Swiss adventurer Jean Troillet has made exploration and discovery part of his everyday life, and revels in the chance to share the photos and videos he has made of some of the least known parts of planet Earth.
Now in his mid-60s, he continues to organize and take part in expeditions every year. “I’m an adventurer, I like seeing things that haven’t been seen before,” he tells Explorers.
“In 2014 we went to Greenland, around the area of Ammassalik on the east coast. We spent two weeks there, walking around 30 kilometres per day, walking over the mountains, up glaciers, across crevasses.”
Equipped with the latest mountain equipment and his trusty drone in order to film aerial shots, Troillet and two friends completed a loop around this little known area of Greenland.
Navigation wasn’t always easy, and demanded a laisser-faire attitude to precision route-planning. “We had maps, and a GPS, but the maps were very imprecise. There were moments when there was a mountain marked on the map and there wasn’t one.”
“And then we’d see that it said you’re supposed to be going down a mountain pass when actually you were going up a mountain pass. So you have to do a lot of it by nose,” he smiles. “Sometimes you go a long way in the wrong direction, it’s a bit of a labyrinth.”
On the day we spoke to Troillet he was heading to a primary school to share his films and his experiences with a class of children. Questions from children range from “how do you go to the toilet, to a little boy who looked me straight in the eye and asked ‘are you afraid of death?’ And then you have to tell the truth to children,” Troillet says.
Troillet spent 30 years as a mountain guide, climbing 10 mountains of over 8,000 metres in altitude during that time, including Everest in 1986, and for over a decade he has received backing from luxury watchmaker Rolex.
These day he prefers horizontal snow to vertical snow, and has his sights set on the top and bottom of the world.
“The plan is to walk across Greenland in 2015. Then in 2016 the plan is to go to the South Pole, 2017 we will go to Russia, and then in 2018 go to the North Pole across Canada.”
He continues to find the motivation to keep on adventuring because he quite frankly doesn’t want to settle down. “An easy life doesn’t interest me,” he says. “Lots of people who lead an easy life aren’t happy. The harder the challenge that you set yourself and that you achieve, the happier you are inside.”