WHERE DID YOU GROW UP AND BECAME AN ALPINIST?
I was born in Annecy, and I still live there. For those who don't know that, is the "Venice of the Alps": a beautiful town in the French Alps, overlooking a famous alpine lake that attracts tourists from all over the world. I really like it because there are several crags for climbing, the lake and the views are incredible. In just one hour you are in Chamonix, for a mountaineer it is simply paradise!
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE MOUNTAINS? YOU SEEM TO BE AN ECLECTIC AND VERSATILE MOUNTAINEER.I started going to the mountains thanks to the ski mountaineering and the run. When I was younger, my goal was to reach the top of the mountains as fast as possible.
Little by little, I started to become passionate about mountaineering and to appreciate the technical lines. It was a very natural path, because I always liked climbing, it was a matter of taking that passion to the highest mountains, choosing more and more difficult routes.
AS A MOUNTAINEER YOU PUSH YOURSELF TO YOUR LIMITS, TO THE CONCEPT OF THE EXTREME. YOU ARE ALSO A MOUNTAIN GUIDE, SAFELY ACCOMPANYING YOUR CUSTOMERS. HOW DO YOU COMBINE THESE TWO ASPECTS OF GOING INTO THE MOUNTAINS?
However, I admit that since I've been a professional mountaineer I work a little less as a guide and dedicate more time to training.
There are very strong mountaineers (French and not) around the Alps, and I am happy to be part of this generation. For me it is very inspiring, I feel motivated to bring out the best in myself. When I see someone pushing their limits, or what my friends do, like Benjamin Vedrines, François Cazzanelli or Symon Welfringer, I want to do it too. I think what we have in common is an open and generally positive and enthusiastic mindset. I often climb with the same climbing partners, because they may live closer to me. However, when there are big projects at stake, it's always a great opportunity to find new companions and bring different skills together!
YOUR MOUNTAINEERING IS MADE OF SOLO ADVENTURES, BUT ALSO OF ACHIEVEMENTS SHARED WITH STRONG CLIMBING PARTNERS. DO YOU FEEL PART OF A COMMUNITY?
DO YOU LIKE TO PUSH YOURSELF TO THE LIMIT OF DIFFICULTY OR SPEED?I'll say.... both! Although it depends on each individual project. And in any case, even when I'm climbing on challenging terrain, I always try to go as fast as possible.
IT IS NOT EASY TO COMBINE THE DYNAMISM AND POWER OF SPORT CLIMBING WITH THE ENDURANCE REQUIRED FOR ALPINE ROUTES. WHAT IS YOUR BALANCE?I try to climb with some regularity, I think consistency is the key to success. I really like endurance sports, which I have practised since I was a child. Even today I still train with my bike or running shoes. To be efficient on big walls you need a good mix of high grade climbing and aerobic endurance. It's not always easy to be at the top by changing activities frequently, but that's the beauty of mountaineering, you need a bit of everything!
AT WHICH POINT DO YOU FEEL BEING IN YOUR "CAREER"?
I'm still very motivated. When I succeed in something big and for which I have been preparing for a long time, a part of me registers the experience as a climax. The peak of the mountain, the culmination of a crescendo of effort and emotion from which there is nothing to do, but descend. Yet, after a while, another idea arrives, another dream. It is as if I wake up again, once more ready to give 100% of myself, simply because it is my way of living life! I realise that in addition to all the training, time invested and mental preparation, luck also plays its part. Other mountaineers have not been so lucky.
WHERE ARE WE GOING TO SEE YOU IN THE NEXT MONTHS?
During the spring I'd like to go climbing on Mount Dedegol, in Turkey. There are many routes that intrigue me. We might even be able to open a new route, who knows! Maybe then this summer I will go to Pakistan with my friend Clovis Paulin.
TRAINING, MOUNTAINS, MOUNTAINEERING PROJECTS, PEOPLE WILL OFTEN TELL YOU THAT YOU'RE LUCKY TO BE DOING WHAT YOU LOVE, TO HAVE A DAILY LIFE OF PASSION AND DREAMS TO PURSUE. IS THERE ALSO SOMETHING YOU DON'T LIKE ABOUT THE LIFE YOU HAVE CHOSEN?
I don't like to be constantly absorbed in speeches, arguments and activities regarding the mountains. My balance is made of hard training and big projects in my head. However, in addition to all that, it is important for me to try to disconnect myself from this world as much as possible. That's one of the reasons why I chose to live in Annecy, just out of the mountains: many friends don't climb and I like to spend time together talking about other things or sharing different aspects of life. And then there is the big downside, which anyone who goes to the mountains knows well: some friends, up there, will leave forever. That's something I accept, but it still makes me very sad....
YOU ARE SO RIGHT. SO YOUR LIFE ISN'T JUST ABOUT MOUNTAINS AND CLIMBING?
Absolutely not, I also have a family! My daughter is four years old, I often take her to the woods and the peaks around the house, we have a good time. I also like to spend quality time with friends: not necessarily climbing, but maybe having a coffee, paragliding or, why not, organising a nice party!