Montbeliard. Francois Matter, a climber who gave himself two lives

If we had to stick a proverb to the skin of 64-year-old Francois Matter, we will immediately remember the famous “impossible, no one is obliged.” Alsace of Saint-Amaren is one of ten French climbers who managed to climb the highest peaks of seven continents.

If the end for Francois Matter looks more like infinity, ie nothing openly materialized, the beginning of the passion is much more specific: 1984 and the ascent to the Hidden Peak at an altitude of over 8000 m in the Himalayas in Pakistan. The expedition was accompanied by Pierre Maso, a recognized politician and high-level climber.

Four limbs were amputated

Thirty years later, the passion of the Alsatian physician took the form of a crowning achievement. On January 4, 2014, he reached the summit of Antarctica, Mount Vin Son (4892 m). This was truly his seventh miracle. Because before he conquered all the roofs of the world, ie the tops of other six continents. It’s not so crazy. Where can this happen when we know that his last exploits he achieved them to a large extent.

After a terrible mountain accident in 1994, he survived an avalanche, but at an altitude of 7,000 m for 24 hours, at minus 30 degrees, and miraculously found, he received severe frostbite. After numerous surgeries, he continued his life, deprived of all toes, all fingers of a hand that looks vulgar like a crab’s claw, and with two fingers less on the other hand.

For the Children’s Aid Association in Nepal

François Matter says this not without humor: “it’s a bit of a veteran when I tell you what I went through.” But he loves to bring his adventures to life because he feels like he is sharing with his audience, sometimes chilled (the word is not very strong) emotions, and fascinated by this other form of self-transcendence. We will definitely check it out this Friday, June 10 (20:00, Jules Verne Center) in Montbeliard.

In addition, he also does so for charity. Probably because, in addition, the man asserts some humanitarian values ​​through the association he supports: Katie Keta Nepal. “It’s about coming to the aid of low-income children in Nepal, in the form of actions in schools, orphanages or even emergency care in areas impoverished by water scarcity,” explains Francois Matter.

Paragliding at an altitude of 7134 m

After a serious accident in 1994, the climber went through hell a little, a lot, but still passionately loved life. On May 21, 2011, at the age of 53, he even declined, conquering Everest (8848 m), the highest peak in Asia, the roof of the world. “I would say it’s revenge on my second life. Because after the 1994 accident, I had a chance to live again. ” At the end of June, he will take on another challenge by paragliding from the top of Lenin Peak in Kyrgyzstan at an altitude of 7,134 meters. Good this time. The expedition will last 6 weeks. “

Finally, an even greater proverb, Tibetan, this time, and quite indirectly, suits this rather exceptional person even more: “When you climb to the top of the mountain, keep climbing”…

FFCAM Pays de Montbéliard offers an evening show and conference “Challenge of 7 Peaks” with Francois Matter on Friday, June 10, at 20:00, at the Jules Verne Center in Montbeliard. Entrance 8 euros in favor of the association Keti Keta Nepal. Registration is possible by e-mail: [email protected]


He survived, but was disabled for life

This was in 1994 during the ascent of Shishapangma (8027 m) in Tibet. At the age of 36, François Matter’s life could end there. “There were four of us climbers. At some point towards the end, the two of us got off and left with the only rope we had left. We were at an altitude of 7800 m, the weather was good. And then a piece of snow came off. An avalanche hit us. I fell 400, jumping over the serac bar. ” His comrade-in-arms, who was below, was rescued. “He left thinking I was dead. Fortunately, I was not buried. But I spent 24 hours in the snow, at an altitude of 7300 m, minus 30. The man who was with me returned to base camp and sounded the alarm. I was found by Jean-Christophe Lafayette, one of the most talented climbers of his generation. Francois Matter was rescued in time. But in this horrific adventure, the victim of severe frostbite of all four limbs, he will lose all toes and most of the toes. “I owe my life to Jean-Christophe Lafayel, who disappeared during a solo ascent to Makalu in Nepal in 2006.”

In 2014, Francois Matter conquered Mont-Win Son, the summit of Antarctica, his seventh

On the roofs of 7 continents

Between 1991 and 1994, François Matter successfully conquered four peaks on four different continents. First, Elbrough (5642 m) in the Caucasus (Russia), which is the roof of Europe. Then in solitude he climbed Mount McKinley (6194 m), the highest point in North America in Alaska. Kilimanjaro (5892 m) in Africa was conquered. “It simply came to our notice then. But also the most wonderful, because we were accompanied by 21 students, with whom we shared this wonderful moment. ” In 1994, he included in his list Acongagua (6962 m), the peak of the Andes-Cordillera between Argentina and Chile. Then, 15 years after the accident, the passion still did not heat up, he resumed his trials. The island of Papua (Oceania) was dominated by the Pyramid of Carstens (4884 m). He speaks of “revenge for his second life” when he offers himself Everest (8848 m) on May 21, 2011. Therefore, the circuit was completed on January 4, 2014 by climbing Mont Vin Son (4892 m) in Antarctica.

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