Being rescued

By September 9, 2013 79 Comments

Iam I not humble enough? Have I the wrong picture of what I actually can do in the mountains? Have I overestimated my abilities?

Kilian and I went out climbing on Frendo Saturday morning. We had checked the weather, checked the route and we had in our mind that we could do the epron pretty fast. We estimated the time with the experience we had before. We know that we can move pretty fast in that kind of terrain.
We went climbing in a good pace. And when we reached the icy ridge we had only been out for a few hours. I thought to myself that woooha this must go really wrong if we don´t make it up there before 5 pm.
After the icepart we decided to go more in the rocks instead of the most common way up that was on the steep ice. That was in our plan the whole way, because we didn´t bring the proper gear for the ice. And that we knew before we started.

On the rock, I started to became a bit stressed. I was finding a way up that was a bit loose and I also didn´t have the best feelings after the icepart where I hurted my foot.
We took time climbing up, rappelling down, trying to find another way and so on we did for a while.
I became so cold and I couldn´t focus my thought very well. I was stressed and felt captured. We started to talk about possibilities. Rappelling down or try to do the last part even if we didn´t know if we could reach the summit that way or the last way out; call the rescue.

That was a hard decision it´s hard to know if we (I) could have manage go on without danger. I think that I could have manage all my power to go on, but with the cold and stress I had I really wasn´t sure about the risk Tahat t meant.
At 4.30 we called the rescue. They couldn´t make it with the helicopter so it took some time. When they came they was professional and everything went smooth.
One thing I wished is that they could have given us an estimated time of arrival. 5 hours of staying in the cold or power up for making a safe rappelling. I don´t know what was the best.
Afterwards I have thought a lot about this and I have came up with some answers to my first questions.
We underestimated the conditions and we didn´t make up a plan B if we would take longer time than normal.
And to the question why are you out on Frendo with only running shoes? I guess everyone needs to find his own way to approach things. And for me as a runner and a “hobby” climber I love the light way to approach mountains. This is how I want to do it. And this is how I feel comfortable. What is important is that we need to find our own comfortzon.
I thought Frendo was inside my zone, but with the conditions it was and the stupid mistake I did to not take a lot of extra warm clothes. It went wrong. I can also blame myself for being the weakest in the ropeteam. Without me I think Kilian would have been able to rappelling down or find a way up. And now people who don´t like this way of approaching mountains are very happy to say- look what we told you- this is wrong.

We are people. We make mistakes and learn from them. But this is still the way I love to be in the mountains. Light and fast.



Mountain athlete, trail runner and ski mountaineer. Writer,mum and Co- founder of Living on a small farm in the Norwegian fjordlands!

  • Paula

    Chapeau Emelie! You both took a great and brave decision, keep working hard and you are gonna go even farther!! Gaaaaaas

  • Seb’ Poulin

    This type of event can happen to anyone who loves the mountain . Although some people, journalists mocked you and Kilian without arguments based and only because you’re famous, many people like me will continue to support you in your exploits. Continue to make us dream. Enjoy your next runs and projects… Have a fun

  • Carlos Schmidt

    not many explanations! you are professional and know what you do. go ahead Emi!

  • AlejandroPuigBarañac

    You and Kilian will receive lots of messages (some supporting you and
    many criticising you). Don’t bother to read them all, everyone that goes
    to the mountains gets in trouble sometimes. What is important is to be
    humble enough to call the rescue team, learn from your mistakes and get
    out in the mountains when you feel ready. If you hadn’t called the
    rescue team you might have got to the top and no one would have had the
    opportunity to criticise you or you could have died. Sometimes the tough
    decision is the good one! Hej då!

  • Chus Garcia Galan

    Bravo!! When you guys become a team, there is no weak or strong! you are a team, you are together in this, you are a simbiosis so… don´t blame yourself, you both are fantastic!! hope your foot is better now, and keep enjoying mountains your way. Everyone of us know (or should know) their capabilities and limits so far in the mountains. You are a professional, so you know better than any of us how to progress and keep moving in the mountains. It´s not a matter of humility, it was just a bad day and… we are really happy you returned safe and sound!

