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