The French competition climber, 28, talks about her love of the great outdoors
I grew up on a tropical islandto the east of Madagascar, calledLa Reunion, before moving to France– so I’ve always loved the outdoors.I come from a sailing background, andused to enjoy a lot of other sportssuch as tennis and dance, but climbingis where I really found myself.
Climbing is the fourth mostpopular sport in France. I startedclimbing when I was 12 years old,after trying it on a plastic wall onthe back of my school. My teacherencouraged me to try outdoor climbingand I was soon sport climbing (usinganchors and bolts permanently fixedto the rock) twice a week.
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I’ve been a competitionclimber for years, and am proudto have competed in 10 worldcups. I won the Chamonix 2011world cup, and it was amazing to besuccessful on my home ground. I stilldon’t know how I did it – I guess I wasin the zone and managed to findstrength I didn’t know I had.
Although I’m a sport climber,there are lots of climbing stylesI enjoy, such as multi-pitch ortraditional climbing (climbing withoutpre-placed anchors and bolts). Myboyfriend, James Pearson, is asuccessful traditional climber fromEngland. He introduced me to thisclimbing style, and I’ve sincecompleted a route up Point Blank inPembrokeshire. As far as I know, I’m the only woman in the world to have done this.
The great thing about climbingis that it enables you to travel allover the world and discover different places. I’m really lucky toshare this experience with James, ashaving the same job means we cantravel together. We spend threemonths of the year at home and therest of the time touring the worldtogether. It’s pretty magical.
You need to be very strongand have good endurance levelsto climb, so my training is verycalculated. I plan all the workoutsI’m going to do each month. Theseinclude lifting weights, doing bodywork (such as push-ups and pull-ups)and running. I also climb for threehours each day, five times a week,on the indoor wall at the gym nextto my house.
I hate running. I’ve beendoing it for 10 years and haven’tenjoyed a single mile. A lot ofmy friends love it, but I really can’tunderstand why. Climbing is avery mental sport, in which you’reconstantly thinking about your nextmove. This is completely different tothe mentality required for running, asyou’re expected to zone out and relax.