It took me three days to bike from Chamonix to the Piz Badille. I spent my first night there with other climbers in a hut, but I still felt like an outsider. Everyone was questioning my motivations and asking, "Why would you climb by yourself?" No amount of explaining helped. The guardian of the hut even tried to call someone from the village so I would have a partner.

The next day it rained hard, and I walked around outside by myself. I hiked up a boulderfield to the base of the Cassin route and tried to decide whether or not to climb when the weather cleared. Considering all the effort it took to get there, it was not easy to listen to my gut. But when I woke up everything seemed perfect: the sun was out, and the climb felt dry and easy.

óMaxime Turgeon



Turgeon's gear for his 18-day, 1236-kilometer solo bike ride across the Alps. [Photo] Maxime Turgeon