I was 13 when my brother François took me out for climbing for the first time. We travelled by train very early in the morning and we got off a stop before the final destination. This allowed us to walk a little bit on beautiful fields which waked up slowly under the caresses of the sun rays. It was a magic moment because I did not have any idea what awaits me and still I felt confused that this day was going to be crucial in my existence. This feeling remained engraved in my memory and each moment of my climbing life I had in a way the reminiscences of that first day.
All these 26 years of climbing those memories came along with me: when discovering St. Loup in the late 1980’s, during my trips through the Rocklands and in Hueco, in the forests of Switzerland, those in Fontainebleau and the eucalyptus forests in Australia or also the deserts of Algeria and Mali.
For everything I’ve been able to do since that moment, to discover climbing as my lifestyle and the world being an incredible playground for this activity, I’m very thankful. I’m also aware that without the support of people believing in what I was doing this would not have been possible and I feel very lucky.
Year you first started climbing? 1983
Three climbing achievements you are most proud of? I am not especially proud of anything in my life. I’m glad that I was able to do all the things I did and there are too many in over 25 years to pick up 3.
Memory/story of the first time you ever went climbing? After the beautiful moments I wrote in my bio, when we arrived at the crag and I tried to climb, I realized that I don’t like climbing at all. It was too strenuous. I was really frustrated and disappointed that I couldn’t get up anything harder then a 3! Six month later my brother convinced me to try again and there I discovered that I can also climb a 4 and started to like it. Three years later I climbed my first 5.14a Le toit d’Auguste, from the late Patrick Berhault.
Favorite climbing area and why? Every place is different and this is what makes each of them special. But I must admit to have some strong feelings for Hueco and Rocklands.
Best climbing experience? Hopefully the next ones.
Worst climbing experience? I am always very careful and even so, sometimes I was close to having very bad accidents. I lost many friends through accidents in outdoor activities. Just be aware that climbing is also a committed activity!
What's your dream trip? Where? With who? I have many dream trips and places I want to see. The fellowship will be spontaneous, but Mary should be with me if possible.
Guilty pleasure? Maybe when I eat tuna, because I know they are endangered, like most of the ocean species. For example I love sushi, but I try to avoid them.
BD gear you use every time you go climbing? Crashpad, chalk, brush, liquid chalk, headlamp, quickdraws, screwbiner depending if I’m bouldering or climbing.
Something that annoys you while climbing? Crowded places, litter, somebody trying my project, etc...
What/who inspires you in climbing? There have been many people depending on the different periods of my life. The one that showed us (François and I) what bouldering is, Thierry Lardet. Or well-known personality like Patrick Edlinger and Patrick Berhault, and of course John Gill. And many more people I’ve met all over the world – it would take to long to name them all!
Favorite après-climb meal? I love good food with a good wine or a fresh beer.
Favorite climbing flick? La vie au bout des doigts
What's in your iPod? Hubert-Félix Thiéfaine, Mickey 3D, Mike Oldfield, White Stripes, The Tannahill Weavers, Alela Diane, Stress, Ojos de Brujos, Edoardo Bennato, Lucio Dalla, Miriam Makeba, Abib Koité, Alpha Blondy, Apache, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Gnarls Barkley, etc...
Strangest place you've ever woken up? I normally choose the place where I will wake up in the morning...
Strangest person you've ever woken up with? Myself?
Three things you'd never roadtrip without? A good book, climbing shoes, chalk
Superstitions? Each culture got there own superstitions. I try to respect them all. When travelling, I try to buy a local talisman.
What's your dream job? Maybe the one I’m doing already.
How are you training when you are not climbing? I rest when I don’t climb.
If you could steal one thing and not get caught, what would it be? Enough money to be serene until the end of my life.
If you could have dinner with three people (dead or alive) who would they be? Lao Tse, Marilyn Monroe and Cléopatra (to find out if her nose was as pretty as the legend says)
Which would you prefer: power of flight or invisibility? I would prefer the power of flight, but maybe after I would find climbing boring – or maybe invisibility to be able to climb anonymous everywhere.
Do you have any tattoos or piercings? Maybe you don’t call this piercing but I have one earring since many years.