What is the ultimate test of climbing? For mountaineers, one answer towers, literally, above all others – summiting Mount Everest, at 8,848m (29,028ft) the highest mountain in the world.
For cyclists it is less clear cut.
But what is Everesting? The concept, which is oh-so-diabolically simple, is to pick your hill and ride it repeatedly until you’ve ascended the equivalent height – 8,848m – of Mount Everest from sea level.
The only real rules are that it must be an up-and-back along the same road and that it must be achieved in a single ride – no sleeping!
Given that an ‘average’ tough and hilly ride might have 2,500m of climbing, Everesting in a day is no mean feat.
For local rider Glenn Sherlock and Hells 500 crew member (a group of cyclists who like climbing hills) the idea of climbing the height of Mount Everest in a single ride was both inspirational and slightly daunting.
“The first ascent of Everest in 1953 had started a race [for people] to claim more difficult routes, harder mountains, and a dozen other variations that still see records being set today,” Glenn said.
The Hells 500 guys also envisaged a race – a race to be the first to ‘Everest’ a climb by riding repeats (or laps) until it ticked over to that magical 8,848m mark.
“We could Everest a hors categorie (a climb that is beyond categorisation) icon, but equally you could Everest any old suburban hill, so long as somebody else hasn’t already done it. We are limited only by our imagination of what we’d like to ride,” he said.
Glenn explained the criteria for Everesting was, “you have to notch a minimum ascent of 8848 vertical metres, all in one continuous cycling effort”.
The mountain or hill or “elevation” is entirely open to your choice, though the shallower the hill you choose the longer (distance) and more time it will take – choose a hill too gentle and you’ll run out of time before needing to stop and/or sleep.
Glenn chose the iconic climb of Jenolan Caves Five Mile.
This climb has an average grade of 5.1 per cent.
To achieve an Everesting it required 22 laps resulting in a total climb of 8,934 vertical metres, 352 kilometres ridden and total elapsed time for riding of 24 hours 12 minutes and 30 seconds.
He started at 1.30pm on Thursday, March 5 and finished on 1.30pm on Friday, March 6.
The first Everesting was achieved by a man called George Mallory in 1995 (who is the grandson of the climber of the same name, famous for his valiant but doomed attempt in 1924 to become the first man to summit Everest).
In the early 1990s George Jr was training for an expedition to the North Ridge of Everest, and came up with the idea of riding his bicycle up and down the 1,084m Mount Donna Buang, near Melbourne in Australia, until he’d achieved the same elevation. On the first try he managed only one ascent before his legs gave up.
Eventually, after several more attempts, he attained the magic 8,848m.
Glenn described the experience as one of the hardest rides he has completed yet.
In preparation for the attempt Glenn completed a 320km ride in the Alpine Classic in January through the Victoria Alps along with lots of other miles on the roads around Oberon.
Glenn would like to thank everyone who supported him.