Whenever EP asks us, “Did you see this?”, we know it’s going to be good. Our friend recently sent us a link to a Red Bull documentary of 100m OCR World Champion Thomas van Tonder training for the world’s longest rope climb. And wouldn’t you know it, he was wearing MudGear!
For perspective, the typical Spartan Rope climb is between 16 to 20 feet. That’s about 6 meters. Now multiply that by 15, and you get some idea of the physical strength and endurance it would take to climb 90 vertical meters without descending and with minimal rest. Not only that, Tonder would simultaneously attempt to ascend the first half of the rope at a record breaking pace. He would need to complete 50 meters in 5 minutes.
While the record attempt would take place at Soweto Towers in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tonder’s crew created a type of rope treadmill that would afford him almost seamless continual indoor rope training. That’s where he put his 2015 OCRWC edition MudGear socks to the test.
Our fearless leader, Malko, had rope climbs specifically on his mind when we developed his first pair of tall compression socks for a company he would soon name MudGear. While the goal has always been to make the best socks possible for obstacle course racing, we are still humbled and honored every time athletes choose MudGear to crush obstacles and defy perceived limitations.
Along with indoor training, the documentary shows Tonder preparing for the mental and physical toll that high, outdoor climbing can have on an already adrenalized body. He and his crew spent time repelling and climbing South Africa’s Magaliesburg Mountains in his favorite MudGear socks.
Finally, on November 17, 2020, Thomas destroyed the Guinness World Record for fastest 50m rope climb at 3 minutes 19 seconds. However, that kind of redline pace leaves nothing left in the tank for the ill-prepared. Fortunately, Thomas was anything but that. As he approached the exhausting final quarter of his climb, a crew member in his earpiece directed him to, “Enter Beast Mode.” And the rest was history.
Watch Rising with the Sun, the short documentary of Thomas van Tonder climbing 90 meters in just over 9 minutes.
Thank you, Thomas, for making MudGear part of your story!