  • Teresa Sc

    Mistakes are necessary before achiving the goal. Next time, you’ll do it better. I’m sure 😉

  • Chus Garcia Galan

    yeah. do not listen to the media, they are just waiting to mock people, of any kind ( politicians, soccer players, actors…). unfortunately you do amazing things, they are aware of that and follow you and… bingo!! it was bloody meat for them last saturday!! cold is dangerous, that´s it. I wonder how many of those journalists know the mountains as well as you do guys. Força i endavant!!

  • Navitua

    “A critic is a legless man who teaches running.” – Channing Pollock

  • Caro

    Don’t worry Emelie, people are jealous ! If you decide to risk your life in the mountains itr is your choice and people shouldn’t tell you lessons. Although it is a good little life lesson that doesn’t cost much but will teach you a lot and that us the most important !! good you are safe ! Bring on the next races !!!

    • joaquin

      Do not forget that when we risk our lives in the mountains and in an inminent danger we call the rescue people, we put several others in danger. People with families that probably have not decided to put their own lives in danger for the sake of our personal decisions.
      This is not a criticism to KJ or EF, shit happens and sometimes it is very hard to cope. We all must be more serious in these matters.

      • Fleurette Alpine

        It’s their job! they perfectly know the danger and they have decided to take it! And there is not so much danger going to the top of eperon Frendo by cable car with all the proper equipement…

        • Iain Ridgway

          I think thats pretty poor tbh, surely its about self sufficiency.. not expecting a rescue as its their job. I think they were right to call a rescue at that point but it shouldn’t be an easy decision.. afterall the rescue of one person one place could impact on the rescue of another elsewhere… which is basically how UK MRT started back with the RAF SAR.

    • JJR

      Yeah sure …
      And now imagine that a rescuer gets killed in the process. Which can happen anytime they go out.
      How would you look at the “cost”.

  • Michel

    People are always so fast to judge – standing from the sideline. Keep following your heart and learn from the experience.

  • Frank Hitman

    Don’t feel guilty. Don’t let the negative comments get the best of you. You handled the situation the best way you could, and learned a lot from it. Please continue to inspire everyone with your passion. Don’t dwell on mistakes, but treasure them, they will make you better. They are inevitable and crucial, as we are all humans and we don’t live in a perfect world. People with passionate ambition have to take risks sometimes, and learn from whatever consequences. So please grab this opportunity to become stronger. Lots of support from China! Warm greetings, Frank Hitman

  • WolfTrail

    Thanks for the Genuine post….Glad your OK! The rescue people need practice too……

  • Chrissy

    These mountains teach us all a lesson sometimes, you’ve learned, don’t look back, keep moving 🙂

  • The most important thing is that both of you are alive! I´ve learned that “det finns inga misslyckanden -bara resultat av dina insatser” and with that in mind I hope you will go on exploring the mountains in your own way. Keep inspiring us!

  • Robert Bob

    You are humble, it’s good decision to stop and wait the rescue. That happened in mountain. Take car of you and think at this moment next time

    • Orson Buggeigh

      They are not humble. They might have been humbled, briefly, by the experience, but they are not humble.

  • You did not let pride get in the way. You were smart enough to know you were in trouble and asked for help. because of that you are alive to tell your side of the story and are also able to continue doing the things that you love. Awesome job on being a human being!

  • Vincent Backes

    You did the right things calling for the rescue team. Everyone make mistakes … and should learn from them. Get some rest and go running again!

  • hanzo hattory

    when it was not. any plan B can become a C


  • Alex Fernandez

    I have deep respect for what you do, you and Kilian. Very inspirational. BUT the main question here is : where ends everyone’s passion and wishes ? Wanna move fast & light in moutains ? Being rescued has a price. You put the PGHM guy’s life at risk, just because you wanna move light and fast, and moreover, at the expense of every french resident. We don’t have to pay the bills for your passion.
    I mean, the minimum respect when it happens for professional & sponsored athletes exposing outdoor life and being encouraged by their sponsors to do so,is to pay the bills. Ask Salomon International to pay the PGHM bills. Or at least make a donation, buy them new gear. PGHM de Chamonix deserve all the credit. You should have mentionned these guys in this post too, not only in your facebook short post.
    Stay safe !

