'Douds' Charlet

‘Douds’ Charlet

Freeride superstar and UIAGM guide, Jonathan Charlet, will be leading the Valandre and SlingFin bivvy experience on Saturday night. With him, participants will learn a range of glacial travel skills, before sleeping under the stars on a glacier high above Chamonix.

Charlet, a 7th generation mountain guide whose grandfather is Jean-Paul Charlet – climbing partner of Gaston Rébuffat- is also the 2012 world snowboard free ride champion and has been on expeditions to Pakistan and Alaska’s Mount McKinley.
Interview by Katy Dartford.

“I’ve been a mountain guide for three years but I’ve worked for 6 years and won the Freeride World Tour in 2012 in snowboarding. Since I started freeriding in 2008, I’ve been around the world with the tour. I was born in Chamonix and grandfather, Jean-Paul Charlet climbed with Gaston Rébuffat (most famous for being the first man to climb all six of the great north faces of the Alps) and they opened a lot of new routes in the Argentiere basin area.”

Did you always want to be a mountain guide?
“Not always, but I wanted to live this adventure; I like adventure, I like nature, mountains and climbing. That’s why I guide rock climbing and skiing. I like spending good times with people and taking them to see Mont Blanc, or the Aiguille Vert , the Aiguille d’Argentière – it’s nice to go with them to the summit.”

You obviously enjoy helping people to fulfil their dreams?
“Yes it makes living a great experience- it’s very nice. But it’s also hard, for sure. You have to really love the mountains because it’s not good weather every day, the mountain is dangerous, you have to be aware of the conditions, the crevasses. I’ve had 3 friends who died in the mountain, so I try to take care.”

Why did you get involved with the CMF?
“I think it’s a good festival and my new sponsor, Valandre put me in touch, as I also live in Argentiere. I just hope it doesn’t storm when we are out on the bivvy. I hate it when it storms and you are in your tent. Then it’s better to be in a hut!”

What expeditions have you now got lined up?
“Next year I will go with four friends to a new area in the Kichatna Mountains in Alaska. We will go there to check a new line we’ve heard a lot about. We will ski and board and open a new climbing route. Then I will go to the Himalaya and try to ride the Shisha Pangma (8027m). We see many projects in the mountain….its’ good to be young!”

Do you have any other personal ambitions for climbing?
“ There are other things to do in Chamonix- this year we open three routes with friends – very hard lines. Two on the south face of the Aiguille d’Argentière and one on the West face of the Dome du Geants- a mixed face. I like climbing without knowing what’s ahead. It’s very nice. There is a lot still to do here. I like to do some classic routes, but I really prefer to not know…”