Who's Fanny Schmutz? Ice eyes and a big passion burning
Climbing is a matter of relation between people and living big or small adventures together!
Her name is Fanny Schmutz, she was born in chamonix in 1987 and still lives there, where all her family, friends and life have always been. Her dad was a mountain guide and she grew up climbing with him. After working as a school teacher, she decided her life was not inside a room but outside, sharing the passion for the mountains. "I became a mountain guide and I love it!"
When and why did you quit your job?
"I stopped my job as a school teacher in 2013 after just 3 years of teaching. I didn't feel good in the french education system. I thought this job was really hard and I think that to be a teacher you need to be more passionate than I was. I wasn't happy and i was just 25 years old! I needed to change my life. I was also dreaming about more freedom and about mountains. Guiding was not at all in my plans before even though I was climbing a lot, but I would never change this choice now and I'm more than happy to guide!"
How hard is it for a girl to become a mountain guide?
"For me, it felt like it wasn't harder than for the boys. I've always loved mountains, and my motivation was high enough to train very hard to get the exam. Now that I'm a mountain guide, I know my limits, I know I need to rest a bit and I can't work everyday, but I manage to have a very good balance."
A month ago Fanny told us about her recent adventure in Alaska, the last one of a lot of trips.
"Since my first alpine trips to Perù and Patagonia I was more and more motivated to climb abroad. In 2015, I did with my husband Damien and my friends Fleur and Sebastien the first alpine ascent of the “lagunak ridge” on Ama Dablam in Nepal, in 3 days. It was my first experience in Himalaya and I think I found there something I would then always try to get again... In 2016, with my friend Elodie, I climbed in 5 days the Scottish pillar on Bhagirathi III in India, which was an incredible climb and experience. Since then, I went back to Nepal, Patagonia and Alaska but I did also great a trip to ice climb in the Canadian Rockies, or even less far away to the Dolomites.
Anyway, I learnt alpine climbing in the Alps and I still love climbing at home. Routes on les Drus, north face of Grandes Jorasses, north face of Eiger, and also smaller but technical routes, are first great for themself, but it is also a perfect way to get better for bigger mountains far away."
Tell us what's your next climbing trip.
"We did 3 expeditions in one year. I think this fall I just want to climb in Europe, to take advantage of good conditions and weather wherever it is. I might go back to Patagonia this winter and hopefully to Himalaya in 2020 but I still don't know where."
You mentioned before that Damien is not only a climbing partner for you, but also your life partner. Which feeling is different for you when you share an important climb with your husband or with another climbing partner or with a client?
"I started climbing in the mountains with Damien when we met 12 years ago. He teached me everything and even if now we share the responsibilities and pitches when we climb together, he is more experienced and better climber and I would always rely a bit on him... But it's always great to climb together and share big projects in expedition.
For me, climbing is a matter of friendship, and I climb only with partner boys or girls I really appreciate. It doesn't really matter which climb we do, and how hard it is, if we bail or not. The good time we spend together is important, and it's something so strong that makes the friendship always a bit deeper.
Climbing with clients is very different. It's also a lot more satisfying when I manage to do a big climb with a client. I'm happy to make their dream come true, and to realize it's possible to do a lot with them. But small or big climbs, it's a good day at work when clients have huge smile at the end of the day!
Climbing with Damien, friends or clients is very different, but I think that's why I never get bored.
You and your husband are always travelling, always in movement. Do you want to have children and build a family?
For sure, even though it might not be so easy because both of us are guides. But I'm sure we will manage! I will wait a few years more, because I still have too many projects in my mind... I will wait to be a bit more wise!