Jean Troillet

Jean Troillet profile - © Jean Yves Fredriksen
Jean Troillet profile - © Jean Yves Fredriksen

Switzerland

CHE
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Photo portrait: 
Jean Troillet profile - © Jean Yves Fredriksen
Date de naissance: 
10 March 1948
Lieu de résidence: 
Valais (Switzerland)
Formation: 
Mountain guide, ski instructor, canyoneering guide
Statut actuel: 
Himalayist, helli ski guide, speaker, conference organizer
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2000

«I have been a mountain guide since 1969. I became seriously involved in mountaineering in the 1980s when I began organizing expeditions to the Himalayas. I would say I’m a high altitude expert. I discovered my passion for climbing at altitude by accepting the invitation of a friend to go to the West Pillar of Makalu in 1982. Mountaineering has created many great friendships throughout my life. I enjoy the experience of being with friends and the elegance of taking the same path together. What I dislike are political borders. I like to reflect upon the notable achievements that have been reported by the press. Things like: “The team of Lorétan-Troillet succeeded in climbing 8000-meter peaks in the Himalayas, climbing through day and night, with only a minimum of gear, almost nothing"

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«These days, the thing that motivates me to go on expeditions to climb 8000-meter peaks, at 63 years old with a full, and successful career behind me, are the adventures that I experience with my friends who have amazing spirits and infinite respect for people and nature. Being tied into a rope with my friends is more important than any summit. In the past I have had the opportunity to climb with some extraordinary partners and even today I get to climb with friends like Martial Dumas, Jean-Yves Fredriksen or Sébastien Devrient our cameraman. These young, strong, friendly climbers contribute their technical ability to the team, and they draw upon my experience at high altitude. It’s not up to me to impose anything on the team, we each just contribute our strengths.»
 
 
Explorer
«To be an explorer is to have a certain spirit. Is it instinctive? Maybe. You have to love to discover yourself in the process of searching for something. The areas I prefer are the Himalaya, the South Pole, and the Great Canadian North. Above everything else I love the beauty of the wilderness, and above all, the people who live in these landscapes and who have become my close friends. What I love to do most is to walk in the wilderness. Walking on foot is the foundation of my sport. I draw my inspiration from adventure and discovery. The qualities needed to want to attempt an 8000-meter peak are inevitably to have a tenacious character and a great capacity to accept suffering. Most character traits necessary for altitude climbing are instinctive to me and connected to my personality. They are also exemplified through my sport, which requires me to be patient at times and have the ability not to be too stubborn or strong-minded. While climbing at altitude I have experienced times of suffering that were very painful. In these cases, you have to know when to let go and to come back for another attempt at another time I also learned during these experiences that to get angry with yourself helps you forget the suffering.»
 
 
Victory, that’s life
«This is my motto. We feel alive when we reach our limits. For example, at basecamp, we have only the essentials, but at the same time we have everything we need to be happy. We rediscover the simple pleasures of daily life.»
 
 
«One thing is certain: when I travel with friends, I return with these friends.»

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Emily Harrington

Emily Harrington - photo © J. Roth
Emily Harrington profile - photo © J. Evans

USA

USA
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Photo portrait: 
Emily Harrington – photo: © Justin Roth
Date de naissance: 
17 August 1986
Lieu de résidence: 
Berkley, California
Formation: 
International Affairs
Statut actuel: 
Professional climber
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2002

Climbing is a lifelong journey
Climbing is a unique sport because it is also a lifestyle and a lifelong journey. There is always a new place to visit, a new style to learn, a new way to experience climbing and explore the world. For example, I climbed an artificial wall when I was 10 and begged my dad to take me to the climbing gym after that. Since then, I have primarily sport climbed, but more recently I’ve gotten into mixed and ice climbing, as well as some minimal mountaineering (summited Everest and Mt. Blanc in 2012).

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Finding a balance
I like running and more recently have discovered skiing again after quitting at age 13 to pursue climbing. I don't enjoy only climbing all the time and prefer to have a balance, which can be hard to find when one's job title is "professional climber." I also enjoy writing and reading to escape and go into my own world when I'm traveling and heavily immersed in climbing.

 

Where to climb? Where to live?
Spain, of course, is my favorite spot for sport climbing, because it's just that good. I love visiting the Himalaya, in Nepal, because of its insane beauty and rich culture. I just recently moved to California to live because, in my opinion, it has everything: good weather, beaches, and mountains.

