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Marion Poitevin

French nationality
32 years old
Curieuse by nature, she has tried a number of disciplines. Ascension of 7150 m in India, crossing by sailboat in the North Sea, the steep skiing in the Dolomites or on Baffin Island in the Arctic Circle or also the big wall El Capitan in California several times. She also obtained her degree aspirant guide, was the first woman in High Mountain Military Group and is now an instructor for alpine hunters at Ecole Militaire de Haute Montagne in Chamonix. She loves to share and share her passion to inspire others to believe in them to go further. Especially if it is to have even more friends with whom to climb
« I’d like women’s alpinism clothing to be as technical and practical as the men’s ranges.  »
 
INTERVIEW
+ What are your three finest achievements in the mountains ?

The Super Couloir to Mont Blanc du Tacul with Thomas Emonet. We didn’t have the necessary experience, but we had real fire in our bellies.

Crossing the Arêtes de la Meije with Aude Aznavour. It was my first excursion in Les Ecrins, and with a friend. The near rope parties couldn’t believe their eyes – I was 19, and Aude is very short. But we waited for them at the top!

La Boivin on the northeast face of the Dôme des Ecrins, with Jérôme Para. I wasn’t trained, but he believed in me – and so I climbed well.

Those are my best mountain memories

+ With whom do you prefer to practice alpinism ?
My girl buddies! We’re on the same wavelength, and everything’s simpler. And it’s less competitive than it always is with the lads.
+ Your best experience, high up ?
At the summit of Mont Blanc du Tacul. It was starting to get dark, and the helicopter of the PGHM [mountain police] passed just a few meters away. They must have been searching for a rope party. We were so close to the action, and yet so far away.
+ And the worst… ?
A friend slipped while we were climbing, and he wasn’t fastened to the belay point. The third member of the party lowered me to the injured guy, 25 metres further down on a snow ledge. I didn’t have my mobile phone, and the guy at the top neither; I left mine in my backpack at the bottom. The injured guy’s helmet was covered in blood, and he was unconscious. I waited with him for 90 minutes while the party ahead of us went back down to alert the rescue team. The weather was too bad for the helicopter to take off, and the rescuers came up on foot. The casualty had some permanent brain damage. Ever since, I have always my mobile in my pocket.
+ What do you like doing when you’re not in the mountains ?
Eating out, hang-gliding, playing piano, sailing, free-falling, partying, chilling.
+ What’s your involvement with the Millet Design Centre and in product development generally ?
I’d like women’s alpinism clothing to be as technical and practical as the men’s ranges. I’m well aware that there are fewer female practitioners, but there are more and more women who want to do mountain sports – and more and more who are actually getting started, so they’ll need appropriate and cute-looking stuff to wear. Just because we’re in the mountains, there’s no reason to look like a sack in men’s clothing!
+ How do you see your discipline evolving in the next few years ?
There’ll be more and more women! But they need to get  their own space and to be encouraged… In any case, men did everything in matter of discovering. It’s the rules that are changing: with or without oxygen, Alpine or free style, enchainments, timed or untimed, etc. As for women, much still remains to be done: the fourteen 8,000m summits have only just been climbed, more and more women are climbing 8c routes... How long will it be before we see a woman leading a mixed male/female expedition?