?

It is a very light lamp but with high performance. I was using the lower mode in the uphill to save battery and to have a comfortable light. On the technical climbs and the downhills where I needed to do some route finding or ski fast I was alternating between the 2nd and 4th modes, which gives a long range flux.

You mentioned in your report that most descents were over hard snow. Better to lower the avalanche risk but tougher on the legs! Especially with short skis. What made you choose the Traverse skis in their shorter length?

I have been using the Traverse 79 for most of my training this winter. It is a ski that is very light, almost like a racing one so uphill is very comfortable. In the downhills is a ski that is very easy to ski, that doesn't demand a lot so it saves energy, and that is very forgivable, so when you catch some bad snow, some obstacles or get unbalanced it is very soft and makes you get in balance very quickly. Also being a bit larger than racing skis suits better to open track and to ski on steeper slopes. I really love this ski for such long days!

The Chamonix-Zermatt traverse record (100km, 8000m of vert) was broken just a few days ago. How does the
‘Romsdal 7 Topper’ compare to this?

I haven’t done the Chamonix-Zermatt, just some parts as part of the PDG race or the Chamonix part, but I can’t really say. Compared to the long crossings I’ve done in the Alps, the Mont Blanc massif crossing or the Aravis, the 7 summits might be similar on distance and elevation but the biggest difference is that here, most of the terrain is technical, you need to climb on rocks or ice what makes the route more complex. I would say that the other routes were more a pure ski mountaineering traverse and the 7 topper is a mix of ski mountaineering and alpinism.  

Is it a route that you would like to attempt one day?

Who knows where the future will bring one!


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