- career highlights
Long rocky routes, sheer-slope skiing, technical mountaineering... The bottle isn’t important, so long as the drink’s intoxicating.
+ What are your three finest achievements in the mountains ?
August 2009: free-climbing “Divine Providence” on the Grand Pilier d’Angle, with mates from the Mountaineering Excellence squad at the CAF [French Alpine Club]. It’s one of the best rocky routes in the Mont Blanc Massif, with up to 7c difficulty. We set off with Dimitri Messina, with no serious free-climb ambitions, but did all the pitches flash or on-sight!
May 2010: First ski descent of the west couloir of Kahiltna Queen (3,720m) in Alaska, after winning Millet Expedition Project funding with Sylvain Rechu and Thomas Gautheron. A major summit, a gorgeous route, and it’s visible from the Denali base camp. Six hundred metres of 50° slopes with 20cm of fresh snow on the ice… Coming back down, we focused hard!
June 2011: the Hypercouloir du Brouillard on the south face of Mont Blanc, with Seb Ratel and Didier Jourdain of the GMHM [French high-mountain military unit]. We made perfect use of the weather window and conditions: we climbed much of the route by night with Ultra headlamps. A few days later, the gully was no longer negotiable. A pleasant “rest” weekend during the guide training course!+ Who do you prefer doing alpine sports with ?With buddies who have the same vision and desire as I do: having an enjoyable time in the mountains, whatever the activity or season, without taking ourselves too seriously.+ Your best experience, high up ?At the bivouac at the top of the Grand Pilier d’Angle, after climbing “Divine Providence”, sheltered by a big gendarme. I’ve never slept so well in the mountains.+ And the worst ?At the bivy on Les Droites summit ridge, ascending the Tournier Spur. During the storm, we had a front-row view of the sound and light show. I’ve never slept so badly in the mountains.+ What do you like doing when you’re not in the mountains ?Hang out with my boy and girl buddies. Party. Watch good movies and listen to rock ‘n’ roll.+ What’s your involvement with the Millet Design Centre and in product development generally ?I try to develop products related to my discipline, particularly backpacks for steep-slope skiing.+ How do you see your discipline evolving in the next few years ?
The average level of alpine-sports practitioners has risen strongly in recent years. Is it due to evolving kit or mentalities? In the Mont Blanc Massif, the routes that used to have a tough reputation are now turning into little motorways.
I aim to roll back the boundaries of elite alpinism, and focus on speed of ascent and operating at high altitude.