The sharing of mountains

Since 2012, the 82-4000 Association organizes mountaineering discovery stays for people in poverty. By sharing the pleasure of being in the mountains with the most disadvantaged, the volunteers of the association also advocate the right to outdoor recreation.


Association 82-4000, Mountaineering course: arrival at the summit! ©Hugues Chardonnet

"I had the chance to become a guide and mountain doctor. My social situation put me away from material concerns" says Hugues Chardonnet, founder of the association. "One day, we chatted with a friend about the injustice of vacation in the mountains. We realized that what our society called "recreational" had created a new border between those who can go on vacation and those who do not have the means. Poor people cannot cross the border alone."

Association 82-4000, Mountaineering course in La Grave - ©Association 82-4000
Association 82-4000, Mountaineering course in La Grave - ©Association 82-4000
Mountaineering course in La Grave

This is how the 82-4000 Association was born, referring to the 82 mountain peaks over 4,000 meters. The aim is to offer a discovery of high mountains for disadvantaged people. Members of the association are guides or amateur mountaineers. As they are not in direct contact with people in poverty, they approached other associations such as ATD Fourth World (Act All For Dignity) to co-create projects.

The first stay took place in June 2013, with young people from the region of Paris. During the summer of 2014, six training sessions were held with groups of young people, women, and families from all over France. Five ski discovery or ice climbing trips took place in winter.

Because of these stays, most participants had their first contact with the mountains. Some had never left their neighbourhood. After a natural apprehension to this new environment, they began to trust the guides, the refuge keepers and volunteers who make the link with the mountain environment. Valuable relationships were created which helped erase seemingly insurmountable social barriers.

Association 82-4000, Mountaineering course - ©Association 82-4000Association 82-4000, Hugues Chardonnet with a young mountaineer, before departure - ©Association 82-4000
Hugues Chardonnet with a young mountaineer, before departure

To fund its projects, 82-4000 relies on donations from foundations like the Petzl Foundation or Insolites Bâtisseurs Foundation. It also utilizes an original system to raise funds through the ascent of 82 Alpine peaks over 4,000 meters. "The members of the association have made the bet to ascend every 4,000 meter summit of the Alps," explains Hugues Chardonnet. "This is the dream of many mountaineers. This gives a symbolic dimension to our project and media visibility to the association. Each ascent of a 4,000 is an opportunity to raise funds to finance training sessions." To date, the members have climbed 28 peaks. Started two years ago without any financial ressources, the 82-4000 Association is gaining popularity.

Association 82-4000, Mountaineering course - ©Thomas Vialletet
"I never thought that one day I could climb an ice wall!" At the end of 2014, a group of young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods of Marseille spent a week in a refuge in the Hautes-Alpes, France, thanks to the 82-4000 association

Updated  in September 2015



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