    • Cláudia

      Shut up! You put money and people’s life in the same side????

      • Alex Fernandez

        Hey ! Don’t forget that PGHM guys go to rescue people FOR A LIVING. They put their own life at risk for a living. So yes money and people’s life are related too. My take is that people can’t do whatever they want to. As another comment says : Make a donation to the rescue organization. End of story. You take risk, you pay the price if you need rescue.

        • Cláudia

          And Why not do the donation?! It’s not about that…it’s about being in the mountains and not know what can happen. Killian and Emelie are use to be there more than we will ever be. So Alex, everything can happen even if we are aware of the risks. I understand the PGHM work and I respect them a lot but when they choose to be rescue people they know their risks. One of my biggest dreams is to be part of a Rescue team and I’m telling you, if I ever be a rescue people I will be very happy and feel accomplished if I can help people like this too. They’re people that respects and love the mountains…so love more and respect the ones who loved them to!

          • Matt

            This is a never ending story, should we do like the Suiss and pay for rescue or leave rescue free?

  • Coloradorunner60

    Make a donation to the rescue organization so they are able to respond to the next person who makes a mistake.

    • Kévin Gregoire

      A donation, the word itself is positivity… as positive as the success we wish you in a new attempt, once you fell ready. “PLAN B” as you said, could be a wonderfull name for the next jackets of your(you and KJ) sponsor. 😉
      Best regards.

  • Sarah Ridgway

    Emelie – you did the right thing. The fact that you have experience counts for your ability to be able to test what is possible sometimes and push boundaries… that is what progresses the sport… but things don’t always go to plan – sometimes the weather – sometimes our own heads! That is just the way it goes – it’s how we deal with it and learn from it that matters.

    Even the experienced have bad days – it is worse sometimes not to ask to help.


  • justine

    To recognize our own weakness is the best way to progress !

  • AdamStenman

    Äsch, sånt händer. Alla gör misstag och det är det som gör oss mänskliga.

  • Daniku

    NEVER stop doing what you do.
    NEVER give up with your dreams.

    (A mountain lover)

  • Sylvain

    “One thing I wished is that they could have given us an estimated time of arrival.” –> Sorry but… WTF! You wanted an ETA for your rescue?! I am probably misunderstanding…

  • Matthieu Chasles

    Même les meilleurs font des erreurs, c’est le jeu …
    Emilie ♥ ♥ ♥

  • Guillaume

    Continue Emelie !

  • Bear Walsh

    Hi Emelie. I’m a big fan of Team Salomon & have been watching your career for few years now. So glad to hear you & Kilian are safe. You guys are constantly pushing the envelope of what’s possible when it comes to trail running up in the mountains. They say “No Risk without Reward” but then again the odds will always be against you. My late father who was a sergent in the armed forces would always tell me “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance”. No doubt yourself & Kilian meticulously plan every climb on Mount Blanc but you can never factor in the “What If”. I believe you were right to call PGHM & if I was you I would use your status in the Ultra Running world to show people that safety comes first & to maybe dedicate your next big win to the unsung hero’s (Mountain Rescue)… As we say in the Ultra Trail world “DNF = Do Nothing Fatal” (“,)

  • Niclas

    Hi Emelie,

    Things like this happen. The more you expose yourself the more likely it is you will encounter danger and difficult situations. The question is what you will learn from it and how you handle it the next time. It sounds to me like you are well in tune with your gut feeling. Keep trusting in those weak signals.

    And keep progressing the sports. Moving light and fast in the mountains is a beautiful thing. Those people coming down on you today will most certainly be influenced by what and how you approach the mountains tomorrow. Not to talk about us normal people and the benefits will we will enjoy due to your vision.

    Lastly, a huge thanks to the PGHM and rescuers in general for all they do to keep us alive in the mountains!


  • Philipp


    thanks for this very self reflective comment.

    I think it doesn’t matter at all, that you had super-light gear. The important thing is to know your abilities and your gear (no matter if light or heavy).
    Kilian and you have proven many times that you know both of it very well.

    If you are in the mountains almost every day, the chances increase that you might experience some trouble. And both of you are not just in the mountains a lot. Further you are shifting boundaries in mountaineering. That makes it even more “normal” to get in trouble.

