Culture

Morton on returning to take Everesting record: ‘I wanted to set the record straight’

Australian hoping to see limits pushed and have his record broken.

Eight hours riding up and down one short hill non-stop would see many riders on the couch for weeks.

Not Lachlan Morton, who completed his second Everesting in eight days this weekend, setting a new fastest time in the process. Having believed he had broken the record for amassing 8,848 meters ascent in one ride with his first effort on the Rist Canyon climb, Colorado, the 28-year-old was ruled to have come up a tantalizing five percent short just days later.

Rather than sitting feeling sorry for himself, he went back for more.

“I didn’t want anyone to think that I was being dishonest, so I decided I’d just do it again,” Morton said on his EF Pro Cycling team’s website this week.

To complete an Everesting requires a mind as strong as your legs, and though Morton was still feeling the aches of his first attempt June 14, his mojo was exactly where it needed to be to steel him through the seven-hour, 29-minute, 57-second feat of mental and physical endurance Sunday.

“I had a bit of fire this time ‘round, which helped,” Morton said. “Mentally knowing what I was in for helped a lot. I understood the effort that was needed. Doing it again so soon was a challenge, but I wanted to set the record straight, mainly for myself. For something like this, internal motivation helps so much.

“Purely from a mental perspective it felt easier. My legs still felt the effort of last week, but I was at peace with the effort that was to come. I took a fair bit of time the days before preparing my head for that, but I knew how to handle it.”

Morton had seen his first shot at Everesting fame annulled by event administrators Hells 500 after it came to light that the Strava segment he had repeated 42 times was around 10 meters less elevation than reported online – leaving him finishing 450 meters short.

This time around, Morton did his due diligence and ensured the data was locked down before getting back in the saddle. The Australian chose a different segment of the same climb, and had the numbers verified using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology beforehand.

“I worked with the guys at Everesting to triple check a shorter segment on the same hill so we could be sure it was legitimate,” Morton said. “They were really helpful and had everything independently checked on their end — I appreciated that a lot.”

X marks the spot – Morton ensured before the ride that he was using accurate elevation data. Photo: EF Pro Cycling

Morton had described his first effort repeating the Rist Canyon climb as “like hell” when he uploaded it to Strava. While he described his second Everesting this weekend as somehow easier, he certainly won’t be looking to better his record anytime soon.

“I’m glad I could somewhat enjoy it. That’s important to me. I can put it to bed for now,” he said. “I hope someone goes faster and pushes the limit further, I’ve done my part.”

Want to be the one that takes up the challenge to break Morton’s mark? Here’s some tips from the man you need to climb faster than:

“I’d say pick a place that you enjoy riding, understand it’s going to be a big day and your head will get negative and you will need to deal with that. Finally, bring people you really care about to support you. It’s a great challenge that’s really accessible.”