‘Terrible and fantastic’: Emma Pooley smashes women’s Everesting record on 13 per cent climb in Switzerland

The British former pro knocked 15 minutes off the previous time

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Everesting may have be the most unexpected trend of 2020, but the records are continuing to fall as riders take on the daunting climbing challenge.

This time it’s Emma Pooley, the British former pro, who has smashed the women’s record for fastest Everesting attempt, knocking 15 minutes off the previous time.

Pooley took on the 13 per cent average Haggenegg climb in Switzerland on Wednesday (July 8) , completing 10 laps of the 6.7km-long climb to rack up the 8,848 metres.

The 37-year-old set a new fastest time to climb the high of Everest on a bike, with eight hours, 53 minutes and 36 seconds – beating the previous record set by Hannah Rhodes in June, nine hours and eight minutes.

Pooley said: “I did that ride I said I would never do…”

“It was both terrible and fantastic., sometimes simultaneously.

“Never ever ever again!”

But if she ever was to take on the challenge again, Pooley said there were a few things she would do differently – change the gearing on her bike, be prepared for a hot day on an exposed mountainside, be aware of the twisty descent back down, and avoid running out of food for each climb after the half-way point

She added: “But it was a happy day despite a few discomforts.

“I wanted a challenge and to find my limits – and I did.”

Everesting has been a hugely popular endurance challenge this year, spurred by the lack of racing.

EF Pro Cycling rider Lachlan Morton currently holds the record for the men’s fastest Everesting attempt, setting a time of seven hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds just a week after a first failed attempt.

The previous women’s record was set by Brit Hannah Rhodes on June 4, as she took on Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District 27.5 times, covering 163km.

But Pooley has now taken the crown, as she rode 129km for her attempt.

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Pooley retired from pro racing in 2016, having established a formidable palmarés. She is a former time trial world champion, an Olympic TT silver medallist and a winner of Flèche Wallone.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.