The keeper of all things Everesting and holy, Hells 500 ruled Morton's attempt unverified and reinstated MTB rider Keegan Swenson as the world record holder.
By
Cycling Central

19 Jun 2020 - 12:14 PM  UPDATED 19 Jun 2020 - 12:16 PM

While it appeared to be initially verified, Hells 500 used data from a Canadian Cycling piece on his attempt to note a discrepancy in the segment Morton used, therefore officially erasing his name from the world record Everesting hall of fame.   

Morton used the '​Back Side of Rist​' segment which Strava notes is 1.93 km long and gains 213m. The Australian therefore climbed the segment 42 times in line with the Everesting rules. 

No doubt intrigued by Morton's Garmin 'lag' which read 8,509m, Canadian Cycling magazine delved into his Strava a little more and noticed he only gained 203m each time up the climb, despite the generic segment information elsewhere stating otherwise. 

"Digging further into his Strava data, we find that he was actually gaining only around ​203m per climb (not 213m as listed on the Strava segment). If we multiply 203 x 42= 8526m, which is close to what his Garmin reported."

Canadian Cycling then checked the data with the Open Topography website which states the segment only gains 190-200m and would mean Morton would've had to climb it 43.5 times. 

To avoid this happening in future, Hells 500 said it will pre-approve segments selected by riders for their attempts and use independent assessments and not just Strava. 

"Rather than retroactively applying additional rigor to our approval methodology," Hells 500 said on its Facebook page."

"After a new record is claimed, we feel that a fairer method is to pre-approve segments for record attempts.

"As mapping data varies in accuracy from country to country (and indeed the exact height of Everest itself is still a matter of some debate!) we will - to the best of our ability with the resources to hand - agree on a set elevation gain prior to an attempt.

"Unfortunately we will never know how the situation may have differed if Lachlan had the independent segment analysis to hand pre-attempt."

"As painful as it is, we stand by our community’s decision to recategorise this as a (very large) Everesting Basecamp listing, which means Keegan Swenson is restored at the top of the Everesting leaderboard."

Morton said on Instagram that he did check the segment with Hells 500. 

"I checked this segment with them prior."

But it appears Hells 500 will now ensure pre-approving segments is an ongoing part of its Everesting verification process.