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Patrick Edlinger has died
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Nov 16, 2012 cieneguita
Joined Sep 17, 2011
0 points
Nov 16, 2012
The linked article is in French. No hablo French! FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Joined Nov 19, 2009
15 points
Nov 16, 2012
Try google translate ...

Not much info there, though.
George Bell
From Boulder, CO
Joined Jan 1, 2001
4,925 points
Nov 16, 2012
FrankPS wrote:
The linked article is in French. No hablo French!

You mean,

"Je ne parle pas Francais"

That's the entirety of my French vocabularly and I had to google the spelling.

Edlinger was an inspirational figure, sad to see him go so young. He had a tremendous impact on American climbing.
From Morrison, CO
Joined Oct 26, 2006
16,590 points
Nov 16, 2012
Mais, non! The article and the Wiki link do not give details about his death other than to say he was 52. He was awesome and ahead of his time in many ways as far as living the life and climbing hard. crankenstein
Joined Dec 20, 2005
0 points
Nov 16, 2012
Cause unknown according to French newspapers.
I was just reading about his 1995 accident where he broke a hold on a warmup after skipping a bunch of clips. He decked from 50' and according to witnesses he "bounced back to half that height". His heart stopped, he was revived and walked out of the hospital that night with a pulled muscle in his mid-section. He was climbing again 2 weeks later.

From Small Lake, UT
Joined Aug 21, 2006
1,180 points
Nov 16, 2012
The French:

Nous avons appris ce vendredi soir le décès aujourd'hui de Patrick Edlinger à l'âge de 52 ans. Il y a trente ans, son film "La vie au bout des doigts" avait fait rentrer l’escalade, et notamment son solo intégral dans les gorges du Verdon, dans l’histoire de la Montagne. Il devait participer aux rencontres du cinéma de Grenoble jeudi prochain. Les causes de son décès ne sont pas encore connues.

Le « Blond » nous avait confié cette semaine sa passion pour la grimpe qu’il pratiquait chaque jour. « Je suis un homme libre » nous disait-il lundi, « je ne regrette rien de mon parcours ».

My rough translation:

We have just learned this Friday evening of the death today of Patrick Edlinger at the age of 52. Thirty years ago, his film La vie au bout des doigts (Fingertip Life) re-established rock climbing, and notably his complete solos in the Gorges de Verdun, in mountaineering history. He was to participate in the Grenoble Movie Festival next Thursday. The cause of his death is not yet known.

"The Blond One" had told us this week about his passion for climbing, which he did each day. "I'm a free man," he said on Monday, "I have no regrets about the path I've taken."

RIP Patrick.
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Joined Feb 15, 2008
40 points
Nov 16, 2012
Wow, this comes as a shock - only 52 years old. For me, learning to climb in the early 80's - he was a huge inspiration. RIP Patrick. Glenn Schuler
From Monument, Co.
Joined Jun 24, 2006
1,070 points
Nov 16, 2012
An enigmatic figure and early sport climbing hero of mine, I met him during a visit to Yosemite Valley in the late 80's - early 90's as well as watched him crush the best climbers in the world during the first Snowbird comp. RIP Patrick. Zirkel
From Bishop, CA
Joined Mar 18, 2007
25 points
Nov 17, 2012
my first post here. I was googling Patrick Edlinger and found your site. Very sad indeed. I am from France, live in California now and I am an avid climber-well avid but not a badass :O- Ptrick opened my eyes to rockclimbing when I was a teen, I started to climb at 12-13 and he was a role model for me...52 is very young. I wonder what happened. I know he has alcoolism issue on and off :C I say him climbing once and just looking at him was giving me vertigo (told you I was not a badass. I need a rope, or I don't climb :P ) RIP Patrick, you'll be missed by your fellow climber :/ hervie
Joined Nov 17, 2012
0 points
Nov 17, 2012
If you didn't see it firsthand, you might not understand.
But I would submit that his flash of that route at Snowbird may have been Sport Climbing's single most important moment.
Mike Lane
From Centennial, CO
Joined Jan 21, 2006
210 points
Nov 17, 2012
Here are a couple of stories in English:
Peter Stokes
From Them Thar Hills
Joined Apr 30, 2009
0 points
Nov 17, 2012
Bummer. This guy was the real deal. 1Eric Rhicard
Joined Feb 15, 2006
7,600 points
Nov 18, 2012
For my Inspirational friend Patrick E., Your Spirit Lives On!
Rock Climbing Photo: Inspirational Spirit!
Inspirational Spirit!
From Boulder, CO
Joined Nov 7, 2008
5,605 points
Nov 18, 2012
the snowbird comp-

