Liv Sansoz

Liv Sansoz - photo © Evrard Wendenbaum
  • 12 February 1977
  • Savoie (France)
  • Master 2 with research in neuro-cognition and social cognition, qualified climbing
  • high-level athlete
  • 1994

Passion, excellence, humility, to know and respect the mountain
«I want to follow my passion, to dream, to achieve those dreams and then share them in the hope that they will inspire other women and men climbers. When I have an idea, I charge it. I do things thoroughly, I get fully involved. My main activity? It’s climbing in many different forms: sport climbing, mountain routes, bouldering… I love the different approaches and the diversity. Climbing gives a certain meaning to my life. It’s what drives my motivation and some of my desires. Climbing is an excellent school of life. It allows me to live and share exceptional moments, to meet particularly interesting people and to continually evolve. Climbing has many beautiful aspects. Above all I love the pleasure that comes simply from climbing, sharing it with others who are experiencing the same thing with the same intensity. Then there is the beauty. The beauty of the line, the beauty of movement, the beauty of a battle in which one commits oneself to a successful route. Finally, there is the feeling of freedom and of privilege. Climbing is a sport, a part of which is to give of yourself and become fully committed. I love the idea of a project. To leave from Point A and arrive at point Z via a series of steps (B, C, D,…) that are all experiences that further enrich our lives. That’s how I work. Even if I sometimes doubt myself or find myself moving away from my project, there are always signs and desires that bring me back. And when I have an idea in the back of my head, I listen and fully commit to it.»

One with nature where I grew up
«In France, we have a multitude of great places for everything from bouldering to mountaineering with fabulous sport climbing in between. It’s difficult to say which is best between Fontainebleau, the Verdon, Gorges du Tran and all the other sites with excellent rock and magnificent routes, not to mention the many alpine routes between Chamonix, les Ecrins en Oisans, etc. Personally, I have more connection with the mountains where I live and where I was born than with a climbing area. My ancestors are from the same valley so my roots are deep. There is a certain kind of connection with the nature where I grew up. I have the impression that I am part of the trees, of knowing the rocks in the river and to feel a certain well-being in the mountains that surround me. I feel like I am a part of nature here and not some foreign object that’s been added to the scenery. It is the same for the people. I know a lot of the locals who live in Bourg Saint Maurice from grandparents to grandkids. All of this because I am not indifferent to the changes that have happened in the valley: the problems of urbanisation, the development of new ski lifts and pistes that destroy the mountainsides, of the snow culture and the overcrowding in winter.»
«I am interested in human nature. I like to understand how we function. I like to learn about others and about myself, or simply learning to learn. I love to be surprised and challenged by my interactions, by exchanges and their effects. Sometimes a simple meeting makes me aware of a very important element in my life. Without meeting this person, it would have otherwise taken years.
At first I was completely focused on questions centred around performance. How do you explain that one climber should win while another climber never reaches the top when they have the same physical level, technique, strategy? But my interest in human nature is becoming greater with time. Also, for me it’s very important to pass along certain things to the next generation. To participate in my own way to their progression. To inspire others to live their dream, to inspire their aspirations and give them a boost of energy. This is often done implicitly. And then one day I receive a letter, an e-mail or I see someone who says thanks because three years ago or ten years ago I have said or done something that has triggered a desire or motivation in that person. It’s powerful. That’s what I try to do when I’m working with a young person to help them with their performance (more commonly called mental preparation). I accompany them in their high-level preparation, but I also try to give them the keys to their future lives as adults. It’s extremely rewarding.»
Inner strength, energy
«It’s an inner strength when we feel something that we cherish and which goes with a certain determination, will and imagination. Imagine that these things are possible and to be capable of putting every effort towards success. This inner strength is a kind of energy, a fluid. And energy is everything. It is the basis for all action, for all emotion, for every desire and dream. This is what makes it possible for us to do the things we do. Our energy drives us and pushes us in everything we do. Strangely, I also want to use the word ‘mission’. I see my energy as if my mission depends intimately upon it. But it’s difficult to describe it further.»
Inspiration, experience, dreams, travel
«I love to read mountaineering stories and novels as well as books that are more philosophical. When I was a teenager, I was touched by the book “Les Carnets du Vertige” (Tales of Vertigo) and its main character, Louis Lachenal. You could say that he really inspired me. I loved the hardcore side of his personality. But there is also something else. We feel that beneath his tough shell, there is a man with a certain humility, a certain etiquette. Through his physical strength and strength of character, there is something beautiful. And also, I love his can-do attitude: no time to lose on the approach, no time to question yourself when faced with an obstacle, learn to cope, react at the right time and in the best way to a situation. In any case, this is how I saw him. As for the reading of certain books, there are journeys that we all take and which pass. And there are journeys that make an impact on you for life. I think it’s all a question of convergence at a precise moment of your life. Connecting… once again. Connecting with a country, with the people of that country, and with yourself. The journey at this moment of your life will not be the same experience nor have the same impact as if we had done it three years ago. It is the same for a book. For the connection to work properly it should also be linked with other things: our energy, our desire to open up to things, to others… Seen from this angle, a journey doesn’t necessarily have to be a long one.»

picto plus Major ascents

- First place, World Cup lead climbing, 1996
“The World Cup circuit took place on several stages, primarily in Europe. I was a bit of an outsider who was able to win stages. As the circuit progressed, victory was possible. I totally had to win the last stage and that’s what I did.”

- World Champion in lead climbing (at the age of 19). Paris, 1997
“This competition will always be an extremely strong memory for me, etched forever in my head and in my heart. To win a world championship is a unique experience regardless of the sport. And then to win in France before a French crowd made this victory even more special.”

- First place, World Cup lead climbing, 1998

-World Champion, lead climbing, Birmingham (GB), 1999
“The world championships are held every tow years, so this was my second consecutive victory. There was definitely more pressure and this competition was not easy to manage from a psychological point of view. So it was really rewarding personally to have put everything into it at the final bell.”

- First place, World Cup lead climbing, 2000
“My last year of competition. This was a very eventful year, emotionally speaking, the one where I competed in the most superfinals. Even if my focus on competition kept me away for long periods of time from the natural world, it will always remain for me a magical year. Competing a this level was an excellent school of life, a motor and a source of unspeakable emotions.”

Sport climbing
- Mount Charleston (Nevada USA) “Hasta la Vista” (8c/c+) 2000
“At the time we were only two women to have reached this level, Josune Bereziartu will always be an inspiration. Hasta la Vista made me experience beautiful sacred emotions.”

- Hueco Tanks (Texas USA) “Chablanke” (V12/8A) 2004

Big wall
- El Capitan (Yosemite USA) “The Nose”
“I had no experience on a big wall or with crack climbing. It was a real adventure full of joy, of doubt, of fatigue and of emotion shared with my climbing partner.”

picto photo Photos

picto video Videos

Video playlist featuring Liv Sansoz

Liv Sansoz climbing in Redriver Gorge - photo © Fred Labreveux

picto featured Liv and the Petzl team

«Feelings, the values underlying the practice are my passion, transcendence, humility, the connection to, and respect for, the mountain. I think these values are shared by all the members of Petzl Team and not only by the climbers. I want to live my passion, have dreams, achieve my dreams and then share them in the hope that they will inspire other women and men climbers. The team brings us closer together and allows us to share events together many times a year. It also allows us to know the athletes in other fields (adventure racing, spelunking, trail running,…) and to discover new horizons. Personally, it’s more than a team. I have the feeling that I belong to a Petzl family.»