Sophie Lavaud

1968

Alpine and Himalayan mountaineer and speaker, Lausanne

"At the base camps, I’m at ease with everyone. But I’m reserved by nature ; I keep to myself and my emotions are always well under control. That’s no doubt what makes me so effective."

My career path

I’m an Alpine and Himalayan mountaineer, as well as a speaker. In 2017, I bagged seven 8,000-metre summits and spent 107 nights sleeping in a tent above 5,000 metres. In 2018, I did eight summits over 8,000 metres, including Everest and K2 – in the cold, the wind, the snow and the ice. I’ve had to endure the effects that a lack of oxygen can have on the body : headaches, vomiting, loss of appetite and weakness. The rough terrain and permanent discomfort are a real strain on your nerves and your mood. I’m hardy, but I do enjoy coming back to the comfort of my life here in Switzerland. At the base camps, I’m at ease with everyone. But I’m reserved by nature ; I keep to myself and my emotions are always well under control. That’s no doubt what makes me so effective : when I’m on an expedition, I’m focused on my goal and I don’t let anything steer me from it. When I talk in companies, I use my experiences to convey a positive message – tenacity, humility and teamwork are key to my approach. People say I’m credible, that they can identify with me.

My passion. That’s just it : it’s not work ; it’s a passion and something I love to share with people.

My career path. I can just about live from my passion, thanks to my sponsors, who give me financial support for my expeditions. It’s a long process, with meetings, decisions and risk-taking. The impact of the 2008 financial crisis meant we were forced to shut down our business in 2011 – that was a turning point for me. I was able to get support from the Futura21 Institute, my close friends and some initial sponsors who believed in me.

A downside or obstacle ? It’s hard to get the funding year after year. There aren’t many women who do what I do. But being a woman is not an obstacle – it can even be an advantage.

I’m proud of what I’ve done and the summits I’ve reached, and of promoting mountaineering in a simple yet dedicated way.

The Proust Questionnaire

This section is available only in the original language
Au-delà de votre profession

Les sports de montagne en général, le cinéma, la lecture et la musique.

Des personnes qui vous inspirent

Nives Meroi et Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Un livre & un film

Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts) et Himalaya : L’enfance d’un chef (Éric Valli).

Un modèle

Non, pas de modèle particulier.

Un objet

Mes bracelets

Une couleur

Le noir

Un rêve

Fouler le sommet des quatorze 8000 de la planète.