08 Aug '12, 4pm
Dakota Jones writes of the need for and parallels between progression in ultrarunning and mountaineering.
Maybe. Legendary climber Albert Mummery famously said: “It has frequently been noticed that all mountains appear doomed to pass through the three stages: An inaccessible peak – The most difficult ascent in the Alps – An easy day for a lady.” This is progression of the sport. What worries me is that people will forget that this is a progression and not some static state, and leap immediately into the cutting-edge. Running up Mont Blanc was cool, but the climbers I passed had on all that gear for a good reason: mountain climbing is a dangerous sport. A freak storm, an avalanche, even high winds – anything at all could change the nature of the run from a cool day’s outing to an epic. To protect against this, climbers have traditionally carried lots of warm clothes and climbing gear. That speed climbers today eschew most of this gear in no way means it is useless. They trade o...