Jorg Verhoeven

Jorg Verhoeven profile - © Erwan Lelann
Jorg Verhoeven profile - © Reni Fichtinger

Netherlands

NLD
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Photo portrait: 
Jorg Verhoeven - © Erwan Lelann
Date de naissance: 
5 June 1985
Lieu de résidence: 
Innsbruck (Austria)
Statut actuel: 
Professional climber
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2008

The journey of a competitor
«No matter what their discipline is, all athletes pretty much share the same feelings. In the end they have the same type of relationship with their brand, their equipment, their team. The only difference is the level and the amount of media recognition. As a Dutch climber I started climbing in the gym, but I quickly realized there were other opportunities. Since 2005, I have lived in the Austrian Alps. In one word, I live a dream. I am a professional competition climber but I also climb outdoors a lot. I find the most pleasure outdoors, in nature.»

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A rapid progression from climbing gyms to big walls
«My life as a climber can be summed up as primarily competition climbing in the beginning, and then bouldering, and now mostly climbing on big sport routes and big walls.
 
 
Just after I started climbing, it became obvious to me that I should become a professional climber. As soon as I finished high school I packed my bags and left. I left my flat homeland to climb as much as possible.
 
 
I saw many different places around the world, some magnificent and others polluted. I found rock everywhere. Without a doubt, my favorite spot to recharge and relax is Reunion Island. The island is simply paradise.»
 
 

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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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Sean Villanueva

Sean Villanueva profile - photo © Sam Bié
Sean Villanueva profile - photo © Sam Bié

Ireland

IRL
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Photo portrait: 
Sean Villanueva - photo © Sam Bié
Date de naissance: 
7 February 1981
Lieu de résidence: 
Brussels (Belgium)
Statut actuel: 
Professional climber
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2011

 
«I started climbing when I was 13 years old, in a climbing gym in Belgium.
I then started sport climbing. In the beginning, camping and hitchhiking were enough to satisfy my need for adventure. Then I discovered what has now become my specialty, big wall free climbing, wet mossy off-widths, runout slabs...»

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First free ascents with my tin whistle
«I love climbing. It’s the challenge. Moving over rock, giving it everything, exploring. I like all styles of climbing. Good quality, bulletproof rock with perfect holds is amazing to climb, and so is wet, mossy, chossy off-widths. It adds to the adventure, and makes it… interesting. Climbing is my way to live life. I can travel, meet amazing people, share experiences and live incredible adventures. Big wall free climbing teaches you everything about life. It makes you live the moment. You can really feel things, you can really taste food, and you can really feel the rock shredding your fingers as the blood oozes out. There is nothing I don’t like about big wall free climbing. Any activity I do is related to climbing really. I like to slackline. It teaches me to be in an optimal state of mind in which thought, emotion and experience become one. It brings me to a state where the notion of time does not exist, everything happens in the here and now, where everything is connected. The same state of mind as when the climbing flows. My tin whistle is an essential part of my climbing equipment. When I’m dangling high up a vertical cliff, stuck in a storm in a small portaledge for days in a row, my tin whistle is there to make sure that I’m not waiting. I’m being. I play music.»
 
My favorite place is planet Earth
«I like wild and remote places and preferably with big rock walls. Places I have visited include Yosemite, Patagonia, Pakistan, Baffin Island and Greenland. There are many other places on the planet that I would like to visit.»
 
My goal in life: to meet, to share, to inspire
«I like to share my experiences and adventures and I do so through writing articles, making films and giving slide shows. It is very important. It’s great to be able to inspire people to live their dreams. I also think it is meaningful to share with people the importance of respecting the rock, the mountains and nature and to have good vibes. I would like to continue doing what I do, and go and explore big walls in remote and wild places.»
 
Sean’s anecdote
«One of my most difficult moments on a Big Wall, was on the Central Tower of Torres Del Paine in Chilean Patagonia. On day five of an eleven day ascent, while going to the bathroom in a storm, hanging 150 m off the ground, my last piece of toilet paper flew away! Forcing me to continue the rest of the ascent with rocks, ice and whatever I could find really!»

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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

Playlist video featuring Sean Villanueva.

Vertical Sailing expedition, courtesy of Patagonia video

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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Diaporama Photos: 
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The video playlist featuring Arnaud Petit

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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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

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
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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 :

Lynn Hill

Lynn Hill profile - photo © Stephan Denys
Lynn Hill profile - photo © Guérin / Lynn Hill collection

USA

USA
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Photo portrait: 
Lynn Hill - photo © Stephan Denys
Date de naissance: 
3 January 1961
Lieu de résidence: 
Boulder, Colorado, USA
Formation: 
Masters degree in biology from State University of New York at New Paltz followed by studies in psychotherapy
Statut actuel: 
ambassador for the brands Patagonia, Petzl and Béal
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
1989

A passion
“My primary activity is rock climbing and bouldering, but sometimes I climb longer routes. I love to go climbing with my friends on good quality rock. My favorite rock is well-featured limestone with big stalactites. I learned to climb when I was fourteen years old with my brother and my older sister. I had absolutely no idea that my life would be this beautiful because at the time, this lifestyle was not really an option. My lifestyle has changed as I have continued to live my passion for climbing and I am very grateful to have had such a beautiful life so far. Climbing is my therapy! It allows me to stay healthy and to be happy at nearly every level of existence. And what climbing does not bring me in terms of life balance I have been able to find in other aspects of my life with my son, my family, my friends and through various projects that I am now working on.”