    But it seems, that you actually were quite in control of the situation all the time, because you had the courage to call the rescue.

    That’s great!

    And the rescue men didn’t put their lifes in danger, like some are saying here. They are professionals who do their job, and it’s great that we have such an advanced rescue-structure in the alps.

    So there is nothing wrong about making a mistake or two and then having the courage to ask for help instead of making on more (maybe fatal) error.

    I always enjoy reading your blog and I will continue to do so!

    Go light and fast!!!



  • Julien

    keep going like you do… It will never happen anything to people who do nothing…Most of people whos say it was bad has never been to mountain…You were right to call for help.If something had happen to you, the same people would have said : “they didn’ tcall for any help becaus ethey think they are too strong”! Enjoy mountain…

  • Lalith Perera Rupasinghe

    Most important thine is you and Kilian are ok.

  • Hanz Geeratz

    Most people try to live their live without risks and others take more risks, that is for each self to decide without judging the other. If you want to expand your horizon, get more from live you sometimes have to cross that edge, and risks become part of the game. Glad you both made it safe back and learned from the experience. Up to the next challenge 🙂

  • Rubén Sáenz

    That’s how life works… You fail and you learn the lesson. Keep running and climbing like you do.

  • Cyrie Fry

    xo emelie. kudos to you for asking for help when you needed it. onward and upward!

  • Xavi Escrivà

    I wish you the best on the future! keep training strong enjoying the nature as well! mountain is like this and we have to experience it! everyday is impermanent and has past irremediable. All the best for you, and never lost the smile on your face please!

  • dugatoandrea

    everyone commit some error, fatal or not

    you was lucky this time and that’s enough

    next time will be different and you’ll know that light an fast will not be the only rule.

  • bassia

    Reinold Meisner a dit : Un grand Himalayiste est un himalayiste vivant !

  • Miguel

    Sometimes light and fast put the others (rescue team) in danger to save lives!
    I’m a trail runner, a alpinist and many other things related with the mountains.
    For me climbing a north face without recomended equipment is insane.
    I’m happy everything is ok, but next time please don’t go so light!

  • Aaron Newell

    alive to run another day!

  • Arnaud

    The mistakes are the best teachers !!!!
    But everybody is safe and it’s the most important !!!
    Now you are more stronger with what you learnt, it’s a good thing, isn’t it ???
    Don’t pay attention on what people say and go ahead !!!! 😉

  • Iain Ridgway

    Its good you got out of course, so well done for making a brave decision. I’m not a fan of rescue teams or guides being overly critical because 1) but for the grace of god.. 2) what happens next time people get caught out “oh lets not call a rescue we’ll get slated”.. but on the otherhand I can see their fears. And some of the comments on here and FB must be sending shivers through their spines. Lightweight gear has opened up vasts swathes of land, once inaccessible to runners; we are undoubtably seeing runners who are inexperienced mountaineers entering terrain without proper equipment or knowhow. For example microspikes and no axe on winter mountains. I also think we as runners have a great safety blanket which is speed off the hill, when we enter technical terrain, we remove that safety blanket, because we are then trapped in isolated areas. So as runners we can push weather windows, knowing if the shit hits the fan we are down in the valley in a matter of minutes, as soon as we see the clouds gathering. I do think you should actually highlight your mistakes (lets be honest you made some basic mistakes, took gambles on lack of gear and bad weather out there with no plan B), forecasted weather, the kit you chose to take, didn’t take and what you would do better next time. There are comments on FB or is it on here such as unforeseen, did nothing wrong… which must be scaring those who made the original criticisms. I think it was totally over the top, but can totally understand the concerns of mountain running entering the high mountains. It’s just all too easy now. I wasn’t going to say anything because I think the abuse thrown has been overly harsh and has a huge lump of jealousy and envy involved, but also understandable fears; but some of the comments are rather dismissive of how serious the situation was and can be and maybe you and Kilian can use this experience to teach others about the gambles and risks involved with light and fast approaches in the hills.Cheers Iain Ridgway

  • JJR

    So in essence when I read the article and comments, one goes on a route that has a ice section without ice gear (or proper mountain gear for that matter) and eventually ends up calling rescue … and it is just bad luck or a learning process ?
    There might be more appropriate words.
    Stupidity ?

    • Dan Keeler

      Emilie specifically said they DID NOT travel across the ice edge, because they did not have the gear. How is it stupidity to go around something you are not prepared for??

  • Lluís

    Encara sort! Glad you r OK!

  • Laurent

    you made mistakes but you took the right decision ( calling rescue), and it’s even the PGHM who said that ). So nothing to tell more for that.

    After saying that , people can have discusions on the way to move in montains, or on the price of the rescue but that’s other debates.
    yours, Laurent

  • Dan Keeler

    Emilie, just remember, even experienced climbers with all the gear in the world can make mistakes. Also, remember, the mountain and Mother Nature are in charge. They can change at their will, and have no need to consult the meager little people inhabiting their space. You and Kilian are experienced runners, and are familiar with the mountain. You checked the weather forecast, and made an educated decision to climb. This time, it didn’t go how you wanted it to go, but the important thing is that you are both safe. You knew when you were out of your element, and called for help. That’s better that the experienced climber that lets his ego get in the way, and refuses to call for help when needed. I, for one, am happy you are safe, and continue to respect and admire both you and Kilian!

  • Dan Keeler

    And to everyone that is demanding Emilie and Kilian make a donation: what do you think happens when they climb? They bring publicity to your mountains, and to your communities. They bring business through races that they run (big names bring big money), they bring their sponsors, and a whole lot more. Where they go, other runners will follow.
    Plus, how do you know they didn’t pay the cost of their rescue? How do you know Solomon didn’t donate money? Everyone needs to take a big, deep breath, and just calm the hell down. I’m willing to bet there are hundreds of rescues every year from climbers that get caught in bad weather. It’s a mountain. It happens. Sure, the taxpayers wind up footing the bill most of the time, but did you stop to think that maybe Kilian, Emilie, and Solomon have already thought of making payment? They are the people that owe a debt of gratitude to PGHM, not you.

  • Oscar Fernandez

    Congratulations for your results! I’ve been reading your achievements and they’re awsome, really!! I’m impressed.

    Everybody that loves mountains would like to be like you, enjoying it effortless… or almost 😉

    Thinking on what you both lived and using the empathy, I can understand that moment you could feel like ‘I can not do it’.. and I celebrate you asked for help.. we’ve heard so many times somebody got killed in similar circumstances…

    We want you to be with us for a long long time!

    And… exactly how my mother would say… For the next time, take care!..

    I know you’ll take it as another chance to keep on doing what you like the most.

    A l’atac!!

  • ringsport11

    jeg er så glad for at gikk bra til slutt for dere Emeilie. Heier på dere uansett 🙂

  • Eric Blanc

    Je suis un fan de ce que vous faites, et je comprends vos interrogations. je crois que compte tenu des circonstances, vous avez fait ce qu’il fallait faire en appelant les secours. Bien sûr, c’est difficile d’être confrontée à un échec, de reconnaître un certain nombre d’erreurs et d’être prise à partie par la presse et par des personnes qui donnent des leçons. Une réalité : tous les alpinistes qui pratiquent la haute montagne de façon régulière ou intensive savent que commettre des erreurs est normale. C’est de cette façon que nous pouvons affiner notre regard sur la montagne. C’est de cette façon aussi que nous apprenons à approfondir notre regard sur nous-mêmes, nos buts, nos motivations…Dites-vous que les erreurs, quand elles ont peu de conséquences, peuvent être source d’élévation. Alors, en avant… vive l’aventure.

  • Eric Blanc

    Je suis un fan de ce que vous faites, et je comprends vos interrogations. je crois que compte tenu des circonstances, vous avez fait ce qu’il fallait faire en appelant les secours. Bien sûr, c’est difficile d’être confrontée à un échec, de reconnaître un certain nombre d’erreurs et d’être prise à partie par la presse et par des personnes qui donnent des leçons. Une réalité : tous les alpinistes qui pratiquent la haute montagne de façon régulière ou intensive savent que commettre des erreurs est normale. C’est de cette façon que nous pouvons affiner notre regard sur la montagne. C’est de cette façon aussi que nous apprenons à approfondir notre regard sur nous-mêmes, nos buts, nos motivations…Dites-vous que les erreurs, quand elles ont peu de conséquences, peuvent être source d’élévation. Alors, en avant… vive l’aventure.

