Sophie Lavaud: “Everyone has an Everest »


In the spring of this year, amateur mountaineer Sophie Lavaud took the Danone flag with her up to the roof of the world. Her goal was to help Himalayan populations to develop their agricultural production and thus increase their self-sufficiency.



The passionate woman mountaineer nicknamed ‘The 16,000 Lady’, because she climbed two peaks of over 8,000 m at only two weeks’ interval, set off to conquer Everest as a sponsor of the Norlha Association, an NGO which supports Himalayan populations. Sophie Lavaud raised money through a crowdfunding system, setting a price for every metre she climbed. These donations will help to develop aid for agricultural production for families in Nepal, particularly in the underprivileged province of Dhading. This programme, developed by Norlha, aims more specifically to increase autonomy among Himalayan women, in high-altitude villages, via greenhouse agriculture. Danone found this assistance project for local producers highly appealing, and decided to support Sophie’s sporting and human adventure.

Sophie set off from Tibet on 4 April to scale the north face of Mount Everest, and after a night push, finally made it step by step to the 8,848 m summit in the small hours of 25 May. In extreme conditions, she drew on inner resources she never dreamed she possessed. Describing herself as a high-mountain follower, her experience as a career change consultant and lecturer in motivation for the Futura21 Institute enabled her to tackle the concept of followership: like climbers roped together, whose first member relies on the skills of the entire team in order to move forward, each leader needs his or her « followers » in order to make progress. This is one of the lessons she has now begun to share when she isn’t climbing the highest peaks in the world. Along with another one: “We are all capable of incredible things.”

The pictures featured in the above video are by François Damilano.

Front photo © Daniel Prudek via shutterstock

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