Jean-Christophe Lafaille

Jean-Christophe Lafaille was born in Gap (Hautes-Alpes, France) on 31st March 1965. He has been a high mountain guide (independent) since 1990, and a teacher at the National School of skiing and mountaineering (ENSA) since 1993, where he finally settled in 1998. He has two children: Marie, born in 1996 from a first marriage, and Tom, born on 31st March 2001, son of Katia.

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Principal achievements year by year

1990: First solo summit of “Divine Provinence” in the “Grand Pilier d’Angle” of Mont Blanc, said to be amongst the most difficult in the Massif.

1991: First solo linking and opening of two difficult routes on the Italian slopes of the Mont Blanc Massif (“most beautiful Alpine achievement of the year”, Cristal d’Or, French Federation of the mountains and climbing).

1992: First winter solo summit and opening of a new route, “Le Chemin des Etoiles” (the path of the stars), on the North Face of the Grandes Jorasses. Discovery of the Himalaya.

1993: Jean-Christophe Lafaille's first 8,000er : Cho-Oyu (8201 meters)

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1994: First Frenchman in Yosemite (Zenyatta Mondatta route) and solo opening of a route to Shishapangma.

1995: Linking, in complete autonomy and alone, of ten north faces of the Alps in two weeks (Oberland, Valais and Mont Blanc) covering the famous trilogy of the Eiger, Matterhorn and the Grands Jorasses. This journey (140 km of cross country ski, linking 20,000m difference in height of the rock faces) has been rewarded by the “Super-Bourne IGN” of adventure.

1996: Solo Summits in less than four days of Gasherbrum II (8035 meters) and Gasherbrum I (8068 meters).

Solo ascent to a new summit of 6250 meters, named “MARI-RI”, after Marie, his daughter.

1997: Western summit of Lothse (8511 meters)

1998: Summit of Aconcagua (6959 meters)

1999: (April) Solo opening of a new route, “Decalage”, on the Croz spur in the North face of the Grandes Jorasses.  8 days of complete self-sufficiency. Then the first Frenchman in the “Sea of Dream” route on the Capitan rock face in Yosemite.

2000: (January) On tour in Colorado, achieving difficult Dry Tooling routes and participating in competitions in this discipline. (May) First solo ascent of the north-east face of Manaslu (8163 meters)

2001: (February) Solo opening of one of the hardest routes in the Alps: the western face of Drus in nine days.

2001: K2 Summit via the Cesen route as a two man team with Hans Kammerlander.

2002: Annapurna Summit

2003: Dhaulagiri

Of the eight 8000ers he has made 3-4 new routes and climbed four peaks solo. His Shishapangma Summit is a great story... 

Translated from French by Liz Moody

Interview with Jean Christophe Lafaille is here.