Claude Lavallée talks about his debut as a climber in 1954.
Video produced by Mathias Arroyo-Bégin for the Fédération québécoise de la montagne et de l’escalade (FQME).
Storyteller: Claude Lavallée President-founder of the FQME
Date: August 10, 2019
Photo # 1 of an unknown skier; Claude Lavallée collection
Photo # 2 of Claude Lavallée descending a ski slope; Claude Lavallée collection
From the U.S. Navy training film # MN-2340B Shipbuilding Skills -Rigging- Use And Care Of Fiber Rope, 1944.
Claude Lavallée talks about his debut in rock climbing in 1954 in Val-David, the cradle of rock climbing in eastern Canada.
Black and white photo of a cross-country skier from behind.
Color photo of Claude Lavallée rolling down a ski slope.
Claude Lavallée sits in front of boulders facing the camera and gives explanations on why and how he started to climb.
[Claude Lavallée] The snow was melting and my enthusiasm was melting with it. The ski center is closed.
I said to myself: Hey, let’s go into the mountains, but this time on the rocks.
And that’s how, firstly, at the Champs-Élysées [a climbing wall in Val-David], we went to stand vertically, assured from the top.
Extract from a black and white film, dating from 1944, of the United States Navy with scenes of work on a sailboat where we share the methods and techniques for the maintenance of ropes.
[CL] Then ropes, we didn’t know about that, so I went to get myself a marine rope, for the sailboats of the time, which was made of hemp.
So I bought myself a hemp rope, I asked the guy: Is it resistant? He said to me: It resists up to 300 pounds. I answer: I weigh 150, it’s as good as a bank.
Excerpt from a 1944 black and white film by the United States Navy in which a man is seen tending to ropes in a warehouse.
[CL] To be on the safe side, I’m going to climb a double rope. Which will give 600 pounds of resistance if I fall.
It was in this spirit of naivety that I started to climb.
Do you realize ?