How much vertical ascent is possible on an e-MTB? Ralph van den Berg and Max Chapuis climb 14,623m in 16 hours

Two e-MTB riders climbing up a gravel track in Switzerland
(Image credit: © Martin Bissig)

Anybody who has had a shot on an e-MTB has probably had the same thought, how much climbing would be possible in one ride? Well, Ralph van den Berg and Max Chapuis set out on an epic ride to find out, covering a massive 14,623m of vertical ascent and covering 220km in the process. 

The challenge was set in Switzerland, a place known for having an abundance of vertical ascent. To maximize efficiency they stuck to gravel roads in order to get to the top as quickly as possible. The return journey was a far more entertaining affair, riding singletrack trails back to their base camp.

A mountain bike does a jump

Business on the way up, fun on the way down (Image credit: © Martin Bissig)

Based on the Everesting trend, which involves riding 8,848m of vertical ascent, the height of Everest, in a single ride on a single climb. The challenge was inspired by former downhill professional and founder of Velo Solutions, Claudio Caluori, who set himself a similar challenge in 2020 and managed an impressive 13,500m.

To maximize daylight riding time the pair chose the summer solstice to give them plenty of daylight to take on their 16-hour epic, setting off at 4am. While daylight is always a limiting factor on these sorts of challenges, battery power wasn't as the team had a bank of batteries in order to give them full power for the entire ride time.

Two e-MTBers climbing up a gravel track

No time to hang around, it was full power on the climbs (Image credit: © Martin Bissig)

Plenty of charged batteries ready to go meant they didn't need to be too frugal with their power output, although there was still a fair bit of logistics required as all the batteries were at the bottom of the hill. "We were able to climb over 1,500 meters of altitude with a 700 Wh battery in power mode," says van den Berg.

Everesting challenges started on the road but it's something that has certainly struck a chord with the mountain bike communities. Most notably with the likes of Ben Hildred who completed a monstrous Double Everest, climbing 17,925 over 46 hours earlier in the year. For those that think all that climbing sounds like too much hard work, you could always try to beat Annie Ford who set the World Record for descending the most vertical on a bicycle. In March the Kiwi completed 100 laps via the chairlift at Coronet Peak and adding up to 42,030m (137,894 feet) total descent.

A bank of e-bike batteries charging

16hrs of e-MTBing requires lots of battery power (Image credit: © Martin Bissig)
Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. Based in Edinburgh he has some of the best mountain biking and gravel riding in the UK right on his doorstep. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.


Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg