Sometimes it’s fate that guides us in our choices. In the case of Christophe Dumarest, the story was already written, even before his birth. “I was born in a backpack,” he says wryly. The mountains have played a central role in his life. His parents took him on trails and up peaks before he could walk. In a backpack, to be precise. Every weekend off work was an opportunity to explore a different mountain, to experience the thrill of a summit.
While Christophe Dumarest’s steps were still unstable, he learned about the techniques of climbing, the automatic reflexes of knots and rope maneuvers. Crampons came to him easily as well. Even before his 10th birthday, he reached the summit of his first four-thousander. Shortly after, he tackled his first north face, that of the Aiguille Dibona, followed by the north face of the Chapelle de la Glière and then the Tsanteleina.
Soon the roles of the climbing party reversed, and Christophe took the lead, guiding his father on the most alluring Alpine peaks. The fine-tuning that raised him to the level of the mountaineering elite came with the local climbing club, where he trained and met new climbing partners, young people with the same motivation. In this period, he began climbing frequently with Patrick Gabarrou, which soon led to first ascents of some ice falls and various routes. In 2003 they completed the first ascent of Patagonic (700 m, M6, V+, WI6, A1), which runs along the center of the south face of Mont Blanc. Two years later they were on the Grandes Jorasses, where the best mountaineers in the world prove their mettle, to put up Heidi together with Philippe Batoux. Then came the great expeditions outside Europe, climbing some of the hardest walls in the world, followed by a realization that brought him back to his home mountains: our travels have an impact on the environment, and finding adventure doesn’t require transcontinental travel. Imagination and creativity are enough.