In this series we will introduce some pilots that we have a special relationship with so you can get to know them. This article is dedicated to Christophe Dumarest!
Can you introduce yourself ?
CD : I usually say that I was born in a backpack. My parents, especially my dad, were avid outdoor lovers. Even though I would have liked to spend some weekends in aquatic parks, I was always in the mountains. I started ski mountaineering when I was 6 and before 10 I had already climbed up several mountains including a 4000-m summit.
Today I spend my time between my jobs a mountain guide, content creator and technical advisor for several brands.
When and how did you learn paragliding ?
CD : My first encounter with free flying was with my dad when I was very young. He was amongst the few people flying from the Col de la Forclaz in the 80’s. It took me quite some time to eventually start on my own even though I swore I would not get into it before 60 years old. I did not learn paragliding in the most academic way. I was taught by some of my friends who are incredible pilots. It took place in the fields near my village Dingy Saint-Clair. Thanks to them, getting a hang of the basics was fast, but you always keep on learning more ! I owe them what I know about paragliding.
How would you describe "your" paragliding ?
CD : My flying is directly associated with mountaineering. I use paragliding mostly to go down the mountain rather then up ! However, the concepts such as cross-country flying, vol-biv and so forth that paragliding offers seem endless, especially considering performance and safety innovations in product development. Flying in thermals can be quite addictive and I don’t really trust myself and my relationship towards commitment. “Great boldness often makes short careers” cit. G. Livanos.
Could you share an interesting paragliding memory with us ?
CD : Two flights from the Aiguille du Midi come to mind. The first one in 2010, during the night, in tandem with Philippe Barnier after an amazing way up (6 days in the footsteps of Walter Bonatti) and landing using car headlights ! The second one during which flying over the Chamonix summits was breath-taking : alone in the sky and a “Samivel-ian” landscape.
What are your upcoming projects ?
CD : The whole lockdown situation and what went with it comforted in the idea that adventures should be lived “locally”. We should be looking for new angles rather than new destinations. Looking at an IGN map differently and using creativity can allow amazing adventures while staying close to home. I dream of combining a logical mountaineering sequence with paragliding.