Many mountain climbers have climbed Europe’s highest peak, Mount Elbrus, which is 5642 m high – but this Russian powerlifter, Andrey Rodichev, has managed to do the unbelievable. He was the first man ever to climb the peak with a loaded 165lb barbell on his back !!!
While most gym goers would probably struggle to squat that weight 20-25 reps, Andrey Rodichev managed to carry the barbell uphill for 5.6 km (~3.5 miles) in the most harsh weather conditions and terrain.
What he’s done is combine two very different sports – trekking, which requires amazing endurance, and powerlifting, which requires short bursts of pure muscle power. Everyone knows that endurance athletes are usually lighter to be able to cover greater distances easily, while in order to be able to lift big weights, the athlete needs to be more massive. By combining the two disciplines, Rodichev managed to set a new athletic standard.
For this challenge Andrey lost about 45lbs of weight. During his preparations he would run 1.5 to 2 hours in the morning (with additional weight of 25lbs on him), and in the evening he would hit the gym for his powerlifting workout.
The track to Mount Elbrus is not as hard as Mount Everest for example, but try to climb it with 165 lb barbell on your back. In fact try carrying that barbell for 200-300 yards on your back and you’ll see how hard that is. And yes, most mountain climbers carry heavy backpacks while climbing Mount Elbrus, but they all leave most of the gear before the final ascent.
Rodichev’s goal was to raise awareness about powerliting in his hometown, Murmansk.
“The federation has no professional equipment for competition and training,” he told the media. “A professional 480 kg. barbell set costs 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.”
The bar itself weighted 45 lbs and it had two 55lb plates loaded onto it. It was attached to Rodichev’s back using special straps. The journey lasted for eight days flat, with average climbing speed of about 50 meters per hour. Some parts of the track were so difficult that the Andrey was covering just 15 meters in an hour. The mountain top was conquered on September 6. He was accompanied throughout by professional instructor and climber Alexander Sukharev.
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.