Whether in the gym, on the walls of a World Cup venue or climbing in their beloved Alps, the Ladevant brothers are inseparable.
Almost three years divide older brother Tristan, 20, and Louna, 17. In their two full seasons on the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour, the French pair have climbed with energy and panache, demonstrated considerable potential and progress and become an integral part of the ice climbing circuit.
Another factor which makes them stand out are their skills in both ice climbing disciplines – lead and speed. Tristan finished the most recent season 11th overall in lead, 22nd in speed while Louna, defending world youth U19 champion in lead, came 12th in lead, 14th in speed. “The future of competition ice climbing is a combined format,” reveals Tristan. “The two disciplines are really complimentary.”
Competition ice climbing is currently a big part of their lives. However, it is only a small step in their journey to becoming mountain professionals, one facet of their passion for the mountains. They are currently graduating as ski instructors with the ambition to one day become mountain guides.
It was a journey which started in the same manner as many others for those born in the shadow of mountain ranges. The brothers commenced rock climbing with friends, before making more ambitious mountaineering excursions and taking up recreational ice climbing, mainly on their beloved Tete de Gramusat near their base in Briançon.
“Our aim is to have a low ‘overheads’ life,” explains Louna. “Work, life balance is important for us. We will do the competition circuit for a few years but our aim is to become mountain guides.”
“We use competitions as motivation for training,” adds Tristan. “When you are fit for competition it means you are globally in shape to do expedition-type stuff.” “It means at one given moment you push the limits,” explains Louna.
Still new to the competition circuit, the two brothers are relatively inexperienced compared to some of the seasoned competitors on the World Tour. Their raw potential suggests there is much more to come and with experience and learning from mistakes their results will continue to improve. “It takes time to process things, get comfortable with the venues and their different atmospheres,” confirms Tristan.
Ice climbing is a passion which extends beyond the competition circuit. The Ladevant brothers regularly test themselves on natural ice in the Alps. The sport is also enabling the brothers to develop core skills in mountaineering which will serve them well for a future as mountain guides. “Ice climbing enables you to feel more comfortable with axes and tools. They become extensions of your arms. A lot of people only do basic ice climbing so never really feel comfortable with their tools,” explains Tristan.
A core part of the competitive French national ice climbing team, the brothers always train together and are each other’s motivation. They also seek to steal qualities from each other. “From Tristan, I would take his strength,” adds Louna. “Louna is very talented in positioning, very light, he doesn’t pump,” shares Tristan.
This article is the latest in the UIAA passion for the mountains series.
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