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Old 18.05.2012, 20:30
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grimpeur: "Hill Walker?"

Bonjour,

I'm studying French at the elementary level (just completed one year at university) and will be traveling with my spouse in Valais on a hiking trip this summer. I was paging through the glossary in Kev Reynolds's "Chamonix-Zermatt" and ran across the word "grimpeur" translated into English as "hillwalker" and German as "Bergwanderer." My French dictionary doesn't contain that word, though it's obviously from "grimper," to climb, but my local French expert expressed surprise that such a general word for climb would be used to insert a subtle gradation between a "randonneur" and an "alpiniste."

Is "grimpeur" a commonly used word in French-speaking Switzerland? Does it indeed mean someone between an "alpiniste" and a "randonneur," and would it be the proper term for someone doing the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt? How about the German "Bergwanderer?"

—B2
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Old 18.05.2012, 23:39
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Re: grimpeur: "Hill Walker?"

I am neither a hiker nor a climber...

But I do live in Swiss Romande... and it seems to me I've heard that word used to refer to energetic babies or toddlers who are scaling the sofa! I'm not sure where that leaves you...

Word reference, which I generally use when in doubt, translates it as 'rock climber'. See here.

Hopefully someone who actually does the sport will come along soon and help you...

But I can confirm it is used in Swiss Romande to refer to a climber in a very general sense, at the very least!
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