Who is Catherine Destivelle? – Rock Queen

who is Catherine Destivelle aka rock queen

Catherine Destivelle is a French rock climber known for multiple ‘first’ climbs over her career, making her one of the most renowned women climbers ever, even by today’s standards.

In this article, we will cover all the things climbers want to know about Catherine; who she is, how she started climbing, and why she is so famous in the rock climbing community despite being ‘retired’ (slowed down) for quite a few years now.

So, Who is Catherine Destivelle?

Catherine Destivelle (Catherine Monique Suzanne Destivelle) is a French rock climber and mountaineer. She became the first woman to the solo accent of Eiger’s North face, taking her 17 hours to do so.

She had a couple of other first ascents, including the Nameless Tower, Mount Viets, and Peak 4111.

Where Was Catherine Destivelle Born?

Oran, Algeria, and was brought up somewhere in France.

How Old is Catherine Destivelle?

Catherine was born on 24th July 1960, making her 63 years old.

What Is Catherine Destivelle’s Nationality?

She is French.

What Is Catherine Destivelle’s Height?

She is 5ft 8.

When Did Catherine Destivelle Start Climbing?

Catherine Destivell rock climbing on a wall

She began bouldering when she was 12 years old in Fontainebleau; she was also naturally good at it. As a young teen, she got the taste for mountaineering, but that didn’t last long as she quickly turned her attention toward sports climbing. This was an up-and-coming rock climbing discipline seeing rapid popularity at the time.

What Are Some of Catherine Destivelle’s Most Famous Climbs?

Since Catherine is one of the strongest climbers, she has climbed plenty of routes over her rock climbing career, though here are some of her most notable ones:

Notable Solo Accents

  • Bandiagara Escarpment in Mali
  • Devils Tower in Wyoming, Indian Creek in Utah
  • Old Man of Hoy in Orkney Islands, Scotland

Rock Climbing Accents

  • La Dudule (5.11d) (third-ever female 7a)
  • Pichenibule (5.12c) (second-ever female 7b+)
  • Elixir de Violence8a (5.13b)
  • Samizdat 8a (5.13b)
  • Chouca (5.13b) (first-ever female 8a+)

What Is Catherine Destivelle’s Climbing Philosophy?

Just like Alex Honnold, her philosophy was no fear of climbing. Just get on with it and achieve what you want to achieve. Of course, this doesn’t mean she was a wreckless climber, she wasn’t jumping on a crack without a plan, but from the outside looking in, it may look this way.

Especially if you’ve seen the video of her climbing in Malli (prepare to get sweaty hands)

Does Catherine Destivelle Still Climb?

It is unknown whether or not Destivelle still climbs. However, I would seriously doubt she is climbing at the same or near to the level of intensity she once was since she is over the age of 60 now.

Though I can imagine she probably has her climbing wall at home, and she’s probably got a few projects she’s working on or climbing old ones for fun.

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