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Mountaineer Marion Poitevin, spokesperson for women in the mountains

In the mountains, danger can arise anywhere, anytime. The disappearance, Wednesday September 28, in Nepal, of the American adventurer Hilaree Nelson brought once again the sad proof of it. French mountaineer Marion Poitevin, 37, is well aware of these risks: “I’ve always said to myself, I mustn’t die in the mountains, she explains. I must be able to report what I experienced, I am the only one who can testify. »

Telling her story, that of a young girl who succeeded, not without difficulty, in imposing herself in an environment dominated by men for decades, even centuries, Marion Poitevin has often thought about it. She has just taken action by publishing Break the ice ceiling. A pioneer in mountaineering (Editions Guérin-Paulsen, 200 pages, 25 euros).

Read also: The disappearance of American Hilaree Nelson, mountaineering legend

In this book, Marion Poitevin lists the many obstacles she faced

In this book, motivated by the desire to explain in detail “this crazy job” and to encourage other women to follow her path, Marion Poitevin retraces her extraordinary journey. And lists the many obstacles she faced. In mountaineering, she has multiplied the “firsts”: first woman admitted to the high mountain military group (GMHM) – the army’s elite mountaineering team –; first instructor at the High Mountain Military School (EMHM); first CRS mountain woman… But, for a long time, the climber with brown hair and a muscular figure also had the feeling of being a “Venusian on Mars”, an exception that she would like to no longer be.

Born in Nancy, Marion Poitevin grew up in La Roche-sur-Foron, in Haute-Savoie. Tireless, she spends her days climbing, skiing and cycling. On the walls of his room, posters of climbers, like the Americans Lynn Hill and Chris Sharma. From adolescence, helmet, ice axes and crampons are his best allies. At 15, she made her first race in the high mountains with her father, a PE teacher. On Pointe Isabelle (3,761 meters), in the Mont-Blanc massif, she discovered the fragility of the breath at altitude and marveled at the sunrise over the glacier. Up there she feels “free and strong”. While downstairs she “hard to find [sa] place as a woman”.

At home, his mother, a kayaker and school teacher, represents “a sporty and mentally committed female model”. The father, he does not make a difference in treatment between Marion and her brother, a year her junior. But, in college, she realizes the inequalities linked to gender. “Whether you are tall, short, trained or not, you are considered less strong and your evaluation scale will be lower. It took me a while to understand the message behind this difference in grading between girl and boy,” explains Marion Poitevin.

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