 

Sources of inspiration
I find strength, energy, and inspiration through traveling, meeting people, having adventures, and experiencing new cultures. Sasha DiGiulian is also an inspiration for stepping it up for all females and doing what she loves without concerning herself with negativity. I consider Conrad Anker, our team captain on The North Face Team, to be a mentor. He's a badass and loves what he does. I was on Everest with him this past spring. I've never seen someone so psyched to be suffering. He's passionate and motivated to share his love for the outdoors, which I think it super inspiring.

 

Personal motto 
Do not accept unwanted advice; write your own story. 

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François Damilano

Francois Damilano profile - photo © Bertrand Delapierre
Francois Damilano profile - photo © Bertrand Delapierre

France

FRA
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Photo portrait: 
Francois Damilano - photo © Bertrand Delapierre
Date de naissance: 
30 December 1959
Lieu de résidence: 
Chamonix (France)
Formation: 
State degree in special education, Mountain guide
Statut actuel: 
Mountain guide, writer, filmmaker
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
1985

Desire and ambition: a long-term relationship
«I had the chance to experience the golden age of ice climbing and I still love to climb at the end of a valley in full winter. My life as an alpinist has been marked with an indelible seal by the world of ice climbing.  In the early eighties, I found a synthesis between sport climbing and alpinism, two practices that tended to be differentiated by separate worlds. In ice climbing, I found the movement and the pleasure of rock climbing combined with the mastery of risky terrain that is important to an alpinist. In ice climbing, I have also made some great friendships with those tied into the other end of a rope.
The image had a strong influence on me and I love to try to carry the aesthetic of a mountain that has beaten me, or escape from a line that has made an impact on me. After that it’s the stories of companionship. Those with photographers and filmmakers. Their skills have taught me to look for the best light, select the material, transcend the impatience of a climber. It’s a way to not get locked inside the intemperance of the performance. In a photograph or film, this manifests itself as the choice of the best framing to elicit an emotion, of an angle used to tell a story, for many people to see, or simply as a way to keep a memory for a few moments of our lives as climbers. Finally, later, now, to dare to make my films from behind the camera and show things differently. Perfect my view, refine the dialogue, try to let others tell their stories by combining my mountaineering experience with my passion for the image. More than stories of climbing, I love the stories of climbers.»

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See further...
«I have climbed for quite awhile now… and, as in climbing, my journey is marked by a few key passages. Feelings of discovery emerge, the satisfactions of performance, the complicities of friendship, tears from dramas and the joy of motivation. Years forced to take a turn: the loss of recklessness. It’s perhaps because of this that today I am trying to keep from locking myself in my own caricature. Certainly, the practice of ice climbing is a ‘big part’ of my life as an alpinist, but it has also allowed me to go beyond that, to see differently and to learn from practices other than my own. Without being a writer nor a filmmaker… I have actually spent a lot of time making books and films. Today, I focus my guiding practice on the people I am with, at very high altitude, which forces me to explore other ideas and take a necessary step back from the practice of the sport, in my practice of the sport. Today, breathing life into a publishing house (JMéditions) is a way to use my pen to hatch the writing projects of others. The author publisher relationship is also like a climbing partnership. Today, to swap my ice tools for a camera is to walk away from the role of a climber ‘who takes the stage’ to talk about something new and give birth to the narrative. To find the angle of a story is to sharpen the critical analysis and not be soothed by convention.
Today, I continue to live my childhood dreams fuelled by the stories of Rebuffat, Terray and Desmaison. Their books and films inspire me to leave my comfort zone. I have always been sensitive to those who find the ability to juggle their passion (climber), their work (mountain guide) and the taste for publishing.»

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Francois Damilano - photo Bertrand Delapierre
 
 
 
 
Francois Damilano - photo Bertrand Delapierre

Audrey Gariepy

Audrey Gariepy profile - © Cory Richards
Audrey Gariepy profile - © Dan Elridge

Canada

CAN
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Photo portrait: 
Audrey Gariepy - © Cory Richards
Date de naissance: 
3 September 1979
Lieu de résidence: 
St-Jean-Chrysostome (Quebec)
Formation: 
Sports teacher
Statut actuel: 
Foreman for Celtic Reforestation
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2008

A lifestyle choice
«I graduated from university in 2002 and was planning to become a sports teacher. However, I began climbing during my last few years of school and by the time I finished school I was completely addicted to the climbing lifestyle. So instead of looking for a job as a teacher I decided to buy a van and go looking for adventure. In order to make a living and to pay for my trips I began working in the forest planting trees during the summer. It’s been eight years since I chose this lifestyle. Time has passed and I am now a foreman and for three or four months every summer I work with a team of 16 planters. This enables me to have the free time to do what I love most.»

