- CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
In 1997, I went on an expedition to the Andes: we climbed the Desmaison routes up the south face of Huandoy in Peru, rewarded by the Cristal FFME [French Mountaineering and Climbing Federation] award.
Then, over two years, I made several trips to the Himalayas, opening up routes with the man who would become my alter ego, Christian Trommsdorff. We have now been climbing together for 10 years.
To celebrate the new millennium, I free-soloed the highest peak in the Andes, via its hardest face.
I’ve since travelled to the Himalayas every year with Christian and Patrick (who’s a researcher in Grenoble and a guide), the third man for discovering wild places; we have opened up several routes on 7,000m mountains. In 2004, after our successful ascent of the east face of Makalu, we were nicknamed “les TGW” after our surname initials. The following year, capitalising on our recce of the area, in 2005 we joined a national expedition to ascend the virgin summit of Chomo Lonzo (7,500m), a satellite of Makalu.
This success – besides the incredible challenge of scaling Chomo Lonzo (eight days, including four above 7,000m) – also drove our desire to scale difficult virgin summits beyond 7,000m. In 2007, we extended our quest with the ascent of Pumari Kish (7,350m), a remote virgin summit in Pakistan with a 3,000m-high wall. This success further sharpened our appetite for discoveries and challenges.
In autumn 2011, we opened a new route up the south face of Nemjung (7,140m) in Nepal. We took five days, without much acclimatisation – our experience paid dividends.
+ What are your three finest achievements in the mountains ?Definitely the ascent of the east face of Makalu in 2004. Then Chomo Lonzo in 2005, and lastly Pumari Kish in 2007; we actually wrote an article entitled “Amoureux de Pumari” [“In Love with Pumari”].+ Who do you prefer practising alpinism with ?Everyone...+ Your best experience, high up ?Alone, in a slightly hallucinatory state, on top of Makalu.+ And the worst ?Feeling totally shattered and nauseous on top of Chaukamba, after an awful night at 7,000m.+ What do you like doing when you’re not in the mountains ?Spending time with close family and friends.+ What’s your involvement with the Millet Design Centre and in product development generally ?I provide feedback on expedition equipment: gaiters, boots, etc.+ How do you see your discipline evolving in the next few years ?I hope that mountaineering, which is the quintessence of the other practices (climbing, skiing, etc.), will become a more adventurous discipline, practised in faraway places.