How did you first get into exploring and mountaineering?
As with many mountaineers, I was born in a place with no mountains. My family, and the books of adventurers I read, gave me this passion. When I was around 23 years old, I joined a young French mountaineer’s team, which allowed me to progress. This was the starting point of almost 30 years of mountaineering, searching for the most remote places on Earth, always with the spirit of the great adventure and a global vision of the mountains. The approach, the planning, is as important as the climb itself.
If you had to give one piece of advice to any budding explorers out there, what would it be?
Always keep your flame alive! Just go because you’d like to go, and after, share!
What is the most challenging or rewarding expedition you have achieved?
Quite a difficult question! Many expeditions have all been challenging and rewarding in different ways:
- My “Tour de France” was the longest with 15 months away from home
- The Antarctica expedition, “Nomansland project”, was 3 months of sailing and climbing hard new routes. This was by far the wildest
- My solo attempt of Trilogy in the Alps in 2002 was the coldest. I lost eight toes!
- My South-East Alaskan expedition in 1999 was the boldest with no radio, only a meeting with a boat after 41 days in the wilderness , and 25 days on a wall
- My expedition in British Colombia on Mount Combatant was, with a hellish three-week traverse of deep forests, the toughest
Anyway, all my expeditions were a spring of enthusiasm…
What are your aspirations for 2018?
After more than a year and a half writing my first novel (my greatest adventure!), it is due to be published at the beginning of May. Following this, I shall go for a new sailing and climbing expedition in East Greenland next summer which will be my fourth expedition with the famous French sailor Isabelle Autissier. After, it’s on to South Georgia, Antarctica and Greenland, with old friends Philippe Batoux and Patrick Wagnon. We plan to put up new alpine routes and big walls.
The Talon 44 is my faithful companion. Without it I feel like I’m missing something.VIEW THE TALON SERIES
- 1993 – Multiple first ascents including “Paradis artificiel” in the Pamir-Alaï mountain system and “Bon, la brute et le truand” in Aiguilles de Chamonix,
- 1994/1995 – World Tour of the most challenging summits. 12 solo ascents and multiple first ascents including the first solo summit of the “Petit Prince” route in the Aiguille St Exupéry
- 2000 – Piolet d’Or award and the Cristal FFME Chamonix award after his Alaska 1999 expedition to the Burkett Needle
- 2007 – He crossed South Georgia lengthways in extreme weather conditions, reaching some of the world’s most inaccessible summits
- 2011 – He conquered a 700 km traverse of the Hautes Alpes in France, which was published in his book “Le Tour de la France” in 2014
- 2012/2013 – Journey along the borders and coastline of France, mixing mountaineering, biking, sailing, hiking and kayaking
- 2014 – Ice climbing in Norway with Mathieu Cortial and Philippe Batoux – up to 6 + / 7 (2014)
- 2016 – 3 months sea/mountain expedition in South Greenland with Isabelle Autissier and two young top climbers: Enzo Oddo and Siebe Vanhee. Starting from Scotland, coming back to La Rochelle, France