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Petzl Inside #1 - Creating an adventure to access your own personal inaccessible

Every day, in Petzl's research and development department, we explore the depths of our imaginations to come up with new inventions. This time, we decided to come up with a novel exploration for the products we invent.

February 15 2018


It all started one day while eating a salad during my lunch break at Petzl.

Fred, sitting across the table from me, was looking for an excuse to take off on an adventure. I was also looking to experience something new. He dreamed of sailing the high seas, while I wanted to explore uncharted canyons. Deal! We decided to join forces in our quest. Vincent also hopped on board along the way, and our "sea canyoneers, freshwater skippers" project was born.

At the core of our project: sharing an adventure together. Before lifting anchor, neither Vincent nor I had set foot on a sailboat; and neither Vincent nor Fred had ever hung at the end of a canyoning rope.

So we chose our own adventure, based on our motivation, means, and ability to, together, discover a new world and to explore as far as our will and energy would take us.

Our crew heads out to sea

8 months earlier it was all just a dream. Now we are actually venturing into the unknown!

We lift anchor in Toulon, France, setting sail for Samothraki – a Greek Island in the northern part of the Aegean Sea – and get right down to business: 9 full days of sailing with only 24hrs total spent docked at a port. Was the captain trying his hardest to make real skippers out of us? Either way, we each took our respective turns vomiting after lunch, after dinner, and before bed, too.

Our captain is all smiles… Before stressing about the tens of kilos of gear that a canyoneer has to carry. Not much extra space in our small and lightweight 9.80m vessel.

Nevertheless, we discover a world extremely similar to the mountains, you simply need to change your vocabulary a little: say line instead of rope, and cleat instead of clamp.

We cannot help but look, compare, and analyze everything from a designer's point of view, thinking about all sorts of workable or potential solutions.

Our passion is never far removed from our work, and our work is rarely far removed from our passion.

Vincent taking time to think. Our adventure was filled with a lot of that, too.

Into the mountains – canyoning becomes our focus.

We leave the big blue and venture into a mineral world of whites and oranges. Water also takes center stage in this new environment – crystal clear, in the fast streams and torrents. With their eyes open wide, Fred and Vince discover a world they never expected, and I personally will never grow tired of the beauty that the different canyons and ravines of the world have to offer.

Behind the camera, I am thrilled to introduce my friends to one of my favorite activities.

My two friends quickly learn the requisite techniques; their enthusiasm abounds. How lucky I am! Our team of three opens the doors to long-lost canyons. After 7 hours exploring this way and that, we stand 250 meters above the sea's extraordinary mix of turquoise and deep blue waters before launching down a steep cleft carved in perfect granite.

Stepping into the void!

Inventing new products and making first descents of new canyons, there are so many parallels. We like to explore and push known limits, whatever the domain or task at hand.


Proud of our team, I pull the rope for the last rappel on our "sea canyoneers, freshwater skippers" adventure. When we leave, our minds are filled with memories of incredible landscapes as well as plenty of new ideas to explore. 

We shared our worlds with one another, each of us taking our respective turns being the beginner and the expert, while enjoying every minute of the experience together. We grew individually by having to rely on each other. We accessed our own personal inaccessible.


Trip report by Antonin Gaudillere

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