Our history

Bernard Muller, the saga of a founder

Stages & Expéditions was born from Bernard Muller's passion for mountaineering and the transmission of his experience of altitude.

Bernard Muller in basecamp of Gasherbrum II in 1986
Bernard discovered climbing when he was 16. He quickly felt sure that mountains will be a big part of his life.

During the 70s, he climbed the hardest routes in the Alpes: North Faces of Grandes Jorasses, Eiger and Matterhorn, Pilier Central du Freney. He climbed a few ‘premieres’ such as the first winter single ascent of Couloir Lagarde (North Face of Les Droites) and the ascent of North Face of Le Grand Pilier d’Angle.

In 1977, he started big expeditions : he first went to Peru, then to Himalaya (Nanga Parbat, 8125m) in 1979.

Gasherbrum II (1986)
Gasherbrum II (1986)
Those experiences made him chose the ‘alpine style’ and he left the following year to south pillar of Daulaghiri (Himalaya) with a small team. He reached the top together with Pierre Beghin, another famous alpinist.

This big success was one of the biggest Himalayan performances during this period. In 1981, the same team climbed the ‘premiere’ of West Face of Manaslu. Thoses two expeditions were two new big moutain routes with an altitude higher than 8000m.

The following years, Bernard Muller climbed many other difficult ascents, such as the South Face of Aconcagua in alpine style and experienced the first  climb of Southeast Lane of Yalungkang (8505m) ever without oxygen. He performed it with Laurence de la Ferrière, his partner during this part of his life. Both of them were called ‘the highest couple of the world’...

Up to the summit of the Everest

In 1986, Bernard Muller feels the need to transmit his himalayan experience and to bring amateur climbers on the top of the highest mountains of the world, that is why he created Stages & Expeditions.

The first expedition left to Gasherbrum II (8035 m) and three people reached the summit. In 1988, the success is even bigger : 11 people on the top ! In 1990, Stages & Expéditions becomes the first French organizer to propose the ascent of the Everest by its Nepalese hillside.

Bernard Muller wanted Stages Expéditions and its mountain guides to bring people on the top of the world, which was really audacious at this period. He was right and successful : people (6 clients and 2 guides) reached the top of Everest (8810m) on the 4th and 7th of October 1990. And it kept going : one people on the top in 1992. 1994 and 1996 expeditions were not successful because of bad weather conditions.

However, Everest has remain the major objective for alpinists. In 2001,  Stages Expéditions formed a team to try the ascent by the Tibetan hillside : 5 members of this team and 7 sherpas reached the top on May 22nd and 23rd. And during our last expedition in 2006, another 3 people walked on the top of the world using the same route.

Polar lands and ‘Seven Summits’ challenge

In parallel with these expeditions in high altitude, Stages Expéditions has been organizing polar expeditions led by Bernard Muller. Twice, he walked the crossing of Greenland (in 1997 and 1998), and once the one of Iceland (in 1999), and Baffin island (in 2000).

In 2008, he also completed the ‘Seven Summit’ challenge (climbing the highest summit of each continent). And thanks to him, Stages Expéditions has been the first agency to complete it ! Among these peaks, the Aconcagua, highest summit of America, was climbed numerous times by our teams.

And around Chamonix

But Stages Expéditions is not only an expeditions organizer ! In 2009, we joined ‘Géophyle’ network and became a real ‘mountaineering center’ offering discovery and practice of mountaineering.

When we created ‘school of mountain’, we wanted to show our will to transmit our experience to anybody. From now on and for the future, Stages Expéditions wants to open widely the doors of mountaineering (from the contemplative paths and easy glaciers, up to the most beautiful mountains of the world) to share the unforgettable emotion of altitude.

Arrival at Aiguille Verte's summit (© Mario Colonel)

Stagexpé highlights

  • 1986: Gasherbrum II, 8035m, 3 alpinists on top
  • 1987: Everest, 8848m, attempt until Col Sud, 8000m
  • 1988: Gasherbrum II, 8035 m, 11 alpinists on top
  • 1990: Everest, 8848 m, 8 alpinists on top
  • 1993: Elbrouz, 5642m
  • 1944: Tupungato, 6570m and Ojos del Salado, 6893m
  • 1995: Mc Kinley 6187m and Mont Vinson (Antarctica), 4897 m. Seven Summit
  • 1995: Shisha Pangma, 8045m, 3 alpinists on top
  • 1996: Greenland Mt Watkins - first ever ascent of Mount Paul Emile Victor
  • 1997: Greenland first French entire West-East crossing (with no assistance)
  • 1998: Greenland crossing using kites
  • 1999: Winter North-South crossing of Iceland
  • 1999: Cho Oyu, 8201m, 6 alpinists on top
  • 2000: Crossing of Baffin Island
  • 2001: Everest, 8848m, (Tibetan route) : 5/8 people on top
  • 2006: Everest, 8848m, 3 alpinists on top
  • 2010: Everest, 8848m, the only one french ascent of the year