Valandre Blog

A TEAM VALANDRE on a Climb of the Grande Pic de la Meije (3983m/11.950ft)


July 31th and august 1th 2012 Paul Régnier, Pierre Olivier Blanc et Francois Ranise entered the foot (3092m) of the 3983m high Grande Pic de la Meije, to Climb the Allain- Leiniger route. This route is a beautiful almost 1000m rock climb on the south face of the Grand Pic de la Meije in the massif des Ecrins south of Grenoble – France. Rated TD (Tres Difficile/Very difficult), it consist of numerous pitches in 5 and one famous icy chimney in 6.

Grande Pic de la Meije (3983m/11.950ft)

The La Meije was one of the last peaks to be climbed in the French Alpes due to the technical difficulties. It’s an 8 to 10hours climb up and a 4h decent of the glacier on the north side. Paul, Pierre and Francois had a late start waiting for the sun to warm them up, and then they entered the route and climbed up with heavy back packs containing the necessary gear. Having some difficulties finding the route, they were happy to be able to make a bivy at the edge of the squared glacier at 3600m (10.800ft).

……and up the chimney we go!

Just before sunset, after a memorable night, Paul shoot a video at the bivi, as all happened to have spent the night in their Valandré bags. Paul in a Swing 900, PO in his old time Lafayette and Francois in a Bloody Mary. After summiting, Paul sent the video to us in Belcaire.

The famous BLING sticker!

Paul, Pierre Olivier and Francois have received a Bling sticker and our Flipper booklet containing all information’s of the 14 8000m peaks to thank them for the video.

The booklet is “super gear” to bring along. It allows you to play “the 8000m peak quiz” in the bivy or in the camp – EX: Who was the first to climb Kanchenjunga in winter, and what date? and….Who was the first wonan on Nanga….with or without ox?

Send us a Valandré video, and you will receive a BLING STICKER and the FLIPPER BOOKLET!

Maurice Herzog passes away


Today Friday December 14, the news broke out that Maurice Herzog has passed away at the age of 93.

Maurice Herzog - Paris

Maurice may not be as well known to the public as Reinhold Messner, however in the climbing community he was and remains a remarkable pioneer, by climbing the first 8000 peak 03.06.1950 accompanied by Louis Lachenal: The 8091m (26.545ft) high Annapurna 1 located in Nepal.

Maurice Herzog au sommet de l'Annapurna 1950
The Annapurna 1 is considered the most dangerous of the 14 8000m peaks. The north and its original route is not that technical but EXTREMELY avalanche prone.

Annapurna North-West-Face - (c)

Maurice and Louis organized a full expedition, leaving France to attempt the first 8000m peak and in one season. Up untill then, all attempts to summit a 8000 was using a tactics of expeditions longer than one season. Maurice and Louis introduced the first “short and fast” 8000m peak, and summited to become the first humans on a summit over 8000m.

Conquistadors of the Useless - Louis Lachenal and Lionel Terray After Annapurna North Face Descent 1950
But even more remarkable, Maurice and Louis climbed Annapurna 1 “Non Ox” – a point that has to be underlined.
Alpinism is often learning the lesson the hard way: With no experience with non-ox high altitude climbing, both Maurice and Louis underestimated the combination of extreme cold combined with only little oxygen available to “fuel the fire”. Using too light equipment (booths and gloves) both of the climbers had fingers and toes amputated  urgently in the field, at their return to BC.

True Summit - Lionel Terray carrying Louis Lachenal from airplane on return from Annapurna 1950

In less than a month, the French climbing community have lost to historical icons: Maurice Herzog and Patrick Edlinger (November 16th).


Maurice Herzog Patrick Edlinger

Rest in peace!

Patrick Edlinger (F) lets loose the grip at 52


Patrick Edlinger

It’s with great sadness that we heard the news of the death of French icon rock climber Patrick Edlinger at the age of 52 in his home in Savoy this morning (16.11.12). Please allow us to present our deepest condolences to his family, loved ones and to all of us who witnessed his amazing performance free climbing in the Verdon gorge.