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«As the years have passed climbing has become more than just a hobby. Everything I do seems to have a connection to climbing: the seasonal work that I chose was originally so that I would have more time to climb and travel. Now, it’s impossible to imagine what my life would be like without climbing. In life, I think it’s important to live every moment of every day. It’s obvious that most of us will grow old and that we must think about this as well, but that should not be the guiding force in our lives. Climbing allows me to appreciate every little moment. It helps me focus on the here and now. During the autumn I climb as much as I can to get in shape. Then when winter arrives I go as often as I can to the Canadian Rockies, to a paradise of ice in the heart of these magnificent mountains, to take advantage of the long ice climbing season there.»
 
Another important thing in my life
«TO BE is more important than TO HAVE.
I am happy I don’t have too many material things.
Of course, climbing gear doesn’t count. ;-) »
 
Feeling alive
«I have always felt a strong need to play outside. When I was a kid, my parents struggled to keep me inside, especially in the winter when it was cold outside. When I started rock climbing in 1999 I immediately loved the feeling I got from this new activity: to be outdoors, to focus on every movement, and to be aware of everything around me. It seems to me that everything I previously worked on in my life has made me a better climber. When I was in college during the winter I had to climb indoors. I loved that time but after a year I needed to get outside more often. That’s why I started to ice climb, which satisfied my love for climbing and the outdoors during the long Canadian winter. I became addicted very quickly. There are so many new places to explore and techniques to learn... I love getting up early in the morning and driving while it is still dark, half asleep and listening to music, making the approach by headlamp while watching the sun slowly rise, and then arriving at the base of the route. Nothing in life gives me that same feeling of being alive as ice climbing. I am completely focused on the first and last movement, aware of the sounds that my ice tools and crampons make, aware of everything around me. I don’t have time to think about what I’m going to eat for dinner and, in any case, I won’t be home in time to cook. It’s a feeling that’s both quiet and intense. Of course, when I’m fully exposed to the cold wind and freezing my derriere at a belay, or when the blood finally returns to my fingers after a long cold spell, I sometimes ask myself why I love this so much. Fortunately, I quickly forget as soon as I look at everything around me. I feel so small in the middle of these giant, snow-covered mountains. I am so lucky to be there and doing what I am doing.»
 
Planting trees
«When I am not climbing, I love snowkiting, working with wood, reading, watching movies... and eating ice cream. However, my work represents a big part of my life. From April through July, I am responsible for a strong team of planters and together we plant around 30,000 trees per day. The days last close to 15 hours so I don’t have much time for climbing. But my work represents another of my passions and I love this short break from climbing.»
 
My favorite places
«I love to travel in the northern Canadian territories. The people there are very proud of the place where they live. It seems like time passes more slowly there and that everyone talks about this place with stars in their eyes. Another place I really like is Nepal. The people from the Khumbu valley really impress me. They carry and build everything with their hands. Simply to bring fruit to their village it is necessary for them to leave Lukla for several days. I was very impressed by their mental and physical strength, just like the giant, endless mountains that surround them. I should also mention Iceland because this country is also so incredible. When Inès Papert and I were there we had really good luck with the weather and we could climb as much as we wanted. We even climbed 1000 meters of vertical ice in a day. But if I was forced to choose only one place, it would have to be Norway. I get a big smile every time I think about my trip there in February 2008 with Guy Lacelle, Mathieu Audibert, Chris Alstrin and Alex Lavigne. Our timing was perfect and there was so much ice to climb. Driving along the fjords, through tunnels, high into the mountains and then down again… it was magic to be there with someone as experienced as Guy who guided us to the best places and who radiated positive and contagious energy. The ice was incredible and I think that we made some first ascents (that’s what we thought, anyway). But what made this trip so great was the other people, the guys I travelled with. To be with great people is now more important for me than the destination.»

