By Sumitra on September 17th, 2015
Lots of mountain climbers have scaled
Mount Elbrus – Europe’s highest peak (5642 m) – but no one has quite
managed to do it like Russian powerlifter Andrey Rodichev. He recently
became the first person in the world the climb the mountain while
carrying a 75-kg barbell on his back!
That’s a decent load for most people
to lift even at the gym, but Rodichev managed it in the most grueling of
conditions. What he’s essentially done is combine two very different
sports – trekking, which requires amazing endurance, and powerlifting,
which requires short bursts of pure muscle power. While the former
requires lighter body weight, the latter demands that athletes bulk up.
By fusing the two, Rodichev managed to set a new athletic standard.
In order to prepare himself for the
arduous trek, he trained twice a day, seven days a week. Every morning
he would run on the streets for an hour and a half with an additional
weight of 10 kg. In the evening, he would work out at the gym. He lost
about 20 kg of bodyweight to reach the ideal weight for the challenge.
Although the trek up Mount Elbrus is
relatively easy for mountain climbers, the additional 75 kg posed huge
challenges. Most hikers carry backpacks that weigh about 25 to 30 kg,
but they usually leave most of their gear at the bottom before beginning
the final ascent for Mount Elbrus. The outcome of Rodichev’s attempt
was unpredictable, but he was determined to achieve his goal – to raise
awareness about powerlifting in his hometown, Murmansk.
“The federation has no professional
equipment for competition and training,” he told the media. “A
professional 480 kg. barbell cost 500,000 rubles ($7,650), but the city
and regional administration has no money, ever. I want to do this to
draw attention to the Powerlifting Federation in Murmansk region.”
When the time finally came for him to
begin the journey, he attached the bar to his back using specially
designed straps. The bar itself weighed 20 kg and was loaded with two
discs of 25 kg discs. It was undoubtedly an excruciating trek – he moved
at an average speed of 50 meters per hour, and in some areas even
dropped to 15 meters per hour. The last two days saw terrible weather
conditions, but he finally managed to reach the summit on September 6,
in eight days flat. He was accompanied throughout by professional
instructor and climber Alexander Sukharev.
Rodichev is now regarded a hero, and
rightly so. The bar he carried has been installed at the top of Mount
Elbrus, as a monument to his incredible feat. The entire journey was
also filmed on video, and the footage will soon be used to make a
documentary. For now, Rodichev is looking for someone who will attempt
to break his record – he’s promised to assist anyone willing to do so.