Kilian Jornet

Kilian Jornet profile - photo © Monica Dalmasso
Kilian Jornet profile - photo © Monica Dalmasso

Spain

ESP
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Photo portrait: 
Kilian Jornet - photo © Monica Dalmasso
Date de naissance: 
27 October 1987
Lieu de résidence: 
Chamonix (France)
Formation: 
STAPS (physical education and exercise sciences)
Statut actuel: 
Athlete
Date d'entrée dans le Team Petzl: 
2012

«During my childhood we lived in the Cap del Rec hut at the Lles de Cerdanya cross-country ski area in the Spanish Pyrenees. I learned to ski there with my sister. Before even learning to walk, we already had tens of kilometers under our belts. In the mountains, the only way to have fun was through sport. During the summer, after school got out, we would run on the trails or through the woods around the hut, and during the winter we’d do the same thing on skis. At five years old, we had already scaled multiple 3,000 meter peaks, including Pico Aneto and Pico Posets. When I was ten years old, we traversed the entire Pyrenees range. This is how we were raised, with the mountains as our playground and playing sports for fun.»

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A competitive spirit
«When I was thirteen years old, I heard about the Catalan Technical Center for Ski Mountaineering (CTEMC). After making it through tryouts, I discovered ski mountaineering and started to train seriously. Maité Hernandez taught me how to work hard. Jordi Canals shared his passion for the sport. This was a very important period for me, training daily and participating in both the Spanish and European Championships. In 2005, after graduating high school, I decided to focus my attention on competing, to move to Font-Romeu in France to study physical education and exercise science, and to split my time between school and training. I became addicted to the pleasure of training every day.»
 
 
Trail running

«My ski mountaineering partners introduced me to trail running. They run during the summer to stay in shape and to quench their thirst for competition. They encouraged me to give it a try and now I love trail running to such an extent that I currently compete in both the winter ski and summer trail running seasons.»
 
 
Two sports/two seasons
«I don’t have a preference between trail running and skiing, I just really like spending time in the mountains. The intense 30 minute to 1.5 hour steep climbs in ski mountaineering prepare me for the summer season, and trail running during the summer provides me with a great base for the winter.»
 
 
Winter training (ski mountaineering):
- 20 to 30 hours per week in November and December.
- During the competition season, 15 to 20 hours per week from January to May, with ample time allotted for rest and recovery.
 
Summer training:
- 20 to 25 hours per week (two outings per day from May to October split between road biking and running).
 

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Diaporama Videos: 

Summits of my Life

A movie about Kilian Jornet, by Seb Montaz.
Buy the full movie online here >

 

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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Nina Caprez

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

Switzerland

CHE
header
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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Diaporama Photos: 
Diaporama Videos: 

 
Video playlist featuring Nina Caprez