Lisa Rands

Lisa Rands - photo: © John Evans
Lisa Rands on The Mandala - photo: © Wills Young

USA

USA
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Photo portrait: 
Lisa Rands portrait - photo: © John Evans
Lieu de résidence: 
Bishop, California
Formation: 
Bachelor of Science in Geology
Statut actuel: 
Professional Climber
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2002

Inspired climbing
My life revolves around climbing and part of my personality is formed by my experiences rock climbing. I could not feel complete without climbing. I try to live my life in a straightforward and honest way. I am self-motivated and driven by my own goals and not by other people or other people’s goals. I lead my life trying to pursue my goals in climbing.

I am not going to alleviate the world’s problems with my climbing, but if I can inspire others to follow their dreams and pursue their own goals, or simply to brighten their lives with new experiences or encouragement from me, I feel my climbing has accomplished something. I also hope that my sponsors can help in bigger ways to give something back that I cannot. I am sure many other Petzl Team members share these views.

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Turning point 
When I first started climbing, which was not until my mid-teens, I dreamed of being up on big walls, high off the ground in the mountains. My partner and I were inspired by classic big aid lines and believed this was the pinnacle of climbing. Then one day I was out in Zion with my etriers and jumars starting up on a clean-aid climbing route with my partner.

I was only about 18, but I knew that to be ready for these big lines we had to pack in the calories, so I was tucking into a big stash of peanut M&Ms while on one of the first pitches. As I was pouring these out from a wide-mouth Nalgene bottle attached by a sling to my harness, I looked over and saw a couple of greasy, older-looking dudes totally out of shape with their big beer-bellies, sweating away as they stood in aiders creeping up a line to our right. As they started talking to me I suddenly had the realization that I was not destined to be an aid climber, that I had to get out of this and start free climbing while I was young and fit! What was I doing?

My favorite places
I fell in love with South Africa and I also love visiting England. But for summers, the Sierra Nevada Mountains are hard to beat.


I spent three summers in South Africa. The farm we stayed on started to feel like a home away from home. It was both beautiful and timeless. The climbing is good and I really like the relaxed atmosphere. My brother-in-law is married to a South African woman and they both now live there for work, so now it has a family connection. My husband grew up in England. Most of his family live there and so it's great to visit them. We both enjoy the gritstone climbing and the scenery of the Peak District. We love The Peak District so much that we got married there.

Part of a community
I belong to a huge network of climbers from all over the world; Facebook definitely reminds me of that. I feel like I’m part of a huge community of friends, even though many of them are unknown to me. Living in a climbing destination like Bishop, I’m always meeting people who know me for my climbing. Sometimes it’s funny, like when you're shopping for some private items at the grocery store and a climber comes up to talk to you… this actually happened — we all started laughing as I was holding a box of tampons! It’s always really cool to be out climbing or whatever and someone stops me just to say, "Hi." It’s pretty amusing when I’m with Peter Croft who is really famous in the climbing world, especially around the Sierra Mountains. We get stopped a lot. Although I’m naturally a bit shy, I still enjoy meeting people and being able to inspire and encourage others. This is probably the best part of what I do.

Frustrations
My biggest frustration has revolved around injuries and health problems. A knee injury has frustrated me for years, and I am constantly working to stay on top of that. Traveling has led to some sickness, too, which can sap my energy. I know I have missed some opportunities because of this, which has been sad, but I have also learned to really appreciate and to make the most of those great times when I feel healthy and can push myself hard!

My perfect day... 
I would wake up and the weather would be perfect. I would be so well-rested, I wouldn't even need tea or coffee. I would join my friends at a world-class, yet never crowed, climbing area just a short walk from my house. Since the potential is never-ending, I would spend the entire day testing my on-sight abilities on all new routes or problems. If we felt like it, my partner and I would try one of the harder routes. If it felt like more fun to keep on-sighting, we would continue with that until everyone was exhausted. Then we’d fire up the barbecue and sip a good wine outside while watching the sunset.

An important message
I like to encourage people to make the most of their time and health and pursue their dreams. I like to put these thoughts across to whoever I speak with about my life as a climber, not just to the younger generations but to everyone.

