In the company of women. Connect, experience, share. Explore & Be.


The cheerful group ! – Cop. Hugo Vincent Photography

And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far into the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

An outing with 36 women. Wouldn’t that be a daunting prospect?   Perhaps. Not in modern society, however. Women want to explore, share their experience, learn, meet new people, have fun and just be themselves. This is the credo behind Explore & Be, the new venture set up by mountain guide Isabelle Santoire, supported by Arc’teryx.

What is she planning to do? She is organising events, from ice-climbing to ski-touring, climbing and mountaineering, which bring together people sharing a passion for the mountains and who love sharing their enthusiasm.

The latest project was a two-day ski-touring outing in Switzerland, at the cozy Cabane Brunet, above Lourtier. Girls of all ages and competences met to explore new territories and have fun. Longer and shorter tours were organised, with the help of five guides: Heike Schmitt, Ulrika Asp, Julia Virat and Cecile Thomas, in addition to Isabelle. No competitive frenzy, no desire to prove who’s best, just smiles and good times, under the watchful eyes of ever smiling, highly competent guides.

Blessed by glorious weather and stunning scenery, in addition to some skinning up and skiing down, transceiver camps were organised, as well as a stretching session and an informal discussion on women in the mountains.

During these two days, all I could hear were laughs and words of encouragement. And rightly so. Explore & Be is not about setting records: it’s about creating a spark of enthusiasm among passionate folks, bonding with other like-minded people, learning and sharing.

You will see Isabelle and some of the other guides in the Arc’teryx Academy, held in Chamonix from 16 to 19 June. More info here

Explore & Be is planning to hold more events in the future, of various kinds. Watch this space!    And remember: whatever you do, love life.


Ryoko Amano and Yvette Evers happy on top of Mont Rogneux – Photo Y. Evers


Getting instructions from Cecile Thomas – Photo L. Prosino


A room with a view at the Cabane Brunet – Photo L. Prosino


Happy under the surveillance of Heike Schmitt – photo L. Prosino


Shadows…  – Photo L. Prosino


Catching up with the others – Photo L. Prosino


Marvellous surroundings – Photo I. Santoire


Marching up… – Photo Y. Evers



Going up… – Cop. Hugo Vincent Photography


Cecile Thomas leading the happy group – Cop. Hugo Vincent Photography


Cop. Hugo Vincent Photography


The happy winners of two Arc’teryx Jackets!! –  Hugo Vincent Photography


Skiing down – Hugo Vincent Photography


Smooth. – Hugo Vincent Photography


Cecile Thomas – Hugo Vincent Photography


Heike Schmitt and Julia Virat on the way up – Hugo Vincent Photography


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