Lionel Pernollet

French nationality
51 years old
A high-mountain guide and ski instructor, Lionel is a member of the Chamonix Guides Company and the French Ski School (ESF) in the resort. He has turned his passion into a profession, leading his clients up classic faces from Mont Blanc to the walls of the Yosemite Valley. "My grandfather was a guide and I think that, since a very young age, I’ve always wanted to be in the mountains. I’m fortunate enough to share extraordinary experiences with my clients, who have taken me to countless summits in the Alps and around the world.Nowadays, my day job lets me track the technical needs of guides and clients very closely through field tests, and I share the findings with the Design Centre.My experience of the Yosemite Big Walls, where I’ve climbed “The Nose”, “Salathé Wall” and “Half Dome” with my client, has nurtured quite a few projects in my mind, especially the famous Lotus Flower Tower in Canada – and I hope to take him there soon."
« My grandfather was a guide and I think that, since a very young age, I’ve always wanted to be in the mountains. »

1987: Took part in the first-ever World Indoor Climbing Championships in Grenoble.


1989: Member of the French Mountain and Climbing Federation’s (FFME) elite young mountaineers team.

            Expedition with a group of young mountaineers to Patagonia, Torres de Paine range: opened a new route.


1990-2001: Instructor at Chamonix Climbing Club, established the Mont Blanc Climbing Open.


1993Summer: high-mountain guide training course at the National Skiing and Mountaineering School (ENSA) in Chamonix.

            Winter: Final ski-instructor course.


1996: Trip to US: climbed “The Nose” on El Capitan and “Half Dome” with client.


1997: Trip to US: climbed “Salathé Wall” on El Capitan with client.


1998: Trip to US: climbed “The Shield” on El Capitan with client. 


2001: Expedition to Himalayas: Cho Oyu (8,201m).


2003: Climbing in the Todra Gorges, Morocco / Exploratory trip to Mongolia.


1990-2011: Full-time high-mountain guide / sample achievements with clients:

  -Les Grandes Jorasses: Walker Spur.

  -Les Drus: Bonatti Pillar / “La Directe Américaine”.

  -Grand Capucin: “Voie des Suisses” / “O Sole Moi” / Trip after Gulliver/Bonatti.

  -South face of Le Fou: classic / “Les Ailles du Désir”.

  - Mont Blanc du Tacul: Gervasutti Pillar.

  -Crossing of Les Aiguilles, Chamonix.

  -Pilier des Trois Pointes: “Toboggan” / “Totem”.

What are your three finest achievements in the mountains?


Torres de Paine, Patagonia: opening of “Blue Note Memory”.

North face of Les Grandes Jorasses / Walker Spur with client.

El Capitan: “Salathé Wall” with client.

Who do you prefer practising alpinism with?
Giovanni Bassanini.
+Your best experience, high up?
The first time I reached the summit of Les Drus.
 And the worst...?


In storms, when you can’t control a thing and just have to wait for it to pass…


What do you like doing when you’re not in the mountains?


Spending time with my partner and my son Alban.


What’s your involvement with the Millet Design Centre and in product development generally?


I like contributing new ideas generated by my guiding work, and a practical and realistic view of the needs of guides and clients; and also being able to advise my colleagues at the Chamonix Guides Company on which products to choose.


How do you see your discipline evolving in the next few years?


It’s hard to say, everything moves so fast. But I think we’re returning to a more traditional style of practice, with the rope party playing a central role.