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I remember
«In 2003, when I had begun working as a tree planter, Guy Lacelle was my foreman. That’s how I first met Guy and working on his team was an honor. He worked as hard as possible every day, always giving his best. Without asking us to do the same, he provided the best example and that encouraged the entire team to give 100 %. Rain or shine, he was always happy to work. He wanted to do something good for the planet and he felt responsible for a great team that planted trees every day. We felt like he was proud of us. The following winter I had the chance to meet Guy in completely different circumstances, in a world that he preferred more than any other: ice climbing. All the qualities that he showed when he was planting trees were present but in a cooler environment. I was still a beginner ice climber and Guy taught me and I quickly improved. He never told me explicitly what to do but he would always tell me things that would make me think and react. Guy was my mentor and an incredible source of inspiration. He could always get the best from everyone.»
Guy Lacelle died in an avalanche in Bozeman, Montana in 2009
 
 

 

Alexander Huber

Alex Huber profile - photo © Sam Bié
Alex Huber profile - photo © Sam Bié

Germany

DEU
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Photo portrait: 
Alex Huber - photo © Sam Bié
Date de naissance: 
30 December 1968
Lieu de résidence: 
Berchtesgaden (Bayern, Germany)
Formation: 
Physics
Statut actuel: 
Mountain guide, professional mountaineer
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
1993

I caught the bug for extreme mountaineering
«When my brother and I were kids our parents introduced us to the mountains and to mountaineering. My father, well known in the 1960s for his fast ascents of the North Face of Les Droites, passed on to us his passion for extreme mountaineering. My home – with my family and friends – is the foundation of my life. What is important is to have integrity in whatever situation life presents. Without this solid foundation as a springboard, I would not be able to venture off in new directions. This is why I have been working with most of my sponsors for more than 15 years. In 1997, I received a Master’s degree in Physics at the University of Munich. This education also served to strengthen my foundation as a climber.»

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Arnaud Petit

Arnaud Petit profile - photo © Tony Lamiche
Arnaud Petit profile - photo © Thomas Vialletet

France

FRA
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Photo portrait: 
Arnaud Petit - photo © Tony Lamiche
Date de naissance: 
17 February 1971
Lieu de résidence: 
Céüse, France
Formation: 
Master's degree in Physics
Statut actuel: 
Professional climber, high-mountain guide, author, photographer
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
1994

Giving meaning to my passion
«I like doing things right, even if it takes time. Generally, my most significant projects come to me in a passionate, spur-of-the-moment manner, without planning, shaped by the people I've met and the activities I’m doing at the time. Once this happens, the project provides meaning to my life and becomes the most important thing, as if it had always existed.
I want to discover new places, new people, and share what I've understood about, and learned from, climbing. I like meeting other climbers, and the mutual encouragement we provide each other. I like that there's an atmosphere, moxie, and emulation among climbers, even if we're not on the same routes.»

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Exclusive
«The people who inspire me are those who do things passionately with focus, whatever their level. I discovered climbing with my dad, who took me climbing for the first time when I was around eight. During my youth, I never imagined being able to make a living by climbing. I never saw myself being a technical consultant for a brand, like René Desmaison, nor writing books or organizing expeditions, filming, or giving conferences. Yet only climbing mattered, and I really admired people like Gaston Rébuffat and his books (The Hundred Finest Routes), or those who invented new gear. What I really love is putting up new multi-pitch routes, imagining a line and checking to see if it works, either ground-up or on rappel, depending on the wall. It’s undoubtedly a privilege to be the first to send these new routes. There’s no rating to go on, which means a good deal of uncertainty that forces me to focus and climb in the moment. I like skirting that limit where I might fall while trying something that seems more than a little uncertain. I sometimes joke that “I specialize in all disciplines”, which really means being average at everything! To do this kind of work, you need willpower, you need to apply yourself, and you also need to be somewhat creative. You need to be able to get some perspective on things and know how to anticipate.»
 
My favorite spots are Céüse, and Taghia in Morocco
- «Ceüse, is where I started dreaming about climbing really hard routes. I live right near the cliff, which allows me to take advantage of the site off-season, when it's less crowded.»
- «Taghia is a place I've spent a lot of time climbing in, and I've developed a connection with the villagers there. It's a close relationship, given the extended periods of time I've lived there.»
 
My motto
«Freedom means knowing how to recognize what's really necessary.»
 
Arnaud’s anecdote
«I really enjoyed belaying and supporting Stéphanie when she led Free Rider on El Capitan. I thought to myself how lucky I was to have a front-row seat to watch the love of my life accomplish such an amazing feat.»

