SHE CLIMBS A 6000 METERS CLIFF :
FIND OUT WHAT YOU HAVE IN COMMON WITH HER
Hang on, squeeze your fingers! Careful, your foot isn't well placed... Raise your head slowly and look where your next catch is. There, next to the grass that split the rock. Bring your body closer to the wall. Your arms are stuck and your legs are shaking.
Concentrate, there's no way you're going to fall. Push on your thighs, stretch out your hand, pull yourself up now! That's it, you're there, at the top of your rock. The view is beautiful, the wind caresses your cheeks, your heart slows down and a smile comes over your face without asking your permission. You are alive.
ASTHMATIC, SHE STARTS WITHOUT KNOWING HOW TO BREATHE...
There is an age when everything is accessible, when everything seems simple. This is the age when our responsibility was simply to choose the right notebooks and the right colour of the pens.
And on weekends... we could go for walks with the family. For some, it was a good idea to climb tree branches as quickly as possible, jump from rock to rock before scratching their knees and galloping off to the next obstacle.
And becoming a climber is just around the corner for those who let the passion set their hearts on fire. Climb higher, always faster! And here, we tell ourselves that the competitions follow one another naturally and voilà, the world championship is won! But for the young Stéphanie Bodet, she had to take a different path.
The very young girl can't even breathe properly. She suffers from asthma and the smallest stride makes her lungs whistle and inflame. She also has severe allergies. But the little girl is a dreamer.
Her passion for climbing possesses her. So she learns, slowly but tirelessly, how to manage her breath, how to apprehend the effort and how to overcome her handicap. When you are a child, it is difficult to concentrate for long periods of time, to persevere in spite of suffering. Yet here she is trying, persevering, and healing.
... AND YET THE WORLD BECOMES HER PLAYGROUND
Painful training pays off and medals are more and more accessible, always more golden. She meets love, Arnaud Petit, also a multi-medal climber. She follows a competitive way for a while at his side.
But she quickly realizes that her place is not quite there. She dreams of another way of life. So after winning the climbing world championship, she sets off to climb the world with her companion, where she'll have some great premieres along the way.
Tsaranoro (Madagascar), Tours de Trango (Pakistan), Salto Ángel (Venezuela), El Capitan (Yosemite, USA), Grand Capucin (Mont Blanc massif)... No mineral wall can resist her. Their lives have taken the shape of their dreams.
She says, "I loved doing these paths, feeling the telluric forces, being connected to geological times, to something bigger than myself. In those moments, you forget yourself as a human being and become part of nature."
From Pakistan to the United States, through Morocco and Patagonia, Stéphanie Bodet travels the Planet in search of the most breathtaking rocky routes. Stéphanie inspires the world with her vision of life. She shares it with us in her remarkable book "À la verticale de soi" published in 2016.
Her physical prowess inspires admiration, but I invite you to read her books because they inspire us to humility and an incredible sense of pure freedom.
Here is how Stéphanie defines her discipline: ""I practice free climbing, that is to say, I climb only with the holds that the rock offers. I mostly climb big walls, which take several days to climb."
During its ascent, she delights in the scents of the plants that flower through the mineral. She observes and contemplates the impressive nature that surrounds her. Once at the top, the climber opens a book or a collection of poems. There she devours the pages of her favourite authors.
And at the top of these rocks, she starts to write. She's a lover of words. Her own books like "Habiter le monde" make this outstanding athlete into a novelist. After winning so many prizes through competition, she returns to nature and the essential.
Sources and photo credits: