Norlha’s Ambassador – the mountaineer Sophie Lavaud
Norlha is fortunate to have the Swiss-French mountaineer Sophie Lavaud as ambassador. She came to represent the organisation as she laid plans for her attempt on Everest that took place in 2014. Her commitment and dynamism have hugely benefited the NGO in terms of fundraising and visibility.
Born in Lausanne and currently living near Geneva, Sophie learned to ski at the same time that she learned to walk. Her passion for mountaineering has grown steadily as she has taken on more and more extreme feats. A successful ascent of Mont Blanc in 2004 was just the start. Since then, she has travelled to Africa, South America and, above all, the Himalayas, tackling more and more challenging summits.
Having reached the summit of five eight-thousanders, Sophie is one of the most experienced women climbers. In 2012, she became one of the few women to summit two “8000” in less than two weeks (the Shishapangma, 8020m, and the Cho Oyu, 8201m). In 2014, she conquered Everest by the North face as depicted in “Everest, Summit of Desire”, by the film director and mountain guide François Damilano. She subsequently climbed Gasherbrum II (8035m) in 2015 and Makalu (8463m) in May 2016. In July 2016, she was forced to abandon her attempt on the very challenging K2 (8611m) when an avalanche swept away the supply camps.
In her role with Norlha, Sophie is committed to fighting poverty and improving the lives of Himalayan people. She was also in Nepal when the April 2015 earthquake struck the region. She visited Norlha’s projects assisting local Norlha staff to assess the needs, raise funds and organise disaster relief. In 2017, after an attempt to climb Kangchenjunga (aborted due to adverse conditions), Sophie headed to Pakistan to climb Broad Peak (8,047m). This expedition, destination Broad Peak, is to raise funds for Norlha’s Mahila project empowering the women left behind by men migrating to work abroad.
I am proud and pleased to represent Norlha on my expeditions to the top of the world and contribute to the organisation’s success as best I can, – Sophie Lavaud.