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The video playlist featuring Arnaud Petit

Xavier De Le Rue

Xavier De Le Rue profile - photo © Xavier De Le Rue
Xavier De Le Rue profile - photo © Xavier De Le Rue

France

FRA
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Photo portrait: 
Xavier De Le Rue - photo © Xavier De Le Rue
Date de naissance: 
1 July 1979
Lieu de résidence: 
Saint Lary, French Pyrenees
Formation: 
Business degree
Statut actuel: 
professional athlete
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2008

I have the chance to experience the evolution of my sport
"For a long time I was best known for my titles in snowboard cross. But recently I’ve had the chance to devote myself to my lifelong passion for freeride snowboarding. I spend my time traveling for different film projects. I also spend a lot of time competing on the Freeride World Tour. Since my days as a grom I always loved riding the powder at the sides of the slopes. Since then, my progression has been guided by passion. This is the chance for me to take the bull by the horns and enjoy the mountains, travel, and be open-minded to new things. It’s also my job. I have a beautiful life. I am very lucky and I should remind myself of that more often. I love powder, but I don’t like avalanches. This is a pretty basic premise but it describes the dilemma I face. The most difficult thing for me is to know how to judge the snow and the conditions. Nothing is ever 100% sure. It’s important to keep your feet on the ground even when you’re stoked out of your mind about the conditions. Snow, by definition, is an unstable medium: unpredictable, unexpected. Sometimes it slides and we don’t know why. Other times it stays where it is and we don’t know why either. The crew at Petzl consider me to be a specialist, an expert on avalanches, but snow will never be an exact science. I always start with the basic premise not that the snow might possibly rip but that the snow is going to avalanche. What little I have learned on this subject is the result of many years of experience and of discussions with ski patrollers, the guys who are in charge of setting off the avalanche explosives every day, and from talking for hours and hours with super-experienced, high mountain guides."

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Multi-talented
"Outside of my day-to-day work, beyond my job, when I’m finished filming for videos and public relations, I love the freedom of climbing and mountaineering. I love to touch the rock and spend time in the mountains. It’s a unique time for me, just for fun, even if what I learn I can also apply to my snowboarding. I also love surfing because it’s a healthy activity and it’s the purest sensation of sliding sideways. As for downhill mountain biking, there is not, in my opinion, an activity more stupid and dangerous. It’s just crazy how stupid it makes you feel and it brings up some tough questions for me to ask myself. It all depends on how you approach it… The problem is that I never want to hit the brakes, I don’t want to stop, I don’t want to do things halfway. Because of this I have to strictly control myself when I’m riding. To take this big of a risk, I have to be in great shape, on point with my anticipation, have total clarity when I choose my line, and really know what it means to improvise in emergency situations."
 
 
Alaska
"I have been to Alaska many times and this year, for the first time, I appreciated the good things it has to offer. I don’t like the stress of hanging out at the heli base or the ‘overcoolitude’ of the people there. But this year I camped 80 kilometers away at the first human-powered base camp. It was far away from everything and I finally understood the value of the snow in Alaska, or you could also say that I developed an appreciation for ‘spines’ and Alaska is the land of spines. I’ll let you imagine what happened next. It was amazing… For those who don’t follow me, Alaska is known for all these coastal freeride areas that offer astronomical quantities of snow, and not just any kind of snow either. This is a type of powder that’s loaded with humidity so it sticks to really steep faces. It tends to form the famous ‘spines’ that are like vertical ribs to which the snow sticks and,due to its stability,provides a really fun side of freeriding. This is comforting to know following a storm with three feet of accumulation and high wind. Basically, everything together makes it possible to ride places that you wouldn’t even think about riding here. It really did me a lot of good to spend some time up there, far away from the circus (heli companies, freeriders spraying about their latest sessions, the people who come to experience Alaska before returning to New York), and after doing so I’ve grown to love the place.
You have to understand that after several nights in the tent and getting up at two o’clock in the morning to start hiking, that it’s difficult to get the same amount of runs as when you take the heli (in terms of action, but also because we’re a long way from anywhere and we’re responsible for our own safety and rescue) where you get stronger and ride steeper and steeper lines as the day goes on."
 
 
A new dimension
"But there is still this aspect of stress that is hard for people to understand. After a long session of traveling and jet lag it feels so good to find myself alone in my tent, sleeping, thinking, no computer, no telephone… Before now I’ve never been a big fan of Alaska but now things are different, it’s like a new dimension has opened: I just want to stop with the heli and get myself lost as far away from all that tourist business as possible. I enjoy life and all these sports are a great way to enjoy it. The mountain also provides simplicity, which allows you to escape from certain superficial aspects of life. It is a simplicity that, after a nice little break, helps you appreciate the important things in life. To each his own… In any case, it’s a good reality check for people who live their lives on the road and who are always in the media spotlight."
 
 
A certain kind of skier or snowboarder
"When I am on a face or summit, inspiration comes on its own. There is always a line that stands out, that attracts me and that I feel. It’s a gut feeling. All you need are good technical skills, the ability to keep a cool head, and to want it. It takes a person with a bit of a ‘rock n roll’ attitude, a dose of wisdom, a love of risk and of the mountain."
 
