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We are mountains  Marie-Pierre Desharnais mountains

We are mountains Marie-Pierre Desharnais mountains

Upon seeing Marie-Pierre Desharnais, a sexy young woman, appear at base camp, the male climbers tended not to take her seriously.


“They said to me: 'Well, let's see Barbie Marie in the mountains!'” Marie-Pierre Desharnais says in an interview. “It's as if I don't have an image or the makings of a person who can climb mountains because I don't look like Tomboy. »

She wondered if she should mutilate herself to fit the established image, but ultimately decided to take responsibility.

“She made fun of me more than once, I struggled with her at first, but at the same time, I like her to shake the certainties of men, strong male characters. I was good, I was fit, I was fast. »

Image courtesy of ÉDITIONS DE L'HOMME

We didn't always take Marie-Pierre Desharnay seriously at base camp. I took revenge by collecting the tops.

Marie-Pierre Desharnay climbed the highest volcanoes on all seven continents. She also succeeded in climbing six of the highest peaks on these continents, including Mount Everest. But above all, I reached the summit of K2, a particularly dangerous mountain, much more difficult than Everest. It is the only Quebecer to have accomplished this feat.

I just wrote a book, We are the mountainsWho recounts his experiences in the high mountains. But the story begins at sea level, on December 26, 2004, in Phuket, Thailand. She's on vacation at the beach with her father and his partner when the ground shakes. The three were overwhelmed by the tsunami and miraculously survived. This experience changes Marie-Pierre's attitude towards life.

“From what we have experienced, we know that life can be taken from us. I can’t say we don’t care, but it feels like it.”

His interest in mountains did not come until later, during a trip in Nepal, when he saw Mount Everest. It starts with small mountains, then succeeds, then fails, then develops.

At first, I was trying to prove to others that I could climb the mountain, and I had a very selfish mission. Then, along the way, I really fell in love with the mountains.

Marie-Pierre Desharnais

With experience, she realized that ego had no place in the mountains, a theme that appears several times in her book.

Photography by François Roy, Press

Marie-Pierre Desharnais hopes to inspire people to take action, whatever their goal.

Every time I arrived on an expedition with a little arrogance and a little vanity, I was thwarted. Every time you think you're good, Splash, the mountain takes care to bring you back a little lower. It reminds you that you must be humble.

Marie-Pierre Desharnais

It's a lesson that can be applied to everyone, whether you're a mountaineer or not. The book is therefore aimed at a wide audience, but mountain enthusiasts will still find interesting information about the progress of the expedition, starting with financing. In order to climb the highest peak in Antarctica, Vinson Massif, and its highest volcano, Mount Siddeley, you will have to pay more than 100,000 US dollars.

“I hurt when I talk about that, my heart, that squeak. From the beginning, the amount I invested out of my own pocket must have been about $1 million, including plane tickets, insurance and equipment. »

Marie-Pierre Desharnais was in business for a long time, which helped her finance her expeditions. She now devotes herself to conferences and accompanying groups in the mountains. Obviously she doesn't have a home. And we're not even talking about an RRSP.

Image courtesy of ÉDITIONS DE L'HOMME

Training at K2 Base Camp

In her book, Marie-Pierre Desharnais also addresses group dynamics, particularly on expensive expeditions like Everest, which pit experienced climbers against commercial expedition clients.

Because it's expensive, there are people of a certain stature, business leaders who almost want to buy a top for themselves. Finally, they were beaten because they realized they had to climb the mountain.

Marie-Pierre Desharnais

There is talk of coping strategies, and of the danger of the famous summit fever, which makes one forget all caution.

The book is very well written. To the great surprise of the main interested party. “At first, I didn't think I had what it took to be an author. When Éditions de l'Homme called me, I said no, I hate writing, I want Ghost writer. Finally, I tried, the words were flowing, and I wrote the entire book in three weeks in Nepal. »

The story is peppered with very Quebecois expressions, such as “brailler sa vie.” “The linguists wanted to bring me back, but this is the way I express myself, I want to sound like me, I want people to recognize it.”

We are the mountains

We are the mountains

Les Éditions de l'Homme

200 pages

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