Back in 1982, we had a gamble going on: “If Patrick is not alive by the end of the year, I will buy a round of beer, and chew my hat”. I never bought that round of beer, and never chewed my hat – because I knew that he was (like others in the early eighties) a top professional breaking the limits.

“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose”, so Patrick took this to the edge of the real world, and free climbed some of the most challenging routes in the Verdon gorge.

It was the years of “Think Pink” and Patrick was the inspiratory in France. He infused climbing in France with spirituality, philosophy with an ecological approach……yet still his gymnastic performances was – as his mind of steel – of extremely high performance.

Patrick let his grip loose last night, but this is fine with me. None of us expected an everlasting life, as the thrill was on the edge.

In one of his last statements to a hungry press Patrick stated: “I am a free man and do not regret anything I have done”. Yes life on the edge – with nothing left to loose – is true in its momentary essence, no future in front, no past behind. Just the eternal NOW

Does it really matter, we used to ask? – Your question is now Patrick: Did it really matter?

We at Valandré would like to thank Patrick Edlinger for the fundamentally true impulses he infused into the climbing community in the early 80’ties.

Rest in peace Patrick…..the job was well done!

Patrick Edlinger lache prise à 52 ans


Patrick Edlinger

C’est avec une immense tristesse que nous apprenons la mort du grimpeur français Patrick Edlinger âgé de 52 ans à son domicile en Savoie le matin du 16 Novembre 2012. Nous présentons nos plus sincères condoléances à sa famille et à tous ceux qui l’ont aimé et ont été témoins de ses prouesses en grimpe libre dans les gorges du Verdon.

En 1982, nous avions lancé un pari : « Si Patrick n’est plus vivant à la fin de l’année, j’achèterai une tournée de bières pour tout le monde et je mangerai mon chapeau ». Je n’ai jamais acheté cette tournée de bières et jamais mangé mon chapeau – je savais qu’il était (comme tant d’autres à cette période) en train de dépasser et de transcender les limites de cette profession.

« La Liberté, c’est juste un mot lorsqu’on a plus rien à perdre », Patrick a donc emprunté cette phrase à la frontière du monde réel et a grimpé en totale liberté les voies les plus difficiles des gorges du Verdon.

C’était l’année du “ThinkPink” et Patrick en était l’inspiration en France. Il a initié et diffusé en France la grimpe accompagnée de spiritualité et de philosophie, avec une approche écologique… mais ses performances physiques étaient – à l’image de son mental d’acier – d’une exceptionnelle puissance.

Patrick est parti la nuit dernière. Personne d’entre nous n’attend la vie éternelle mais le frisson était proche.

Dans l’une de ses dernières déclarations à la presse, Patrick disait : « Je suis un homme libre et ne regrette rien de ce que j’ai fait ». Oui la vie sur un fil – sans rien à perdre – est la vérité dans son essence momentanée, pas de futur devant, pas de passé derrière. Juste l’éternel MAINTENANT.

Cela importe-t-il, nous lui demandions souvent? – Cette question est maintenant Patrick, cela importait-il ?

Chez Valandré nous voulons remercier Patrick Edlinger pour sa véritable implication et son apport à la communauté depuis le début des années 80.

Repose en paix Patrick … tu as bien travaillé !

Man walks up Mount Kilimanjaro on his hands

[jwplayer XYzPuobs-S5EMYFqt]Hats off……..everybody clap your hands!

Mountaineering is a personal engagement between the climber and his mountain. Climbing up the Tanzanian volcano Mount Kilimanjaro, is not a big deal in the scale of climbing an 8000m peak. Just 5.895m……yes just a “small little 5.895m”!
Spencer West (USA) confronted his mountain and summited it, in what simply deserves its place in the history of mountaineering: With no legs, Spencer wheel chaired some of the way and climbed where the wheel chair could not go……on his hands. It takes determination and courage and a profound love for life to for fill such an achievement.
A BIG BIG Bravo Spencer……Hats off!