 
The benefit of experience
"Experience is the added value I get from everything I do, at least I hope it is. When I have decided on a line and I drop in, I don’t stop, I go all the way to the bottom. I believe the most important thing is to know myself well enough to be able to look at a line and imagine myself riding it. The rest of it – accurate analysis, mental strength, judgment, control, and emotion – is the natural result of a Cartesian balance. It’s all a result of long-term experience that enables you to push more and more, year after year. And in the end, for that one day that is truly perfect, a smile is all you really need. You have to believe."
 
 
Xavier’s anecdote

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Ueli Steck

Ueli Steck profile - photo © coll. U.Steck
Ueli Steck profile - photo © Tony lamiche

Switzerland

CHE
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Photo portrait: 
Ueli Steck profile - © photo coll. U.Steck
Date de naissance: 
4 October 1976
Lieu de résidence: 
Ringgenberg, Switzerland
Formation: 
carpenter
Statut actuel: 
professional mountaineer
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2007

The spirit of climbing
“I grew up close to the mountains and started climbing at 12 years old. I discovered the cliffs alone, by myself, which was a big accomplishment. Mountaineering is the perfect place to think and learn. The rules are simple and very clear. I like that, it’s easy to understand. If you don’t bring a sleeping bag that’s warm enough, you’ll be cold. If you’re not strong enough, you won’t succeed in the ascent. It’s important for me to share the good spirit of climbing with other people. I like to be with people who pay attention to the way they climb. The style, the attitude, the way in which of the ascents areconducted, are all very important facets of a climb.”

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Focus on excellence
“I am a multi-discipline climber. I love rock but also ice and my primary objective is to be at ease in the big mountains, like for example the Himalaya and beyond. I want to be at ease in all facets of climbing in which I may find myself, from the easiest to the most extreme. I love to push myself and test myself against nature, but I do not like to compete against other climbers. My biggest problem is finding the balance between pushing myself enough and risk.  Finding that balance feels a little bit like a game. The important question is ‘How do you weigh this balance?’ and not ‘Why do I risk my life?’ I accept a high level of risk, but within the limits of my ability. Trying to master something that is essentially uncontrollable is not easy to manage. From my experience in the Himalaya I have learned that you have to be very fast while you are on-sighting and climbing in more and more difficult terrain. To me, to master this game seems like a focus on excellence. My primary goal is to strengthen my mental game, and I’m happy to live an intense life. It’s by forging that one becomes a blacksmith. A climber becomes a Himalayan expert step by step. To be able to think of setting speed records while soloing I have to improve at both rock climbing and ice climbing, and above everything else, endurance. I train almost every day just above where I live by running or ski touring 1600 meters of elevation gain.”
 
 
Himalaya
“I like Nepal and the Himalayas a lot. They are real mountains and I like to be there. We have to hike multiple days to arrive at base camp because there are no cars. If we want to go somewhere or visit someone, we goon foot. I like the country’s culture. The people are optimistic even if their life is very hard. In general, I like people with a lot of character. People who actively choose their own lives, not people who follow others.”
 
 
To keep growing
“I need to renew myself regularly and spend some time at home, just to have a few moments of calm and be able to concentrate on a dream. But I am also very determined. If I have an idea, I go for it. My main source of inspiration is a thirst for learning. Knowledge offers freedom. To acquire this knowledge, you have to learn. To be free, you have to be at ease and to be at ease you have to train often and hard. To become proficient in many disciplines, at a high level, you have to understand the sport completely, you have to be passionate and you have to accept, above all, that you might find yourself feeling at times like a beginner, like a student, and to continue to learn. This is important to understand if you wish to be good at many disciplines and your primary objective is success.”
 
 
My motto
“Everything I can imagine, is possible.”
 

