Lachlan Morton loses his Everesting record due to faulty data

Bad news for the Aussie adventure rider after his ’42 laps of hell’

Lachlan Morton (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lachlan Morton has lost his Everesting record due to faulty altitude data.

The EF Pro Cycling rider, famed for his unusual adventures on the bike, took on his latest challenge last weekend, setting a new record for the fastest time to climb the equivalent height of Mount Everest.

Morton had appeared to set a new record of seven hours, 32 minutes, and 54 seconds to cover the target altitude of 8,848m, beating the previous record by just over seven minutes.

But investigations by the Everesting officials found 28-year-old fell short of the required altitude, because the Strava data for Morton’s chosen climb was inaccurate.

Morton chose the 1.9km-long, 11 per cent Rist Canyon climb in Colorado for his attempt, which Strava says rises 213 metres up, so Morton banked on riding the segment 42 to get above the 8,848m target.

Lachlan Morton's Everesting attempt (Strava)

But the climb actually only gains 200m of altitude, from 2,238m above sea level to 2,438m, Cycling Tips reports, (opens in new tab) which left Morton 450m short of his goal.

After the ride, Morton acknowledged that the altitude gain on his Strava file was too low at 8,509m, but he thought it was down to lag within the app.

The title now falls back to US national mountain bike champion Keegan Swenson who set the time of 7 hours, 40 minutes and five seconds back in May.

Hells 500, the organisation behind the Everesting challenge and which adjudicates all attempts, said on Facebook: “One thing we never anticipated when creating this challenge for our crew was that it would one day be raced by riders at the top level of the sport. In fact, ironically, this challenge was set up as the antithesis of racing! That said, we appreciate and respect that whilst completion is the driving factor for the vast majority of participants, the appeal of setting new records for Everesting has clearly taken hold - and so we’ll need to adapt to that.

“Unfortunately we will never know how the situation may have differed if Lachlan had the independent segment analysis to hand pre-attempt.

“As painful as it is, we stand by our community’s decision to recategorise this as a (very large) Everesting Basecamp listing [a half Everest attempt], which means Keegan Swenson is restored at the top of the Everesting leaderboard.”

Hells 500 has now changed the procedure for record attempts by pre-approving segments to ensure riders will know exactly how many times they have to ride a climb, rather than retroactively analysing the data as in the current system.

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But Morton isn’t discouraged.

He said on Instagram: “Well looks like I gotta do it again."

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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.