After nine years in London, I thought I had seen enough punks to last me a lifetime. I was wrong. Along comes a happy bunch of French mountaineers and it’s back to John Lydon’s times. C’est super!
Maël Baguet and Dimitri Messina were in Grenoble to present their film Siguniang. The Rencontre du Cinéma de Montagne de Grenoble http://www.cinema-montagne-grenoble.fr is a festival like no other. For a start, the theatre sits 3,000+ and the entry is free. Its appeal, though, lies in having mountaineers as well as film directors on stage, sharing their views, their thoughts, and their experiences. Organising such an event is a tough task, and I was very happy to be the lucky spectator this time – among many others!
I met several top mountaineers, from Christophe Dumarest and Yann Borgnet to Matt Helliker and John Bracey, Stephanie Bodet and Arnaud Petit, Geraldine Fasnacht and film director Seb Montaz, Nicolas Favresse… the list could go on and on.
It was also the first time I saw Maël and Dimitri. Very young, with a devil-may-care attitude but extremely well trained, in the typical fashion where the French excel.
Maël formerly belonged to the National Alpine Climbing Excellence Team of the FFCAM (Féderation Française des Clubs alpins et de Montagne) and is now in the ENAM (National Mountaineering Team) of the FFME (Féderation Française de la Montagne et de l’Escalade). Seemingly pompous acronyms which conceal, in fact, France’s best kept mountaineering secrets.
And so it came as no surprise when Maël and Dimitri opened a new line, Ni Hen Piao Liang, on the northwest face of Siguniang (6,250m, Sichuan, China) in October 2011. J-B Assier, Sylvain Rechu and Fabien Suiffet were also part of the expedition.
A brilliant, light-hearted film was the result of this achievement. Currently touring film festivals across Europe, here you can find some images related to it. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xi96zw_alpinisme-au-siguniang-2011-la-preparation_sport#.UX_uqb9psUs\ Stay tuned for more info on its forthcoming release!
Maël also edited a great video of a 2011 Kenya trip undertaken by the usual suspects (Dimitri & Co), which sees them climbing Mount Poi (Story about Dancing Dogs, 600 m/21 pitches/7c+max) and Mount Kenya (Diamond Buttress, 500 m/ED/7a max).
Watch the movie here http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpbo0i_vertical-jungle-kenya_sport#.UX_yq79psUs
On top of this, Maël is a keen BASE Jumper as well as an ice climber and is a member of the ABK team – le crew http://www.abk-climbing.eu/en/ The climbing clothing line which does not make you stronger, but certainly more beautiful!
I will visit Grenoble again for sure. Who knows how many other French top mountaineers may be hiding?