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Diaporama Photos: 

 

Diaporama Videos: 

Lisa Rands featured videos - from BigUP Productions

Watch Lisa Rands climbing Venturi Effect on The Incredible Hulk - from Big UP Productions

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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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

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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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

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

Enzo Oddo

Enzo Oddo profile - Photo © Arnaud Petit
Enzo Oddo profile - Photo © Sam Bié

France

FRA
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Photo portrait: 
Enzo Oddo profile - Photo © Arnaud Petit
Date de naissance: 
22 February 1995
Lieu de résidence: 
Côte d’Azur (French Riviera - France)
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2010

Enzo, full of youthful exuberance…
 
«I’ve enjoyed climbing from early childhood. Why? I was born in Nice, there’s rock everywhere and the weather’s good year round, so going climbing is easy. My parents climbed. When I was little my parents brought with them all the time when they went climbing. I feel right at home climbing.
Until the age of 13, I really enjoyed climbing the cliffs of the French Riviera, but now, after having traveled with Team Petzl, it’s not the same type of enjoyment.»

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Landscapes I prefer the most?
«With the Team, there are so many new and unique places to discover. We take an original approach to developing new areas and to putting up new routes, which always out in the wilderness somewhere. The best are bouldering spots like Bishop, Millau, the Tarn valley, outside Briançon, Entraigues, and Roche de Rame. I feel relaxed in the mountains. Perhaps it’s an inherent need for peace and quiet...»
 
To feel like I’m progressing
«What do I like about climbing? I don’t know. I just enjoy it. I don’t have any long term goals. But when I’m in the moment it’s a powerful feeling. Climbing is an overall experience, something that recharges my battery. I don’t enjoy sending a route for the sake of sending a route, what I enjoy is progressing, moving forward. I like to succeed in feeling comfortable with the route, like a day that just goes well without knowing exactly why.»
 
And the future?
«I don’t really think about it. Time will tell. I’d like to continue climbing as much as possible. I don’t see myself working in climbing all my life until retirement. That’s not my thing. I’m neither interested in becoming a certified climbing instructor, nor in creating a company to coach or to train climbers. At the same time, I can’t imagine my life without climbing. For everything else, I’m confident that it will all work out. In the beginning, I had a hard time convincing my parents to let me stop going to school. Now they fully support me; a big thanks to them. They only ask that I do the best I can in life, and to be serious about what I like to do. Since I’m almost 17, I should be at least somewhat focused.»
 
Any difficulties or limitations?
«I need to work more on those areas where I do not excel. For example I need to be more disciplined in working on endurance. That said, I don’t compete, so I don’t have that limitation. Competitions take up too much time. Indoor climbing is not at all representative of what I like to do. It’s something else. I’m not able to express myself when climbing plastic. For me, it has nothing to do with the sport, with the freedom of climbing in the great outdoors.»
 
In life…
«The people with whom I’m the closest are climbers. At this point in time I only hang out with climbers, often climbers who in the 16 to 24 age group. My favorite book is "The Centenarian Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared", by Jonas Jonasson. My favorite film is "A Serious Man", by the Coen brothers.»
 
Enzo's anecdote
«During an evening get together with friends in March, 2011, I said to a friend ‘do you want to go climbing?’ He said okay. So I took him to the top of a crane at a nearby construction site to do a pendulum. He had never put on a harness in his life. It’s three in the morning, and we have no right to be there, no headlamps, and no helmets. We’re both sixteen years old. We had a rope, a GRIGRI, and one quickdraw between the two of us. He took forever to climb from one rung to another. We wanted to swing like the trapeze at the circus, but halfway up the crane’s boom, he collapsed, exhausted and scared. What a mess. Charles was just hanging there. At least we were roped up. I was pulled to the side. I then lowered him down and things turned out just fine.»
 
What they say about Enzo:
Mike Fuselier
«Enzo is young, which means that he is totally unpredictable and spontaneous. Climbing with Enzo is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get… There are plenty of stories to tell, but here’s a good one. The story takes place in Cuba, at a guest house. During a discussion about American movies, Enzo talks about the boldness of Jean-Claude Van Damme, who takes a coconut to the abs when dropped from 10 meters above. To prove his nerve, we decided that he should experience a similar feat of strength, so we blindfolded him and started pummeling his powerful abdominal muscles with a few water bottles. He went from being a little nervous to wanting to see just how powerful a blow he could take. The dare only lasted a few minutes and Enzo took on the onslaught of bottle blows no problem… at the time. But the next day, his stomach covered in bruises demonstrated just how much he really took. "It’ll help build abs, which are good for locking off", Enzo said. All in good humor…»
 
Aymeric Clouet
«When we were with Arnaud in Morocco, in the Taghia region of Atlas Mountains, we were explaining basic aid technique to Enzo, how to use hooks, various safety measures, and how to use ascenders to climb up a rope. At some point in the discussion it was clear that Enzo had stopped paying attention and was no longer listening. Arnaud and I decided to stop for the day thinking that we would pick up where we left of later. Just afterwards we could tell that he had understood everything. Enzo learns quickly, is able to apply everything right away, and in addition has a great memory. He’s amazing.»
 
Nina Caprez
«I have a wonderful memory of when we were in Cuba. The title of the story could be, ‘psychoanalysis.’
On our last day in Cuba we went to the beach. In general Enzo is not too nit-picky when it comes to how clean his clothes are. But on this particular day he took a change of clean clothes for after the beach. He was already cleaned up and ready for the bus trip back while the rest of us were still in our bathing suits when Cédric found nothing better to do than to spray Coca-Cola all over Enzo’s clothes. Given how rare the situation was for Enzo (perfectly clean white clothes), the moment that followed was classic. Enzo got all angry and yelled, "What the hell, I was perfect!" Everyone ended up having a good laugh, including Enzo once he realized what he had said. There you have it, "I was perfect", Enzo’s new saying.»

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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

Video playlist featuring Enzo Oddo

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: 
Diaporama Videos: 

 
 
The video playlist featuring Arnaud Petit

Steve McClure

Steve McClure profile - photo © Sam Bié
Steve McClure profile - photo © Ben Pritchard

United Kingdom

GBR
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Photo portrait: 
Steve McClure - photo © Lafouche
Date de naissance: 
25 July 1970
Lieu de résidence: 
Sheffield (United Kingdom)
Statut actuel: 
Teacher, coach, route setter, writer, lecturer
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2000

I prefer climbing at the crags near my home
«I'm primarily a sport climbing specialist, and probably much better at short technical routes than anything multi-pitch.  I prefer the routes close to where I live. I just naturally adopted this lifestyle. When I was a kid, I was always traveling with my parents, who were climbers. I never really chose this lifestyle, I just knew it was the way I wanted to live. Rock climbing and being outside in nature are simply part of my life. At first, I climbed a lot of trad. I improved quickly and had a hard time finding the right trad routes for me. Since then, sport climbing has allowed me to experience the physical challenge of climbing, while also allowing me to spend time outside with friends. My profession is climbing. I work locally, near my home. I have a special connection with climbing in my country. I think you have to like the place where you live.»

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I love my country
«There are so many places I like to be; I have a different relationship with each. I live close to several wonderful climbing areas, in a nice environment, with the city close by, yet so far away. I spend a lot of time here. I'm also fond of those incredibly beautiful, out-of-the-way places in England, Scotland, and northern Wales, far away from civilization. Being there is healthy, and the force of nature is unbelievable. It’s an adventure to enjoy.
I also spend time climbing at cliffs throughout Europe: Rodellar, Teradettes, the Verdon Gorge, Buoux, Ardèche, Osp, and Arco. Among those spots, the Verdon Gorge holds a special place in my heart, since I spent a lot of time there as a kid, from the age of four. I didn’t climb at the time, just mostly played in the creeks. Then, when I was sixteen, I spent two months there, which almost certainly turned out to be a pivotal point in my life as a climber. When I go back to the Verdon Gorge after a long absence, I usually stop the car at Le Belvédère just to take it all in: the spectacular view from the edge, the feeling, the smells, the sounds, the air rising towards me, and the view of perfect gray rock everywhere.»
 
 
A professional partnership
«I worked as an engineer for seven years, sitting at a desk, doing design work. I have the engineering spirit, which probably helps me a lot when I climb. But that kind of lifestyle wasn't for me. Doing the same thing, day in, day out, in an office environment just didn’t suit me anymore. Now I'm really involved in climbing. My schedule is flexible and my work varied. I've gotten to a point where I no longer need to look for work; it comes to me at an accelerating pace. Putting up routes, coaching, teaching, giving lectures, writing... None of it pays a lot, but I like what I do. I’m lucky enough to be able to choose my projects and to give priority to the places and people I work with. I have regular contracts to put up routes, and in those cases, I’m able to stay with friends. I work hard, but I'm having a blast.»
 