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This video is part of the ReelRockTour - video courtesy of Mountain Hardware
 
 

Video playlist featuring Ueli Steck
Watch Ueli sending "the Secret" (X, 10) during the Scottish Ice Trip in Ben Nevis

 

Stéphanie Bodet

Stéphanie Bodet profile - Photo © Stéphan Denys
Stéphanie Bodet profile - Photo © Sean Leary

France

FRA
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Photo portrait: 
Stéphanie Bodet - Photo © Thibault Saubusse
Date de naissance: 
14 March 1976
Lieu de résidence: 
Céüse, Hautes-Alpes, France
Formation: 
CAPES degree in modern literature, currently working on climbing instructor certification
Statut actuel: 
professional climber, French teacher
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
1996

Life on the wall is a great source of personal enrichment and self-knowledge
“I have had the good fortune to be a part of some beautiful expeditions and wonderful trips with Arnaud. I have powerful memories from all the big walls I have climbed, especially the bivouacs that are often so incredible. I want to give my best in order to be successful at something I am passionate about. In learning how to open big routes, I have noticed that I appreciate more and more a certain ethic that, in my opinion, keeps the game of climbing on the right track. Without taking risk too lightly, I really like routes that demand a certain level of commitment, that require you to focus and give 100 %. I don’t get a whole lot of pleasure out of climbing chipped routes, very little in fact. I don’t think this is elitist because regardless of your level I think anyone can hold this opinion. In Céüse, I sometimes climb with the young, new generation of climbers. It’s great to see them motivated by the same things and to see that ethics is not something that only older climbers are concerned about. On the contrary, they are often tougher than us on some points.”

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Don’t be afraid
“I like all kinds of climbing but most recently I’ve focused more on big wall climbing. I never dreamed that one day I would be living my passion. At the same time, as a child, I dreamed of becoming a shepherd or an Egyptologist. I was attracted to the unknown, adventure and wildlife so my current lifestyle does not surprise me that much. When I climb, I’m focused on the present, the future is limited to the next hold. I forget my worries, I forget myself and at the same time I have the feeling of being one with the rock. This is something I love and which is indispensable for me. I find it in other activities as well like yoga, writing and gardening. Life suddenly seems so simple. I feel good when I climb. I love to be outside in nature where I can find balance. What feeds me is the extraordinary richness of the sport from bouldering to sport climbing to leaving on an expedition. It’s pretty rare to find a different culture just as it’s difficult to find new walls. One lifetime is not enough to explore all the different aspects of climbing. Climbing is a great way to get schooled in humility. I try not to focus my attention on grades but more on how this or that route is going to challenge me or what I will learn. I am attracted by the climbing styles that I have not mastered and that make me feel like a beginner each time I try them. This renews my motivation and my curiosity. In the end, it is often the dreams of children that are actualized, or more simply, that dreams become possible once we accumulate enough experience to make them happen. That was the case for me with Trango Tower. As a young competition climber I already had dreams but it wasn’t until a few years later, after I had taken the mountains seriously and climbed a lot of granite, that the dreams became reality.”
 
 
Nature and…
“I often go for walks where I take the time to observe nature, watch birds and identify animal tracks in the winter. I am fortunate to live near Céüse in the Hautes Alpes. I admit that it’s my favorite place for climbing of course, but it’s also about the quality of life you find in the Gapençais valley. This area has remained wild with very little development and the countryside is really diverse. These are the same things that I love about Verdon. Each spring in Céüse, I marvel at all the activity around the cliff. This crag is a great home for birds and I love to watch them. I believe that, like other animals, we are only tenants of the earth. It’s not a problem to skip an 8a route that is in a place where birds are nesting. It’s interesting to watch a chough with her red beak feeding her babies in the nest, or to enjoy the dance of swallows as they build their fragile earthen nests in the holes made by the waterfall or on Biography wall. Elsewhere in the world, I love Taghia in Morocco because of the scenery and the people who live there. I’ve been going to Taghia every year for the last eight years. I’ve made some close friends and I have learned to speak a bit of Berber, which makes the trip even more rewarding.”
 
 
Literature as well...
“I’ve enjoyed reading since I was very young. My literature studies have led me to explore different authors. I have read many classics, contemporary novels and for the last 10 years, I have specialized in travel literature (Ella Maillard, Bruce Chatwin, Alexandra David-Néel…). I especially like the stories of the tribulations of Sylvain Tesson. These days I don’t read as many novels because I find myself more interested in poetry: Valérie Rouzeau, Philippe Jaccottet, Michel Jourdan, Yves Bonnefoy, Bashô, Emilie Dikinson, Henri Michaux… The book that affected me the most is without a doubt “l’Usage du Monde” by Nicolas Bouvier. His style moves me and I love the way he writes about the countryside through which he travels and of the people he meets. It’s a book that makes me want to turn myself into a balloon so that I could fly across the world. This year, I have resumed my studies and my work on Bouvier but I have also wandered from the prose of Giono to the philosophy of Nietzsche, gone through the memoires of Simone de Beauvoir and ‘Essais de Montaigne’, Henri Miller and Kenneth White… In the end I have not written a line but I’ve got some great memories. I have no mentor, the closest to that for me are the writings of those who sometimes disappear for thousands of years in which I find the questions that are close to my own, but written more beautifully. This gives me the sense of belonging to a community spirit.”
 
