39th Symposium international d’art contemporain
Journée Arts sans frontières
August 7, 2021
Palissades de Charlevoix’s Executive director and Manager
A lasting passion
« I am passionate about climbing and have shared my enthusiasm with people for over 34 years. I am the proud owner of the first indoor climbing gym in Québec, the Roc Gyms, and 18 years ago I became the executive director and manager of Palissades de Charlevoix.
From a very young age I felt the mountain calling. In winter, my family and I went downhill skiing every weekend and during the lovely summer season, we climbed the mountain on foot.
I lost my father when I was 9. My mother insisted that we went to summer camps in the United States to further our education in sports, the great outdoors and above all to learn English. This is where I discovered climbing. I read everything that was ever written about my new passion and envisioned a career as a mountain leader. I became serious about climbing at 16.
Then, during the 80’s, I met Jean Sylvain, a climbing pioneer in Québec and mostly Charlevoix, who founded his club at Palissades Park. He took me under his wing as his spiritual son, introduced me to the Palissades and transmitted his passion to me. He has been my paternal role model. I started a climbing school at 21.
I began my mountain leader career at the Montmorency Falls and in 1993, founded the climbing gym, Rock Gyms. All my travels were dedicated to climbing expeditions. When I turned 40, I asked myself: what exceptional life accomplishment am I looking for and 3 years later, I reached the summit of Mount Everest followed with the ascension of the 7 continents’ highest peaks. I then completed the 3 Poles Grand Slam skiing to the South Pole and to the North Pole from the last degree.
I wrote a bestseller, Aux sommets, which sold more than 5 000 copies. Nowadays I often lead and visit schools and corporations as a lecturer. Now 55, I keep training, climbing and teaching. That passion remains as strong as ever and I have several climbing projects around the world. For example, I plan to climb 55 of the world’s mountains in 55 months and I hope to live to at least 100 to enjoy a life that is too short!
I am still involved with Palissades, an adventure park located in Saint-Siméon, to share my passion for the mountain. It offers immense rock walls, a lake, river, and barbecue. People can climb, hike, try the via ferrata, go snowshoeing. Various types of lodging are available on site.
Thanks to Jean Sylvain, I discovered Charlevoix and the Palissades. I moved to the area in 1980 and since then, the Palissades is my second home. I was asked to manage the park in the early 2000’s.
I now live in Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges. I have got the best of both worlds close to my two favorite regions, Québec and Charlevoix. Passing by Baie-Saint-Paul, I always make a stop at the bakery À Chacun Son Pain. I also love the bistro Le Mouton Noir. The Grands-Jardins and Hautes-Gorges parks offer so many outdoor activities. In winter, climbing the ice rock walls of Cap-à-l’Aigle is my favourite; it is stunning! »