The Vertical Kilometre

I’m not a runner. Actually, I really dislike running. Jogging in a city is almost as bad as on a treadmill, and I despise both. But going up a hill or a mountain, now that’s a different thing! Le Brevent can be seen  from my balcony in Cham, but the 2525m summit is too ambitious a goal for a quick, after work hike. Its ‘Vertical Kilometre’ is, as it turns out, is just perfect.


To classify as a ‘Vertical Kilometre’ a trail has to gain 1000m in elevation over less than 5km distance. The one up Brevent reaches the required hight in 3.8km. That’s it’s pretty freaking steep!




When my EpicTV colleague Elena suggested we gave it a go I wasn’t particularly enthused. Elena is an ultra marathoner with amazing endurance, so running with her up a trail that resembles a staircase scared me a bit. Yet a Monday evening we hopped in her car after work, and headed to the Brevent.


As soon as I set off on the trail my fears were gone. Wasn’t it exactly what I used to do as a child with my mum in the Tatra Mountains? Unless you’re Kilian Jornet, you don’t really run the Kilometre; it’s more of an energetic hike. It feels super exhilarating to push through the weakness in your calfs and gluts, knowing that you need to go just a little bit longer, and the reward of the summit is just a few turns of the trail away. Easily attainable fitness satisfaction with beautiful Aiguille Du Midi views thrown in the mix. Take some pictures, pick some delicious wide strawberries, and the Vertical K becomes a great evening option.



I was pretty psyched to reach the top in 1 hour 10 minutes, although  it seems we didn’t do it the right way, starting from Chamonix town centre. So, my Vertical K is probably more like Vertical 950 metres, but I’m not particularly precious about that. After all, I’m racing only myself, so I can make up the rules as I please.


Elena and I are planning to do the run (hike?) every Monday after work, and I’m very curious to experience the progression in our endurance. I’d love to be able to actually break into a run for longer stretches of the trail. Will we do it in under an hour? Or maybe even in 45 minutes? Or maybe we will get even slower as the excitement fades, but for sure we’ll have a lot of fun, and loads of wild strawberries this Chamonix summer.


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