 
The desire to see things through
«I have a lot of energy to give to the things I like to do. Energy usually goes hand-in-hand with tenacity and the desire to see things through. In climbing, you need to apply yourself. I have the tenacity to give it my all, and the more I give, the more I succeed. I like to push myself to the limits of my abilities. “The glass is half full” is my motto. When you're clinging to a bad hold that you thought would be better, thinking about how awful the hold is only creates negative energy. You're better off thinking the hold isn't so bad.»
 
 
The future is in the present
«I don’t think too much about where I'll be in the future. I don’t have a retirement fund or job security. And yet I've got a kid. Is that irresponsible? Perhaps, but that's just the way I am. Up until now, everything has worked out. I think that you make your own happiness by working hard and not cheating. I’ve never gotten anything for nothing. I like my life as it is. I don’t feel the need to share my past experiences with others; that's all behind me. However, it is important for me to share what I’m experiencing at the moment I’m experiencing it.»

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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

Video by Posing Productions
 
 

Video by Posing Productions
 
 
Video playlist featuring Steve McClure :

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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Nina Caprez

Nina Caprez profile - photo © Stefan Schlumpf
Nina Caprez profile - photo © Lafouche

Switzerland

CHE
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Photo portrait: 
Nina Caprez - photo © Stefan Schlumpf
Date de naissance: 
15 November 1986
Lieu de résidence: 
Grenoble, France
Statut actuel: 
top-level Athlete
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2010

Searching for happiness in the present moment.
"I have great confidence in myself. I am someone who is sure of herself. In our sport, this is fundamental to being able to complete difficult multi-pitch routes.
Being outside, living life to the fullest, meeting people on the same wavelength, climbing together... That is happiness for me.  My first big competition was the youth championships in Beijing... It was the first big memory for 'Little Nina'. I love this feeling of succeeding in competitions. Competing with yourself doesn't really do it for me. I am always looking to improve in sport climbing and to complete the great routes that I hold really close to my heart. I grew up near Rätikon, a legendary cliff with great routes. I've always loved the sensation of height, nature and freedom... I found what I was looking for in climbing thanks to Laurent Triay who told me about a route called "Ultime démence" in Verdon. Now I am really looking for greater difficulty and big routes.
Climbing is a way of channeling myself to find out what I am made of. Pushing myself to the limit, traveling all over the world, meeting people from all four corners of the world. I have learned that the most important thing is to be happy in this world! That's what climbing is for me. It's a sport based on the simplicity of living. You just need a rock, a harness, climbing shoes and a climbing buddy."

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My motto: Life is too beautiful and the days too short to be sad.
"I would really like to communicate with the climbing world: expert, amateur or beginner. My way of life teaches me what the word ‘autonomous’ means. My reason for living is to follow through with my convictions. To succeed I have to channel my thoughts and my energy. If I succeed in completing a big, extreme, multi-pitch route, it's because it makes me happy. I have felt attracted to big routes for a long time now. It was just a question of time before I seriously started to work on them as projects. Since I was a young girl, I have never felt comfortable being part of a system controlled by people who think they know everything. At high school I was really unhappy because I always knew what was going to happen the next day. This feeling stopped me from growing. I had to get out of this frame of mind. In climbing, everything has is important: the way you see the route, working out a line and finally living the rock. I myself choose what's best for me. I take responsibility for my choices and decisions and I don't ever look for excuses for what I can’t manage. I was born to climb; it takes me all over the world, to beautiful, lost places. I learn, grow and then learn some more. The big routes came to me when I was ready. Whenever I make a breakthrough, it's not enough. Of course, it's better to be versatile, to know how to adapt to the type of rock. Now I listen to myself because I know that gives me strength. I have confidence in myself. I want to do exactly what I really feel like doing and try not to do things I don't feel like doing. Like many female climbers, my inspiration is Lynn Hill but the person who most directly helped me to progress in this sport is Cédric Lachat."
 
 
Choosing a climbing partner is important to me.
"The people you tie in with on the wall represent more than support, they’re more like a catalyst. To perform and succeed on a big route I require friendship and trust in my climbing partner. For example, I never climb with people who I don't feel right with. I have to sense that we are on the same wavelength, have the same thoughts and are compatible. I need to have a partner who is my equal. I always want my partner to also want to complete the route. I never take someone for reassurance alone."
 
 
The most important places for me are Verdon and Céüse.
"I spent my first sport climbing holidays in Céüse and it’s been a magical place for me since the beginning. In Verdon I discovered the climbing style I was searching for: big; sport routes. I had rarely seen such a beautiful landscape!"
 
