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Alizée made her name on the competition circuit, becoming one of the most successful climbers on the French National team. But the lure of real rock called Alizée away from the plastic and onto some of the world’s hardest routes and boulders.

In January 2012, Alizée’s successful ascent of La Reina Mora in Siurana made her the fourth woman in the world to climb 9a or higher. Today she travels the globe from the USA to Spain, South Africa and Norway seeking out hard rock routes and boulder problems to test herself against.

"I started climbing on the rocks with my father when I was 10. When I am at the cliff I am myself, I just think about climbing, I have no worries about other things. I enjoy being surrounded by the elements and nature and meeting nice people. My passion is travelling to find projects where I can push myself, to find the keys of mental and physical progress in order to send the hardest routes possible.

When I was 13, I sent my first 8a in Ceou "Et Mourir de Plaisir". Thinking that competing would help me to progress, I entered youth and adult competitions for 15 years, as part of the French national team. I won the World Youth Championships in 2003, with podium positions in the Lead World Cups and European Championships. From 2005 to 2008 I also tried another sport: Pole Vaulting, still climbing in rock on weekends, and I was French Champion.

But two years ago I realized that my passion for climbing is not about being inside on plastic holds. I needed to be outside, and immerse myself in big projects with more time and without the deadlines of the competition season. So I decided to stop competing and mix bouldering and routes in order to improve my strength, which opened more doors for my climbing abilities.

Now, I am travelling to different countries all year-round, mixing bouldering and routes, I keep exploring and pushing myself with the help of my partner and my friends.”

Notable ascents:

  • Estado Critico, Siurana 9A
  • La Reina Mora, Siurana 9A
  • Chikane, Siurana 8C+
  • Coma San Pere, Margalef 8C+
  • El rastro, Siurana 8C+
  • Patinoso, Siurana 8C+
  • L'arcademicien, Ceuse 8C
  • Dure limites, Ceuse 8C
  • Aitzol, Margalef 8C


  • Green Mamba, Rocklands 8A+
  • Out of Balance, Rocklands 8A
  • Nutsa, Rocklands 8A
  • The Hatchling, Rocklands 8A
  • Barracuda, Rocklands 8A
  • La Gloire des Papous, Rocklands 8A

Interview with Alizée

There is no doubt about the physical skills that you had to develop to climb some of the world’s hardest sport routes, but what mental challenges did you have to overcome to reach 9a and how did you do it?

When I see a route that inspires me, I just think about the pleasure of climbing and how much I want to do it. My mind is focused on finding potential solutions and trying different ways until I succeed. I never question whether I’m able or not, because failing is not an option - it can take time, maybe some years, but I’m always certain that I’ll find a way physically and mentally to reach my goals.

For sure the path is not easy, I sometimes have doubts on the hard days, but they are the most important in order to learn and improve in my life, confidence and my climbing! People are around me to help me learn from these experiences, and thanks to them I have strength.

You lead a fairly nomadic lifestyle with projects around the globe. Do you ever long for a more settled life, or do you love being on the road?

Since I was little I have found it hard to stay in the same place for more than three months at a time. I love to discover new places, meet new people, to constantly learn new things. I have never wanted to stay in one place, but of course I come back often to the same places that I have discovered and fallen in love with. Especially when I have projects that take time! I head back to my home town a few times a year in order to see my family and show them the incredible places I have visited.

Many of your achievements required a high level focus on the project or competition in front of you. How do you avoid distraction?

The fact I really love what I am doing helps me to avoid distractions. When I was younger I was more easily distracted, but I have learned how to find my balance and understand what I can do in order to feel good mentally and physically. Time helps us realise what we need and what we have to avoid.

Alizee Duffraisse

Alizee Duffraisse

Alizee Duffraisse