 
I don’t really have a motto, but…
“When I feel too hyperactive or unsatisfied with a day, I love to remember this beautiful phrase from Montaigne: “I did nothing today. What? Have you not lived? It is not only the most basic but the most illustrious of your occupations.
 

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Sam Beaugey

Sam Beaugey profile - Photo © David Ravanel
Sam Beaugey profile - Photo © Tony Lamiche

France

FRA
header
Photo portrait: 
Sam Beaugey - Photo © Collection S.Beaugey
Date de naissance: 
3 June 1971
Lieu de résidence: 
Chamonix, France
Formation: 
ENSA (National Ski and Alpinism School)
Statut actuel: 
mountain guide
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2000

I learned about myself by growing up in the mountains
"My father was a high-mountain guide and he taught me about his mountain. This experience continues to add meaning to my life. The purpose of my own climbing is to conquer the useless, but more importantly to share the essence of the adventure and at the same time respect nature with a big smile and loads of good times. The main value that I share with my climbing partners is commitment. I want to show that mountaineering is not limited to a single discipline, but that it’s lots of different practices and there is always something new to discover. The joy of flying after a nice climb has become essential for me and my goal is to make the descent as significant as the ascent. The most difficult part of that is all the different injuries that come from the landing accidents."

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My circle of family and friends provide a strong foundation
"I am very close to my family and friends and especially my parents because, thanks to them, I can travel to the end of the world. The people I am closest to now are my childhood friends: Jérôme Ruby because he’s Jérôme, Dean Potter because of the dream he is living, my brother for his life that is similar to mine, Erwan Le Lann and Manu Pellissier because these guys are like brothers to me, brothers of the mountain. My inspiration comes naturally through all the other climbers and I have enormous respect for the older generation. They make me dream. I admire them. Through them I have learned to be patient. And in the same way I appreciate the work of all climbers who have contributed to the progression of mountaineering particularly through the development of gear. I think about the pioneers tinkering with their headlamps after a good caving session and I know that it’s because of the dreams of our adventurous fathers that we are able to have our own dreams today."
 
 
An evolutionary process
"It’s obvious to everyone that I participate in the evolution of mountaineering but I am also tuned into gathering all the information - whether it’s about new spots, walls, beta from everyone, and weather forecasts - thanks in part to this incredible medium to exchange and share information called the web. The entire Alps, for example, are an extraordinary playground for kids like us. We can no longer talk about exploring the area itself but we can continue to explore things like techniques and skills in new ways. I don’t consider mountaineering to be an activity, but more like everything that can be done in the mountains. The word ‘everything’ should be understood as being a lot of different activities with each activity having the same level of commitment, positive attitude and good vibes. If I can contribute towards the invention of serious new products for sport that’s not serious, then that’s awesome. Sport is not serious because in the end it has no value in and of itself. However, if it is one of the best schools for learning discipline."
 
 
As if planet Earth was my own backyard
"I don’t think I’m crazy but rather that I have an open frame of mind that allows me to think of planet Earth as my own backyard, or at the very least, as an incredible playground. The places I enjoy most on Earth are the polar regions and the Canadian territories. For example, my wildest dream is to go on a space shuttle and boost a little jump of 20,000 meters off a cliff on Mars. But seriously, an idea that’s more in line with what I do would be to leave for three years to climb from the Antarctic through the Americas to the North Pole then back to Antarctica through Asia and Africa."
 
 
Communicate
"With the Lineprod company we organize events, business seminars and conferences. We also partner with organizations that help kids experience the mountains through events like the ‘Raid Choucas’, a free adventure race for kids from France and Switzerland. Another example of the kind of things we do was during our Antarctic expedition in 2010 when we had online discussions via satellite phone with Swiss and French schools in Vallorcine and Maurienne."
 
 
My motto
"Tell your story and split."
 
 
Sam’s anecdote
"I have always had a special relationship with bears. I have never seen a blue bear but there has been a polar bear near my tent. He took a bath, dried himself, then sat on his haunches and looked at us with a sneer. Another time in western Canada I walked for six hours without water in full winter to get past an avalanche that had blocked the route. There were grizzly tracks and although I never saw him I was afraid every step of the way."

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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

Video playlist featuring Sam Beaugey :

 

 
Big wall aid climbing in Baffin Island :

 

 
Holtanna Antartica project preparation :