Peo­ple who rock

Meet the woman who climbed all 82 of the Alps’ 4000m moun­tains

Trail (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Climb­ing all 82 4000m peaks in the Alps

just seemed like the next log­i­cal thing to do. Liv­ing in the Cha­monix area means ad­ven­ture is right next door. No travel, no flights in­volved, no lifts taken (I al­ways started from down the val­ley floor to the sum­mit). Shar­ing the moun­tains with re­ally good friends. Us­ing dif­fer­ent skills and toys – skis in the win­ter, alpin­ism in sum­mer and paraglid­ing ev­ery time it was pos­si­ble.

It’s taken me a year and a half to com­plete

all 82, although heavy snow­fall pre­vented any as­cents for six months this win­ter.

Al­most ev­ery peak was a won­der­ful story

in it­self, but I was not ex­pect­ing to fin­ish this year. Con­di­tions and weather had been bad all sum­mer and I had de­cided to let go and post­pone. But in early Septem­ber the weather looked re­ally sta­ble, so the next morn­ing we were hik­ing up to the first bivouac place in the Mont Blanc mas­sif, less trained and ac­cli­ma­tised than I was in June. Quite sur­pris­ingly, we felt good, things went smoothly and we were faster than we thought reach­ing the top of the last two sum­mits. We’d taken our light­weight paraglid­ers, so I got to fin­ish my project with one of the nicest and longest alpine as­cents of Mont Blanc and then fly off it to land safely in Cha­monix 50 min­utes later.

One of the cra­zi­est things I’ve done was to

take my friend, Vanessa, an alpin­ist who had a climb­ing ac­ci­dent and lost the use of her legs, to the sum­mit of El Cap­i­tan in Yosemite and to the sum­mit of the Grand Ca­pucin, in Cha­monix. These were two re­ally fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ences – noth­ing was easy but at the same time ev­ery­thing was pow­er­ful and en­rich­ing.

Un­ex­pected rock falls scare me.

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, it’s those dan­gers that are not within your im­me­di­ate con­trol that are most nerve-rack­ing.

I man­age fear by fo­cus­ing on one thing –

what can keep me alive, put me in a safer sit­u­a­tion and get me ready to re­act to pro­tect my­self bet­ter. You have to be in the ac­tion and not let the fear paral­yse your brain.

In 2001 I had a pretty se­ri­ous climb­ing in­jury.

When you have a big ac­ci­dent, you will never be ex­actly the same per­son as be­fore. I would say first of all you have to ac­cept this. And then move on and lis­ten to your body and to what drives you. My pas­sion for climb­ing and for the moun­tains was def­i­nitely a big help and a great source of mo­ti­va­tion on the long road to re­cov­ery. I worked hard, fo­cused on what I would love to do when my body was re­cov­ered, and in the end ev­ery­thing went faster than planned.

I hope that for some other women

I am a bit of a role model, and make them want to pur­sue their dreams and dare.

Two-time world cham­pion climber Liv San­soz talks about her ex­tra­or­di­nary moun­tain-lov­ing, thrillseek­ing life­style and the re­cent com­ple­tion of all 82 4000m peaks in the Alpine Peak chal­lenge.

Liv on Grun­horn in the Swiss Alps, as part of her 82 peak chal­lenge.

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