Urban Zemmer Goes Vertical.


The vertical kilometer in Fully, Switzerland is the fastest vertical kilometer (VK) in the world. Just like the Manitou Incline, the Fully VK is an old funicular route. Here are some more details on the course:

Vertical: 1000m
Course Length: 1920m
Average Grade: 52%
Steepest Grade: 60%

As I’ve mentioned in the past, VKs are popular in Europe. They are just starting to get some attention in the United States. Unfortunately, we don’t have the Alps to “practice” on, and VK courses end up being much longer than the European courses.

photo credit: Didier Ançay

photo credit: Didier Ançay

On Saturday, many of the best mountain runners assembled in Fully, and the conditions were excellent. Urban Zemmer (ITA) shattered the old world record and became the first person ever to complete a vertical kilometer in under 30 minutes. Check out the video below to watch Urban powering up the climb.

Not to be outdone, Christel Dewalle (FRA) took a record of her own, completing the vertical kilometer in 34:44.

Full results of the vertical kilometer are available here.

*** Mike Short (SUI) finished the VK in 38:51. He is 66 years old.

Just to put it in perspective, three Empire State Building climbs would still not equal a vertical kilometer.


A vertical kilometer is 3,280 feet – what is the biggest “hill” you’ve ever gone up in a race?

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3 Responses to Urban Zemmer Goes Vertical.

  1. charissarunning says:

    Wow…just wow. That’s all I have to say.

  2. Maria Mintz says:

    This reminds me of climbing in the White Mts. in NH. Darmouth students used to run up and down the mts. with supplies like it was nothing. I guess this is how you could practice vertical climbs in the US.

  3. MihaiTN says:

    That looks pretty nasty !

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