Hi Fanny. You’re a mountain guide and a climber. Tell us about where you live and how important it is for you to wake up every day in the mountains, or whether it’s enough to be in a strategic place with easy access to mountains and airports.
“I live in Servoz, a small village just 10 km outside Chamonix. I grew up here and I don't think I’ll ever leave. Partly because all my friends and family are here, and also because I feel at home here. I really love this place, and it’s perfect for both climbing and working as a guide. Although I love visiting different and faraway places when I can, and Servoz isn’t exactly a convenient location, I feel good here, surrounded by the mountains. I’d never change my lifestyle.”
Do your days have a kind of routine?
“Not really. My life is very dependent on the seasonal nature of my guiding work. In summer and winter, I work in the mountains nearly every day, but between seasons I’m usually away on expeditions or climbing somewhere in France. When work’s really busy I can’t do much training, because I don't have time. But working outside as a mountain guide every day isn’t a bad way to train… If I’m planning an expedition, before I leave I work on resistance, but never as much as I’d like; I never have enough time! Another thing I have to confess is that I love good food; for me it would be impossible to follow an athlete’s lifestyle! Cheese, red wine, great food… that’s my routine!”
What are you looking for when you’re in the mountains? What makes you say in the evening ‘that was a really great day’?
“In the mountains, I’m seeking adventure, freedom, adrenaline and friendship. A good day stands out for the smiles on everyone's faces afterwards, whether they’re clients or friends! I like to spend as much time as I can in the mountains, with people I respect and feel comfortable with. I consider it a luxury to spend several days on a route in the middle of nowhere, away from everything. “I’m not a particularly romantic person, but the beauty of the place I’m in makes me feel alive.”
Freedom and safety. How do you balance these two aspects of your work as a climber and a guide?
“The mountains are still a place of incredible freedom, and the limit is the risk an individual is willing to take. As a guide, I have all the equipment and skills to take my clients into the mountains safely. When I’m with friends, maybe tackling a difficult route or on an expedition, the risks are greater, but the goal is always to get home safe and sound.”
The pretext for our conversation is the Ribelle Tech 2.0 HD, which you’ve been trying out in recent months. What’s the ideal terrain for these boots?
“Definitely classic all-round mountaineering; Alpine ridges and easy climbing routes. They’re lightweight and accurate. They're also very good on approaches because they’re not bulky and they’re light enough to carry in a rucksack when you change into climbing shoes. They're perfect for my guiding work!”
What do you think of the current pandemic situation? What are your views, worries and hopes?
“It’s a strange time, that’s for sure. But in spite of everything I’ve had plenty of work this summer. I’ve been really amazed by so many people’s desire to get into the mountains and spend time in nature after the months of lockdown. I think the mountains were even more crowded than usual because of that! Let’s see what happens this winter…
When it comes to travelling, this year has been a wipeout, and part of me can’t wait to get back to it! But another part of me is patient; I’ve put many plans on standby - they’ll have to wait - and I’m content to make the most of the wonderful places France has to offer for climbing. And also, let’s admit it, sometimes it’s good to slow down…”
Credits: Giovanni Zaccaria
Photo credits: Mathis Dumas