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.»