Red Bull Der Lange Weg, the world's longest ski tour started on 17th March 2018 from Vienna, Austria, and will terminate at Nice, France. The ski mountaineering group traversed the Alps in 40 days. Seven international athletes, Tamara Lunger, Núria Picas, Janelle Smiley, Mark Smiley, David Wallmann, Philipp Reiter and Bernhard Hug are trying to set a new time record on this exciting alpine expedition which traverses through a distance of 1917km in distance and more than 85000m of cumulative elevation gain. They dared to accept the challenge after nearly 50 years. Tamara Lunger, who summited Pik Pobeda (3003m) in last winter with Simone Moro, mentioned in her Facebook account that this is the hardest challenge of her life.
In 1971, Austrians Robert Kittl, Klaus Hoi, Hansjoerg Farbmacher and Hans Mariacher skied the entire crossing of the Alpine divide from east to west in just 41 days. They are the first and so far the only – athletes to have completed the entire distance. They chose the most challenging route, which included some of the highest mountains of the Alps, such as Großglockner (3798m), Piz Palü (3900m), Dufourspitze (4634m) and Mont Blanc (4808m).
The 2018 team plans to follow the route of 1971 as accurately as possible and will try to beat the existing world record. After day 1, the team managed to trek 44km with 2880m elevation gain within nine and half hours.
Tamara Lunger (Italy): Tamara Lunger (31), two times Italian Champion in ski mountaineering and U-23 World Champion in 2008. Lunger became the youngest female climber (aged 23 years, 11 months, and 17 days), to have reached the main summit of Lhotse on 23rd May, 2010. In 2015-2016 winter season, she attempted to ascend Nanga Parbat with Simone Moro for the first time in winter.
Núria Picas (Spain): Núria Picas (41) is a Spanish female sky runner and trail runner. She won the title of the Skyrunner World Series in 2012, Ultra-Trail World Tour in 2014 and 2015, Hong Kong 100 and Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc in 2017.
Janelle Smiley (USA): Janelle Smiley (36) is a ski mountaineer and mountain climber. She won the North American Ski Mountaineering Championships in 2012 and 2014.
Mark Smiley (USA): Mark Smiley (37) is a professional photographer, filmmaker and mountain guide. He skied Mt. St. Elias (5489 m), Canada, Huandoy East (6000 m), Peru, and Denali (6190 m), Alaska. Few years back, he embarked on a journey to complete the "Fifty Classic Climbs of North America" along with his wife Janelle.
David Wallmann (Austria): David Wallmann is a trail runner and ski mountaineer. He won the Reither Kogl Trophy and Nesslangerlalm Aufstieg in 2017 as well as Schönleitentrophy and Gaissau Hintersee Trophy in 2016 in ski mountaineering. He also claimed the title at Stubai Basic Trail and Zugspitz Trailrun Challenge Marathon 2017 as a trail runner.
Philipp Reiter (Germany): philipp Reiter (26) is a ski mountaineer and mountain runner. He is the member of German national selection of ski mountaineering. In 2017, he secured posititon at Südtirol UltraSkyrace in Bozen (ITA) and the German Ski Mountaineering Championship, "Jennerstier" in Berchtesgaden (GER).
Bernhard Hug (Suizerland): Bernhard Hug (44) began his career as a mountain runner and as a team member of the National Swiss Triathlon team. The 44-year-old took part in 20 Ironman competitions. Since 2012, he is responsible for training ski mountaineering athletes for competitions at Swiss Alpine Club.
Some Photos of 1971 expedition
Photo Courtesy: Red Bull