It all started when triathlete Chrissy Kha Khrang saw a post on Everesting on a fellow cyclist from Europe’s social media page. She clicked the link in the post and that took her to the Official Everesting Discussion Group – that is hosted by Hells 500’s Andy van Bergen, the founder of Everesting. Kha Khrang decided to join the group.
“There were so many inspirational stories that I was motivated to challenge myself and find my mental strength, ” she enthused.
But, what exactly is Everesting?
“The concept is to pick any hill and ride up and down it repeatedly in a single activity until you climb a vertical 8,848m elevation, the equivalent height of Mount Everest, ” explains Kha Khrang who is co-owner and operator of HIIT2fit, a boutique fitness studio in Kuala Lumpur.
The good thing about Everesting is that even if you can’t go to climb Mount Everest currently because of the Covid-19 pandemic, you can do it at a hill located wherever you are, and even virtually.
To Kha Khrang, Everesting is much more than just a physical challenge; it requires immense mental strength.
“Everesting is a purely mental challenge. It’s not about the speed or time taken, but it’s about finishing what you start, and summitting successfully, ” she says.
“I’ve done 13 Ironman and Ironman Distance triathlons as well as other extreme endurance adventure races, but this is a whole new ball game, ” says the petite 34-year-old who was born in Myanmar and moved to Malaysia 15 years ago.
Almost like climbing Mount Everest, Everesting requires considerable preparation.
“You have to recce hills to select the most suitable one for yourself. Then you must measure the vertical elevation (height) of that segment of hill, total laps and distance; do safety checks; evaluate kinetic gains (potential energy from movement that helps in a climb); and ensure all your plans are according to the rules of Everesting before attempting it, ” she explains.
“Not only that, you have to set up a refuel station and pre-plan your nutrition breaks. So preparing for Everesting is a challenge in itself, ” she adds.
There are four main types of Everesting, Kha Khrang reveals:
Basecamp is climbing half the height of Everest to the Basecamp (4,424m), on one hill in a single activity anywhere in the world, with no time limit and no sleep.
Everesting is riding the height/elevation of Mount Everest (8,848m) in repeats of a climb, in a single activity anywhere in the world, with no time limit and no sleep.
10K is a single unbroken ride of over 10,000m height/elevation with no time restriction, no distance requirement, and no sleep allowed.
ROAM is for an over-10,000m height/elevation, with a 400km minimum distance and a 36-hour time limit, and sleep is allowed while the clock is ticking.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in vEveresting activity globally since people who are into extreme sports can’t go out to exercise.
The first Everesting attempt ever recorded was by George Mallory, named after his grandfather, the famous English mountaineer who went on the first three British expeditions to Mount Everest in the early 1920s and disappeared on Mount Everest in 1924. Mallory (Jr) rode and completed eight laps on Mount Donna Buang (1,069m) in Australia’s Victorian Alps in 1994.
Inspired by Mallory (Jr)’s effort, Australian cyclist van Bergen of Hells 500, cemented the format and rules of Everesting. He organised the first official group Everesting event comprising 65 riders, where 40 completed the ride. Hells 500 are the custodians of Everesting and they verify all attempts at Everesting before allowing them into the Hall of Fame.
Kha Khrang did her first virtual Everesting (vEveresting) attempt in April during the movement control order (MCO) and managed to clock 10,000m elevation in 27 hours.
“I surpassed the classic Everesting elevation of 8,848m and pushed on to 10,000m, ” she recounts.
That first successful Everesting attempt spurred her on to further adventures in the sport.
This time, it wasn’t just for the physical challenge but also a good cause, she says.
In May, a week after her first attempt, she went on her second vEveresting ROAM challenge.
“I finished it in 30 hours without any naps, even though sleep is allowed for this!” she laughs. “This challenge was to raise funds to support our healthcare heroes and I partnered with Autrui Global to buy PPE for our front liners.”
Everesting makes her more patient and persistent, she says. And it’s also a humbling learning experience.
During the recovery MCO in July, Kha Khrang did several more Everesting challenges, including one Basecamp (4,424m) and one Everesting (8,848m), at Bukit Prima in Segambut, Kuala Lumpur.
“I did my Everesting on a 700m hill with a 54m elevation gain and 165 laps. I clocked in 246km with a 8,898m elevation gain in 28 hours, ” she beams.
“For my Basecamp effort, I took 9.38 hours because the weather was bad. But that’s not a problem because I often ride from 4am until night time when Everesting, ” she says.
Obviously, a high level of physical fitness is required to do Everesting. But this isn’t an issue for Kha Khrang who is in extremely good shape. She is active in other sports such as running, swimming, hiking, skateboarding, HIIT and tennis.
Determined to succeed
There are no perfect conditions to attempt Everesting, says Kha Khrang.
“I just set the date, commit to it, and give it my all!” she says.
According to the Everesting Hall of Fame records, Kha Khrang is the only woman out of three persons who have done Everesting in Malaysia. The other two are a Malaysian cyclist from Sarawak and an expatriate from Switzerland.
There are only three successful Everestings and 11 successful Basecamp Everestings recorded in Malaysia currently.
In Asia, only nine women have done Everesting: two from China, two from Japan, four from Philippines, and Kha Khrang from Malaysia. She is the only one to have successfully done multiple Everesting challenges.
“I had to wait till the flood subsided and the two thunderstorms were over. But, I couldn’t wait any longer after six hours plus, so I decided to resume riding through the night in the rain and finally Everested in 28 hours, ” she recalls.
Kha Khrang reveals that the right nutrition is required to summit.
“Nutrition intake according to your metabolic rate is crucial and you’ll suffer if you fail to plan or fail to follow your fueling plans, ” she says.
“You also can’t over-hydrate because it may result in bloating and feeling nauseous, ” she adds.
Pacing is also very important in Everesting, Kha Khrang adds.
“Consistency is key. Riding consistently and efficiently, while keeping your heart rate low is the way to summit successfully, ” she advises.
There are certain rules in Everesting.
For some types of Everesting, no sleep is allowed.
You also can’t ride in a loop (rounding the hill) but you must ascend and descend the same stretch of hill, and you need to create an accurate route or segment.
Also, you must record your attempt on Strava (app that tracks fitness activity) and then submit it to Everesting.com.
“If you follow the rules and Everest successfully, your name will be in the Hall of Fame, alongside the best climbers in the world, ” Kha Khrang concludes.