#interview #MathieuMaynadier #TMF2019 #TMFRocksShow #rockclimbing #mountaineering #ThePathanProject

Let’s put together a nuclear energy and an extremely curious mind: this is Mathieu Maynadier, one of France’s leading young alpinists.

Remarked by the international mountaineering and climbing community for being part of audacious ascents, like the Luang II (6830 m) which received a nomination for the Piolet d’Or in 2011, and opening new routes in Nepal (like the  South Face of Gauri Shankar or the new route up Mount Dazampa Tse), Mathieu Maynadier – the Briançon guide,  tenaciously explores and varies his approach to adventure by skiing, ice climbing, rock climbing, mountaineering, depending on the season.

Since you had the chance to see Mathieu Maynadier in “The Pathan Project” – the winning film of Transylvania Mountain Festival 2019, along with his climbing partners and friends, we bring Mathieu closer to you, via this special interview.

Mathieu Maynadier – High Energy and The Desire to Explore

Matthieu Maynadier / Vallot.

[D.C. – Diana Ciorba]: When and how did you start rock climbing and climbing big walls?

Mathieu Maynadier: I started climbing when I was 10 years old, in the small sports association from my valley. It wasn’t a club focused only on climbing, but more like a multisport club. For a long time, I was more a skier than a climber, but around my 20s I stopped skimo racing to focus more on climbing and alpinism.

My first big wall experience was in Yosemite, followed by Baffin Island, Greenland … Nevertheless, I am still more focused on mountaineering and mixed climbing.

Mathieu Maynadier – High Energy and The Desire to Explore

Matthieu Maynadier / ice climbing.

[D.C.:] How did you come up with the idea of going to Pakistan?

Mathieu Maynadier: After many trips for mixed climbing, I was interested to make some changes and thus, I found a less high project, but involving more rock climbing.
When we were exploring the possibilities for an expedition project we stumbled upon a picture of a nice wall located in the Khondus area.

After doing some research, we discovered a big mountain range, barely climbed (mostly due to the conflict between India and Pakistan, but on the way to be re-opened to foreign explorers and mountaineers) …From that day I set my self the objective of visiting this particular area in Pakistan.

Since then, I was there 7 times and explored more than Khondus are! Pakistani mountains are so big! – and in my eyes, if you like big mountains, THAT is the best place in the world !

MATHIEU MAYNADIER – Energie debordantă și dorința de a explora.

Matthieu Maynadier / in expedition.

[D.C.:] What was the line that you were looking for there? How did you choose it?

Mathieu Maynadier: The initial plan was to find a steep line, to open it by aid climb, then try to free climb it. The idea was actually to spend time in the wall, as the Belgian was used to do. Nico was really focused for that, but at the end, we never found the expected line and the rock was not as compact as needed for a no bolt climb. Therefore, in the end we have climbed the easiest line in a more alpine style.

[D.C:] What do you like most in your expeditions?

Mathieu Maynadier: I really like to go there and cut off with the reality of the daily routine… In each expedition you have the chance to be 100% focused on your project – nothing more to do, just climb and rest.

In the normal life, it is hard to have such time for us: we are always alert and demanded to do something. Thus, expeditions are simply great for disconnecting oneself.

Also from my personal point of view, in the Alps all the best lines are already opened. It is true that there are still some stuff to do, but most of the logical stuff are already done …

During an expedition we still have the chance to find some great faces or virgin mountains without any information about them. But, that’s not all! We also visit places where people are not used to see foreigners, so we can imagine how was life in this Alps a century ago, and that is the second good thing that I like about the expeditions.

I find it really exciting to be an alpinist!

MATHIEU MAYNADIER – Energie debordantă și dorința de a explora.

Matthieu Maynadier / rock climbing.

[D.C.:] What happened after The Pathan Project? What are your plans for 2020 – 2021?

Mathieu Maynadier: After Pathan, it took me almost one year to fully recover. Due to my head and back injuries I felt tired all the time and was not able to carry my backpack …

But since last autumn, I really feel good and in October I went on a new expedition in India, with Sean Villanueva and Roger Schali, and I was glad to find out that may shape and motivation were totally back! …Unfortunately we got such a bad weather on Meru… Nevertheless, we are super motived to go again on this wall, next year!

For this year, I have two projects: one in Pakistan in June /July for mixed climbing and another one in September / Ocober in Népal, for high altitude skiing …. But let’s see what happens with this virus outbreak…

[D.C.:] What is the most innovative thing in climbing and exploring?

Mathieu Maynadier: On a fun note, I would say the biggest innovation was Google Earth! 😊 In reality, I think that exploration in the world it is not yet finished, but it is certainly limited .. Men reached everywhere. But it is possible to rediscover some areas and see them from a different angle… Before, mountaineers where focused on the main summit of a range, while now, we have a different view and we begin to rediscover some areas …

MATHIEU MAYNADIER – Energie debordantă și dorința de a explora.

Matthieu Maynadier / photo by: Marc Daviet

[D.C.:] Have you ever been in Romania, in the Carpathians? Fancy of climbing here?

Mathieu Maynadier: No, I have never been and it’s a big failure… There are many places where I have never bee, but they are in my project! Actually, I am lucky to be able to go on two expeditions each year … and I really like it! Consequently, between them, I do not have much time for travelling; I try to stay home, to rest, train and work.

After the expeditions, I really want to do some van trips and visit all Eastern countries, where – I heard – you have such a great mountain culture and many different places to climb, ski and hike!


The Pathan Project, (2019) / producer: Guillaume Broust


Thank you Mathieu, for being always upbeat and ready to share your dreams with others.

For those who are curious about his mountaineering and climbing adventures, along with his friends you can follow his page here:

Be ready for the next screening of his adventures in Cluj-Napoca. Stay tuned!

Interview “Mathieu Maynadier – High Energy and The Desire to Explore” prepared by Diana Ciorba.

Cluj-Napoca, 30/03/2020