 
Besides climbing, I like things that have rhythm...
"I do lots of ski touring. I was born with skis on my feet and I love the light feeling of skiing an untouched slope, making first tracks. I also love working with wood, tinkering with photos. I love listening to music and cooking. If I didn't climb, I would be a performer. Maybe I would be in the circus."

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Michaël Fuselier

Michaël Fuselier profile - photo © Boris Stephan
Michaël Fuselier profile - photo © Lafouche

France

FRA
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Photo portrait: 
Michaël Fuselier - photo © Tony Lamiche
Date de naissance: 
4 January 1981
Lieu de résidence: 
Grenoble (France)
Formation: 
business degree, licensed climbing instructor
Statut actuel: 
Maurienne climbing club coach, route setter for national climbing competitions
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2005

My first summit
“My first climbing experience was an ascent of a summit, but not just any summit. I discovered climbing through John Bonin, a very good family friend who took me up the classic route of Mont Aiguille (Vercors France). It was 1995 and I was 16 years old.
How was this passion born in me that day? The Mont Aiguille was everything I thought a summit should be, it was really important to me. On the other hand, I don’t like to use the word ‘summit’ and I refuse to look at a summit as if it’s a ceiling that can’t be passed. Mont Aiguille marks the first memory I have of climbing, along with my first rope that my Mother gave me, and all the kilometers I traveled on my old mobylette to go climbing around Grenoble.”

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Towards grade 9
“This quote by Marc Twain has always inspired me: “They didn’t know it was impossible, so they did it.” Competition climbing has given me so much in both a sporting and a human way. Through training, I learned discipline and the fighting spirit. I have met a lot of good characters with great attitudes, most notably Laurent Boudier, my trainer and someone who has given me vision for my climbing and life in general. My training can be described in a few words: perseverance, discipline, focus, curiosity and passion. I regularly go running. The continuous effort it requires to stay focused while exhausted. As well as the solitude is an excellent way to think. But with bouldering you are never alone. I am always crazy for rock and always on the lookout for a new boulder or a new problem. The grade 9 challenge is always on my mind.”
 
 
Discover, Deliver, Expand
“The recipe for a perfect being is to find a certain balance. Life for a climber isn’t always flowing like a calm stream. There are thousands of drawers to open and close. It’s a bit like the good and the bad; there can be a fine line between what is there and what is not! Experiences will aid progression and a good memory never forgets experiences. I like the feeling of being part of a kind of tribe. A group of people joined by their activity, their connection with the environment, and their mutual respect for some unwritten rules. I like the social side that surrounds climbing and making friends of all generations. It’s a good mix. At a new spot, we discover things together and everyone has their own kind of fun. These days as an instructor, I try to be an example to the younger generation through my life experiences. To do so makes complete sense. It’s my duty. I try to explain and share the many choices that are available. I like to construct and make the ideas real, the ones that inspired my own life experiences. Preparing a route is a little like how a carpenter makes furniture and what’s more I love working with wood!”
 
 
Travel
“I don’t have a favorite climbing spot. Everywhere is different and that’s the best thing about climbing. In the United States I really like spots like Smith Rock and Red River Gorge. Climbing a few days in Hampi (India) or in the dessert of Algeria and the Tassili plateau is all so amazing. It’s amazing to love such different places but for me they form a whole. These mineral landscapes with their animals and flowers are unique and unforgettable. It’s all about discovering new areas and understanding their fragility and vulnerability. The inhabitants of these places have their own cultures and their own outlook on life. It’s rewarding to rub shoulders with people who live in an environment that is totally different to ours. I am totally up for meeting these people.”
 
 
The search for something real
“If anything was possible, I would travel the world. I would travel back in time and see the world as it evolved with my own eyes. How, why and above all, who is real and who is not. My life is a continuous questioning of what is written. I would like to see from the beginning, for myself, what is real, how everything started and why it started. It’s an impossible experiment in our present understanding but after this, I am happy to be where I am and see nature evolve day by day. With the skills, methods, and understanding I have learned my mistakes become more relevant. I really like analyzing my experiences, both good and bad. The more places I climb and the more the more climbers I meet the more I enjoy other views and the contradictions surrounding them and the more I can conceive what might seem inconceivable. The more I look into things and try to work them out the more possible they seem to the more I discover, the more curiosity I have to push further.”

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