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Still climbing
“I am often referred to as one of the best climbers in the world. As one of the most famous American climbers… From the beginning of my childhood, I started with gymnastics, running and of course lots of climbing when I was a teenager. In 1978, I was already considered to be among the best in my category because I adhered to a style of climbing very close to the most stringent criteria in the U.S. (placing nuts, a method of climbing straight up the overhangs).
In 1979, I was the first female to climb a route rated 5.12d.I discovered competitive climbing on a trip to France in 1986. I was soon leading the circuit and I won more than thirty international competitions including the Rock Master d’Arco in Italy five times. And since then I’ve tried to match myself. Anecdote: I was invited to the White House and often asked to be on American television to talk about my experiences…
As I will be 50 years old in 2011, I will celebrate by climbing more. I want to find the right balance between being a good mother and a good person. Why not celebrate by getting more involved in the activity that I have loved so much for the past thirty-five years? ”

 
 
Goals ?

“Of course I have goals! I am always working on projects involving education, public speaking, writing, and different media like photography, video and radio interviews. I would like to share my passion and my different experiences with everyone who is interested, especially young people who have so much to learn from life! For the past three years, I have worked on a video about climbing techniques, which integrates the elements of culture, history, and psychological anecdotes that have influenced my progression as a free climber over the past thirty-five years.”
 
 
My aspirations
- “I want to divide my time between climbing, running, skiing, traveling to the most beautiful places on the planet and my son Owen.”
- “In the years to come, I would love to create a company that will design and build climbing structures for playgrounds and parks. I think it could bring together communities and people of all ages in a useful and pleasant way.”
- “I love to tell my story, to push myself and to ask myself about the meaning of life, and address the challenges as well.”
- “I do not like to see people suffer.”
- “I do not like to see the planet deteriorate and the way it affects all forms of life on Earth.”
- “The most difficult thing for me is to maintain a healthy balance in a hectic world.”
- “If I was not a climber, I would be a surfer on a beautiful island where the water is crystal clear.”
- “I want fresh fruit, unpolluted fish, to have a beautiful garden surrounded by a loving community and huge limestone cliffs, which would be located on one of the nearby hills of the island.”
- “I want good food.”
- “I want wonderful days of climbing in an incredible place with my friends, a bit of laughter and all the material comforts that I love!”

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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

Video playlist featuring Lynn Hill :

Liv Sansoz

Liv Sansoz - photo © Evrard Wendenbaum
Liv Sansoz profile - photo © Keith Ladzinski

France

FRA
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Photo portrait: 
Liv Sansoz - photo © Evrard Wendenbaum
Date de naissance: 
12 February 1977
Lieu de résidence: 
Savoie (France)
Formation: 
Master 2 with research in neuro-cognition and social cognition, qualified climbing
Statut actuel: 
High-level athlete
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
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.»

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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.»
 
 
Communication
«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.»

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Josune Bereziartu

Josune Bereziartu - photo © Rikar Otegui
Josune Bereziartu profile - photo © Rikar Otegui

Spain

ESP
header
Photo portrait: 
Josune Bereziartu - photo © Rikar Otegui
Date de naissance: 
19 January 1972
Lieu de résidence: 
Basque Country, Spain
Statut actuel: 
semi-professional athlete
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2002

A life close to nature and a search for truth.
“My climbs are moments of my life that I want to live with intensity. The mere fact of attempting a route is already the beginning of the journey, and the journey doesn’t always end in success. Success is important but not as important as appreciating the road you traveled to get there. I am a persevering person. I’m fully committed to the choices I make. If I don’t achieve my objective in the end, it’s not the end of the world. At least I know I did everything I could to make a good attempt. I am passionate and I love living life with passion.”

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Living close to nature
“I discovered climbing by accident while watching a program on Spanish T.V.  Two girls were climbing in the Verdon Gorge. I was captivated and surprised. I wanted to try this new sport right away. It was like a door opening onto everything that hadn’t existed for me before. I love landscapes that have contrasts. I live in San Sebastian in the Basque Country between the mountains and the ocean. It’s an amazing place in a natural environment with climbing spots as well as the sea. In the same way, and for the same reason, I love Japan and its culture.  I would love to reread “The Sea of Fertility” by Yujio Mishima. If I wasn’t a climber, I’d be a sailor…”
 
 
Try, try and try again
“That means constantly pushing your limits. I don’t know how to say no. I am open to anything. Climbing and the mountains have taught me to be patient. I want to carry on playing with the limits. It’s no fun having nothing to overcome. Limits are what make me enjoy climbing. Having said that, when I complete 9a routes I realize I am living my life to the fullest.”
 
 
Josune’s anecdote
“A few winters ago, I was climbing in the Riglos, a strange climbing spot in northern Spain. The car broke down. We went to a garage that we knew and he gave us a courtesy car. We arrived at the cliff late and the days were short at that time. We attached the car keys to a shoe lace and then tied them to the harness. By the sixth pitch it was dark and the last two pitches were true adventures. Every anchor I came across was a real savior. Once we reached the summit, we put on our shoes to come down and we got lost many times. Slightly preoccupied, we eventually reached the car. Keys? Where are the car keys? They must be at the foot of the wall, no? We couldn’t get into the car so we determinedly went to get the keys from the foot of the wall but we found nothing. The keys could only be on the summit of Visera. Tired, we walked up to the summit on a footpath and when we got there, there were the keys exactly where we’d put on our shoes. At three in the morning, we headed back home.”
 

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