Caroline grew up on the tropical paradise island of Réunion. Famed for its lush vegetation, holiday-brochure beaches and first-rate scuba diving, it’s not the first place that springs to mind as producing world-class competitive sport climbers. But climbing is the island’s fourth largest sport and is practiced in schools, where 12-year-old Caroline started climbing. Making fast progress, she won the French Youth Championship and French UNSS Championships in 2000 and was soon competing in the European Youth Cup and World Youth Championships.
At the age of 16 she moved to France to improve her training and spent ten years focusing on the Lead World Cup, finishing third over all in both 2005 and 2006 and she won the French lead championship every year between 2004 and 2007. After a decade of being ultra-specialised, she began to seek out fresh challenges and bigger risks outside of the climbing gym, largely due to the serendipitous meeting of her now-husband, fellow climber James Pearson.
Since then, she’s proved she’s a strong, well-rounded climber ticking off routes all over the world, in unexpected places like the Ethiopian desert and Japanese waterfalls. One highlight was leading a team to open Zembrocal (140m, 8c+), her first multi-pitch ground-up (no top-rope practice) ascent in her native Reunion Island. Another was the Voie Petit on Grand Capucin on the Mont Blanc Massif, which is 450m long, at 3,500m and maxes out at 8b.
When she and James had their first child, Arthur, they vowed to combine their roles as parents with their roles as athletes. In so doing, they faced challenges they’d never encountered before and embarked on their toughest expedition yet. It’s inspired her to seek out new adventures closer to home and has given their lives new meaning beyond climbing.