It takes many things to create a festival, calls, e-mails, meetings, negotiation, smiles and frowns and we find beer helps too! So we wanted to share with you an album of the great people we met during the Chamonix Mountain Festival. It’s our way of saying thank you to them for taking part.

GearFest at Place de Edmond Desailloux in Chamonix Sud was our starting point. Two days of sun, storms and meetings under canvass along with some great workshops by participating brands under the spiralling summits of Chamonix…


CAC T-shirts

John Ellison founder of the CAC – Climbers Against Cancer.

In 2011, John was in pain and discovered that he had a form of incurable systemic cancer and had little more than two years to live. A lifelong climber, coach, and competition judge he took the decision during the World Cup in Bercy – where he was inspired by the energy of those taking party – to get on with his life and create CAC. His idea was to do something positive, not to be afraid of the cancer, but create something happy around this terrible disease. He created a logo, searched for colours and created the CAC T-shirts which were on sale at GearFest this year.

After a year and a half, CAC has already raised €250,000 and made donations to organisations in Australia, France, Canada, UK and the USA and the next will be in Germany. Well done John!John and Katy with CAC t-shirts

John takes the time to live each moment to the full, and despite his prognosis is still with us. His zest for life and his continued strength are amazing despite the treatment and pain.

T-Shirts on sale at:, mine is pink…


Alexandre Devulder of Sony joined us for GearFest bringing with him their HDR AS100VR for participants to put to the test.

Sony meeting

Alexandre has studied both the politics and marketing in different European countries, and he is used with multiculturality, curiosity and openness. He just trusted the participants, equipping them with the camera to be able to film their progress on glacier and rock and share their exploits with the team.

Described as the ‘new climbing partner’, the camera has a very powerful image stabilizer ‘Steadyshot’ as well as GPS and WiFi. Without its case it’s splash-proof (it was tested with a watering can!) and with its case, waterproof. The must have element of the kit is remote control wrist watch which manages both display and control functions. It means mountaineers can concentrate on their climbing whilst still controlling their filming.


Capture d’écran 2014-07-27 à 11.07.25Valandre experience

When you think of ultralight, technical, tiny, mountaineering and down who do you think of? Valandré of course!

They joined forces with SlingFin for a bivvi experience on the Glacier du Géant at the foot of the Aiguille Marbrées. And it was quite a night at 3000m, complete with a cheese fondue to celebrate! Great vibes with Fiona & Shane from South Africa, Elsa from Canada, Julia, Cathy, and François Lombard, our mountain guide. Arrived at 6pm in a thick fog, we mounted tents, pack the snow, and put the cheese to melt! After a cozy night in duvets Valandré, we discovered a beautiful blue sky…

Julia Niels was with us for the festival, the worthy heir of Valandré founder Friisbel Niels. “It is by choice that I joined the Valandré team in 2012, because I believe in these values across generations and decades.” She said. “I like the idea that the product will share human adventures and it is up to the commitment made by mountaineers.”


January Zamecnik is manager of the Singing Rock brand, a company in the Czech Republic offering crampons, ice axes, harnesses, helmets. Present in 65 countries, they develop and produce their products in their country, and also participate in the development of the Czech Republic.Singing Rock

Jan is a climber, skier, mountaineer, yet passionate …he believes in specificity, practice, test, practice and more tests before offering something to the market. When testing in the mountains they leave no waste. The ethos of Singing Rock, reflect those of the ‘European Outdoor Conservation Association’ of which it is a member and they support environmental projects and clean-up days. He believes that being more sustainable in the mountains is something which should be taken up by all practitioners.


Jottnar team

Jöttnar: the logo represents the helmet of Thor, the God of Thunder in Norse mythology. The out-door clothes they offer are in the image of their logo, pure, powerful, technical and tough.

Young designer Tommy Kelly, has already had huge life experience as a climber, mountaineer, mountain biker and ex-Royal Marine as do Ken Ross (media contact) and Steve Howarth (co-founder).

All three have faced very difficult situations and know and understand their limitations and those of their equipment. With this in mind, they spent three years drawing, testing and finding the best shapes and materials. They only launched eight months ago

but we say, long live Jöttnar!


Chimpanzee is the name of a crazy brand! It produces GOOD energy bars…we know they are really very good, because we’ve tasted them!ChimpanzeeCapture d’écran 2014-07-27 à 11.11.48

Its co-founder, Joseph Toufan is passionate about cooking. He looks at the management of physical and sporting activities and was focused on the preparation and metabolism when he had the idea of creating energy bars.

“’The 1st bar in 2007 (cinnamon), for Adam Andra, was prepared in my kitchen and packed in zipper bags!”

In 2012 the team began to distribute Chimpanzee bars in Belgium, Denmark, Holland. So for any distributors out there, you can see the gaps!


Black Diamond has its heroes, they are called Titi Gentet Patrick Pesci, Jon Bracey, Corrado Pesce...Black Diamond experience guidesBD Team

Titi and Patrick, two guides of the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix took participants to the Arrête des Cosmiques, a route prized by guides as it is varied, short, high, accessible and beautiful.

“The festival is a way to put a spotlight on the guides and the mountains, it is also an opportunity to test equipment since BD has provided participants with crampons, ice axes, harness. We also wanted to share in that by giving our advice, knowledge and experiences.

Lucia Prosino, a participant of the festival, an Italian journalist who hikes and mountaineers confirmed that. She made the Pointe Lachenal with Jon Bracey. “John smiled all the time, he put me at ease, showed me all the best techniques, how to make a relay in the snow, or how to get around in cleats when the slope becomes steeper. It was really informative.”

All this would not have been possible without the good humour of the Black Diamond team, so a big thank you to Christian Lehmann and Benoit!

Idris SkisIDRIS Skis

Tom Greenall, the founder of IDRIS Skis is a good guy to know… As a former ski racer he knows the technical specifications that make a good ski but more importantly his goal is creating new skis in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

And that is just what he does with 5 models of skis which are the greenest in the world made from wood, flax and organic resin.

“There is one challenge remaining, that’s to find an alternative to the base which is the only synthetic part of the ski,” confirms Tom.

You can find Idris skis on the web or buy them in Chamonix.


Aditya, Paul, Christophe and Bill, respectively, Indian, German, French and Austrian were Mountain Hardwear heros at Gear Fest.Mountain HardwearCapture d’écran 2014-07-27 à 11.26.48

It was their first time in the high mountains, on the Arrête Laurence with Mountain Hardwear guides/athletes Sébastien Foissac and Vivian Bruchez.

These four adventurers came from Lausanne (Aditya and Paul are students), Grenoble (Christophe engineer) and Salzburg (Bill’s biology teacher).

They shared their fear of the vertiginous route and the strong winds but were undeterred and want to come back next year saying: “We were surprised by the friendliness and the ease of use of the test equipment!”

They left with a kit list of trousers, jacket, backpack, hats and gloves brand.

The event wasn’t finished though, when the rain made it look as though all hope of climbing was lost on the Sunday, Vivian and Sebastian headed for Italy with 6 girls (that might have been an incentive) to climb the 3500m Arrête Marbrée.

What a day!

A big thank you to Clarence Hjert, Marketing Manager at Mountain Hardwear without whom all this would not have been possible!

And of course, thank you to the organization of the Chamonix Mountain Festival!

Founder, Françoise and the whole team: Marta, Tina, Domen, Vanessa, Gabriel, Sue, Sinead, Cathy.

Chamonix Mountain Festival 2014 Team

Contact Medias – Cathy Jolibert – – 06 19 60 47 95