© Snowboard, montagne, ascension | The Explorers / Aurelie Gonin

In the footsteps of famous mountaineers in the Southern French Alps

Do you see yourself alone at the top of a mountain, surrounded by mountain ranges stretching majestically as far as the eye can see? Mountaineers will tell you that there is no other feeling like it. These heroes of the mountains have decided to dedicate their lives to conquering the peaks, and even sometimes achieving the unimaginable!

The Alps, the cradle of mountaineering

Not a recent discipline

The mountains were once a symbol of mystery and taboos, like the sea, but nowadays mountains and mountaineering go hand in hand. 1786 marks the birth of this discipline, when two men managed to climb Mont-Blanc. Conquests and experiments were to follow on the mountain peaks. The mountains became a sort of playground, an exceptional place to live in and mountaineering is now a recognized sport. Want to give it a try? Be sure to have the essential equipment you need to start climbing safely! You will need a helmet, a climbing harness, a rope, good mountaineering boots and in some cases ice picks and crampons.

Edward Whymper at the top of the Barre des Écrins

A historical climb to an altitude of 4,102 metres

On June 25th 1864, the British mountaineer Edward Whymper went down in the history of mountaineering when he made the first climb of the Barre des Écrins, a real feat as this is the second highest peak in France after Mont-Blanc. Edward Whymper did not climb alone. He was in good company. The British mountaineers Horace Walker and Adolphus Warburton, and the mountain guides Michel Croz and Christian Almer were also part of the team. Together, they launched into the adventure and crossed the Massif des Écrins to reach their goal: to climb to the top of the famous Barre des Écrins. It’s best not to suffer from vertigo if you want to climb this mountain whose summit is at 4,102 metres! You’re a seasoned mountaineer? You too can try rising to the challenge with a specialised guide. A guaranteed adrenalin boost!

Victor de Cessole, an explorer from the Alpes-Maritimes among the pioneers

A keen mountaineer to conquer the mountains

Do you know the story of the famous mountaineer Victor de Cessole ? He started mountaineering at the age of 30 following advice from his doctor who recommended an open-air activity A 30-year old man and who fell in love with the mountains. A figure of mountaineering, photographer and story-teller, the Comte Victor de Cessole from Nice left his mark in the Alpes-Maritimes and largely contributed to the conquest of new 90 summits and 120 routes! A keen mountaineer, he also took part in the sharing of mountaineering knowledge and methods. Always ready to rise to a challenge, Victor de Cessole was also the first man to reach the mythical peak of the Corno Stella, nicknamed the “Inaccessible Rock”.

Lionel Daudet and Mont Ross

An iconic figure of mountaineering

Mountaineer Lionel Daudet has climbed quite a few peaks all over the world! A true man of the mountains and a keen mountaineer since childhood who lives near Briançon, he has devoted his life to conquering Alpine peaks. There is one climb in particular: Mont Ross, on the Grande Terre island of the Kerguelen archipelago, in 2006. Lionel Daudet rose at the time to the challenge of climbing not one, but two peaks, Petit Ross and Grand Ross which are narrowly separated by a very steep ridge. As a famous mountaineer, he has been awarded twice the Piolet d’Or, the highest distinction in the world where mountaineering is concerned. If you’re looking for a book about mountaineering, Lionel will take you off on his adventures in his three books: La Montagne Intérieure, Versant Océan and Le tour de la France exactement.

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