I grew up in the Chamonix Valley in a little village called Les Houches about 7 km from Chamonix city. No one in my family was a mountaineer or even aware about alpinism. At 14 I discovered rock climbing with my father , thanks to my uncle. And then I signed up for the rock climbing club in Chamonix. We were a bunch of teenagers learning how to climb with some mountain guides.
At age 17, I reached the national team in the CAF (French Alpine Club).
At 19 years old I reached the national team FFME (French Mountaineering and climbing Federation). During those 3-4 years inside national federal teams, I met lots of good climbers and we got some help to realize some nice project like going to Slovakia or Pakistan. Coached by strong alpinists and mountains guide, we learnt a lot during our ascent, particularly how to push our limits both technical and physical staying alive !
I become a mountain guide at 21. At first I didn’t like it. I was too young and not ready to become a professional mountain guide. I went back to my studies and became a material engineer. I’ve always liked to think how to improve my gear, how to make things easier, safer while climbing.
While studying, I guided during my free time and it gave me the opportunity to understand better the job, its obligations and its joys. At the end of my studies, I worked 1 year as an engineer for Petzl in charge of the field test program (I was asked to create a network of people able to test in the fiels our new products before salling them). After one year, I missed the mountains too much and I went back to my first passion to live as a full time mountain guide in Chamonix.
Mountains are both beautiful and dangerous; They are also so powerful in a good way! But as any other thing in the world it’s never black or white, and the mountains are dangerous too!
I lost of my best friend Karine in 2009. Karine was my best friend since I was 14. We learned how to climb together; we did our first mountain experience together when we were teenagers. We climbed Eperon Frendo in the north face of aiguille du midi. Mountains give you the best for sure but can take the best one too! To be honest, I’ve lost lots of friends or people that I knew in the mountains and I don’t like his fact. As a professional mountain guide, fully passionate by alpinism I would like to push everybody to experience the feelings I have when I ‘m in the mountains. But in the same time, it doesn’t worth losing his life!! So in 2010, I became the director of a very important association in Chamonix, La Chamoniarde whose main goal is to prevent mountain accident. My job was to teach people how to go to the mountains in a safe way from the 1 day trekker to the super extreme alpinist! It is not easy to learn how to be safe in the mountains, particularly when you are young that’s why I managed to built a program to teach young people the basics of climbing in a safe way no matter how hard you could climb! This program is called “PrevRisk Jeunes” and allows 25 kids between 15 to 20 years old to learn from professional mountain guides. I don’t want to see young people injured in mountain accident anymore…
I learnt a lot from this experience because I discovered the rescue world (I worked a lot with mountains rescuers) and I understood better why people are sometimes scared of going to the mountains. It’s a scary world up there and even if its beauty attracts a lot, you need to explain what’s going on up there to have fun safely!
All my life was driving by my passion for the mountains.
For me being in the mountains is just freedom. Freedom from every little worry you can have in your mind. The funny thing is that most of the people think that your best memories goes with your hardest routes or experiences but after 20 years of experience I can say it’s not true. Doesn’t matter where, when, how fast you go, how hard you climb, you will live some fruitful moments. Last week I went for a hike above Chamonix. It was fun and I walked longer than I planned and saw the sunset on the Mont-Blanc range: it was so wonderful! Peaceful. I came back home full of a new energy.
For me, but I guess it is very different for every climber, I just love being in the mountains. It is natural, simple and so peaceful! I don’t care about numbers about doing the hardest route, collecting the 7 summits or the 14 8000m peaks. Climbing mountains is an endless game and each experience is unique. I like to change, to discover to feel new stuff. That’s why I climbed some 8000m peaks (at least 1 Cho Oyu), went to the desert in Jordan, did some very difficult rock climbing in the USA, and climbed in the cold of Alaska, in the wind of Aconcagua… There are so many different kinds of mountains to climb! I don’t collect mountains; I just climb because I love to climb!