Discovering mountains with the Piolets Jeunes

Encouraging mountain activities for young people: that was the credo of the fourth edition of the Piolets Jeunes ("young people with ice axes"), organized in May 2013 by the High Mountain Group, in Chamonix. The Petzl Foundation contributed to this event because it is in line with our mission to educate young mountaineers in risk management.


quatrième édition des Piolets Jeunes, organisée en mai 2013 par le Groupe de Haute Montagne

  • Project partner:  Groupe de Haute Montagne (High Mountain Group),
  • Country:  Haute Savoie, France
  • Project type: Risk management training
  • Budget: €3,000 en 2013

The objective of the Piolets Jeunes is to provide an inexpensive two-day mountaineering discovery event, which raises awareness of the risks inherent in mountaineering.

This event is also an opportunity to reward initiatives led by schools for young people in the mountains: three Piolets Jeunes awards are given to schools and associations.

In May 2013, over 140 young mountaineers aged between 14 and 22, came from all over France to take part in this fourth edition. Half of these young people, all either pupils in mountaineering sections at their schools, or mountaineering club and association members, were unfamilar with the mountains themselves, either for financial or geographical reasons.

National School of Skiing and Mountaineering © Nacho Grez
At the National School of Skiing and Mountaineering, our young mountaineers could see the routes they took on a 3D model of Mont Blanc.

Eleven educational workshops run by mountain guides on the Plan de l'Aiguille, at an altitude of 2,300 m were on offer. The attendees were introduced to the basics of mountaineering such as map-reading, roping up, belaying, abseiling and the use of crampons. One of the safety workshops taught them how to arrest a fall on a slope.

The young mountaineers were also able to learn about the crevasse rescue technique, searching for avalanche victims and building a shelter in the snow.

The more experienced among them had the opportunity to put their new skills into practice on accessible routes in the areas of the Grands Montets, the Mer de Glace and the Aiguille du Midi.

Piolet Jeunes 2013 © Nacho Grez

Mountain activities allow young people to build self-esteem and find a place for themselves within society. Helping each other and sharing are strong mountaineering values. This event was a great opportunity for these young people to discover the climbing spirit and mountain culture. Following on from this great success, a fifth edition has been planned for 2014.

Emmanuelle Durand, Project Manager of High Mountain Group, says:

Emmanuelle Durand © Nacho Grez "The objective of the Piolets Jeunes is to encourage the development of mountain activities and to demonstrate that they can be a real educational tool for our young citizens. This friendly event is a good way to communicate with young people from all over France. Some of them had never set foot in the mountains!
We also address the youth workers and teachers who accompany them. For some of them, it's also their first time in the mountains. This event allows them to share their experience and ideas."

Photos : Nacho Grez

Uploaded in september 2014



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