Activity of the Year


Photography by: Seb Montaz-Rosset

Hillary Gerardi’s female Fastest Known Time on France’s Mont Blanc was not just impressive, it may never be bettered. That epic triumph has bagged her Strava's Activity of the Year award. 

Hillary Gerardi's Fastest Known Time (FKT) on Mont Blanc earned worldwide plaudits for many reasons: her speed, her technical prowess, and her patience to wait a number of years before conditions on the mountain opened the 'right' window to the summit. 

On June 17, 2023, Hillary set out at 2am from Chamonix, France, with the goal of seeing a new female FKT on the iconic Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s tallest mountain standing proud at 15,771 feet / 4,807 metres. The stats are mind-boggling – 20 miles / 32.6km conquered in 7 hours 25 minutes and 28 seconds. That's 26 minutes faster than the previous record set by Emilie Forsberg in 2018.

Hillary went all out, taking a different route to the summit than Emilie's. She went for the steeper, more technical, and less exposed North Ridge of the Dome du Goûter and the Bosses Ridge, avoiding a risky serac fall area. This FKT wasn't your run-of-the-mill outing. It was an impressive mashup of skills and disciplines, blending mountaineering with trail running. Hillary had to be quick, strong, and seriously on point technically. 

That’s because the mountains are changing. Glacier melt and unpredictable snow conditions meant that Hillary was forced to wait years to make this attempt. What’s more, as the climate continues to change, the safety and viability of the route she took becomes more and more unknown. 

To be successful in her attempt, Hillary called on local experts. On the day, she enlisted the help of as many women from the Chamonix community as possible. She aimed for an all-female ascent with different partners for each segment of the FKT, depending on their skill set. 

READ THE FULL STORY: Hillary Gerardi: The Fastest Woman on Mont Blanc

Hillary's training for this epic feat wasn't just about hitting the gym. She tackled vertical ascents, mountain routes, and strength training throughout. It was more than just preparing for a run; it was about continuing her mastery of the intricacies of mountaineering – glacier travel, crampon-ing, crevasse rescue skills. She had to be prepared for anything. An FKT on a new course meant a mix of trail running and alpine climbing, and being ready for conditions that could shift at any moment. She also honed her gear to a tee, shaving grams of weight off everything she could.

And here's what we love most about Hillary – she's not just about breaking records for personal glory. She inspires the Strava community and beyond to embrace our passions and hurdles, all while staying aware of our impact on our environment.

Hillary Gerardi

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