  • jada

    respect for your humble and self reflective analysis, I am not surprised you were on the same rope with Kilian, just continue to enjoy the mountain your way !

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  • Miguel Ángel Rojo Garnica

    Problems and difficulties in common bind people. Good luck!

  • Pierre Bonart

    I believe this is a great post : humble, realistic, trying to understand the errors to get more experience and avoid falling in the same traps again, but also assessing your beliefs about your light and fast approach to mountains.
    I understand your would have wished to have an estimated time of the rescue team, but this may sound a bit inappropriate in the context, as some of the comments below underline it.

  • Joaquin Busto

    “We make mistakes and learn from them……”

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  • José Lubín Sandoval Noreña

    Learn that you have to learn, and don’t hear the rest of things that they say… You’re awesome and the most important thing was that you came back home safely

  • barbie

    an ETA can help with survival – simple as that. you do different things if it is 10 minutes, 2 hours or 12 hours. an ETA with an indication as to accuracy is something a rescue service should try to give – it makes the rescue more likely to succeed if you reduce the unknowns.


    All the mountains deserve respect. In my hometown, in Txindoki Peak many people have died.

  • Frank Babaj

    climbing in the mountain is not only about performance but also about relationship. each component is responsible for the other and this link is the most important thing i leaned climbing in the mountains. the satisfaction of being always all back from an adventure is a great satisfaction….. Considering you are both back, you should see it as a success on a human relationship point of view. In 20 years, the performance effect will be long gone, but this success will still be there.

  • Mr. Loco de Pedra

    Climbing and mountaineering have inherent risks that
    must be known and accepted by its practitioners. each
    climber and mountaineer should be responsible for choosing
    its own challenges and their level of commitment
    according to their experience and expertise, becoming
    responsible for their own safety. This is one of
    main principles intrinsic to mountaineering.

  • Matt

    I admire this new “fast and light” approach to climb mountains, but it’s a double edge sword!
    You said you didn’t have a plan B, but I think you cannot have a plan B in this kind of approach, otherwise you are not “light” anymore and the speed is your security.
    It’s the same commitment as a free solo, there is no margin for errors.
    The most important is that you are still alive. I wish you more success in your next projects! Take care.

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  • Nikolaj Fisker

    Wow, that’s a lot of comments & what a refreshingly honest post.

    Yes, it sounds like you guys may have made a mistake and got in trouble, but whoever got in trouble whilst being brilliant? In other words, who has to call for the rescue service without first making some kind of mistake?

    I won’t repeat what others have said more eloquently. You’ll *undoubtedly* grow from this experience.

    Hope you can filter out the vitriol and wish you all the best for the future.

    Kærlig hilsen from a Danish in 日本 (no, not the pastry)

  • jerome

    Go on the summits of your life… It was just a little mistake.
    And a good practice for the PGHM (that’s not a matter of money or risk , you’re all wrong) I’m sure it’s better for them to help people than watching TV or staying in their office.
    Killian needs a friend like you !

  • Rom

    It’s a strange relationship that we, as french, have with mountain rescue. People are really hard on those who make mistakes, but at the same time the rescue is free. Is so typical to judge someone before asking ourselves how clever are the choices we make when we’re in the mountains. Outdoor “experts” are on the line to debrief any accident or performance. I just say : keep doing what your doing, learn everyday and respect the mountains and their dangers. Keep being inspiring for the others, but show them that what you do, you’re doing it because you’re an high level experienced athlete. It’s not easy to make mistakes when you’re that exposed. Every amazing performance you do goes public, so does any mistakes or failure, and you’ll always find people to be happy, angry, aggressive or teachy about it. That’s life. Remember that some people got rescued in the same route, fully equipped and trained, just because sometimes, things just don’t go the way you want them to. Cheers, Rom.

  • Amir

    You Are human. humans make mistakes. as long as you learn from it and sharing the world you make it a better place 😉