Joined Sep 5, 2011
90 points
Nov 18, 2012
Bob, I remember that day, a week before Snowbird; you and John B and Chip were taking Patrick around Skunk Canyon. I was thrashing and dangling on the Guardian. You (politely) asked me to get the hell outta the way so Patrick could do it. I was glad to have an excuse to bail. You hung the draws, while he scrupulously averted his eyes. He proceeded to crush it gracefully, without so much as a grunt. But, he didn't have anything to clip the anchors, so, he downclimbed, just as gracefully, and cleaned the draws.
Long live the King
Joe Huggins
From Grand Junction
Joined Oct 4, 2001
0 points
Nov 20, 2012
it seems as if he fell down the stairs in his house.....

From Marbach
Joined Apr 27, 2011
10 points
Nov 20, 2012
Pitty wrote:
it seems as if he fell down the stairs in his house..... unbelievable!

Where did you read that?
I've been scrutinizing every french website to try and find the cause of death and it still says, "cause de décès inconnue" - Cause of death unknown.
From New Brunswick Canada
Joined Dec 8, 2007
1,075 points
Nov 20, 2012
It's in Italian and they don't name any sources:

"È caduto da una ripida scala di casa, battendo la testa e procurandosi una fatale emorragia" (Google translation: He fell from a steep staircase of the house, hitting his head and by getting a fatal hemorrhage).
Martin le Roux
From Superior, CO
Joined Jul 16, 2003
129 points
Nov 24, 2012
Gorge du Verdon
Rock Climbing Photo: L'Escalade
From Boulder, CO
Joined Nov 7, 2008
5,605 points
Nov 24, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: RESPECT!
Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Nov 28, 2012
This is the obituary posted in the New York Times

Patrick Edlinger, a versatile and charismatic French rock climber who helped popularize competitive sport climbing in the 1980s — “a form of yoga,” he called it — died on Nov. 16 at his home in La Palud-sur-Verdon, France. He was 52.

Courtesy of Lucio Tonina
Patrick Edlinger inspired others to scale rock walls in the 1980s.
Daniel Gorgeon, a close friend and fellow climber, confirmed his death. He did not specify the cause.

Sport climbing involves using anchors or bolts that are permanently installed into rock faces or artificial climbing walls to secure ropes and harnesses. The system prevents climbers from falling and allows them to practice routes by essentially falling repeatedly until they master a section.

The technique was anathema to some devotees of what is known as traditional climbing, a far more risky endeavor that requires climbers to improvise their own network of anchors and safety ropes as they make an ascent.

In climbing culture — a blend of sport, spiritualism, philosophy and bravado — the differences stirred fierce debate.

But things began to change in 1988 when Edlinger (pronounced ed-lan-ZHAY) appeared at a sport climbing competition in Snowbird, Utah, the first such competition in the United States. As the event neared its completion, more than a dozen sport climbers had failed to complete the competition route, which had been installed on an exterior wall of the Cliff Lodge hotel that was more than 100 feet tall.

Edlinger, who had made a point of not watching other climbers attempt the route, was the last to go. The day was gray and damp as he began his climb. He made his way fluidly toward a critical overhang that had vexed each climber before him and swept past it with relative ease. Just as he did, a streak of sunlight broke through the clouds and illuminated him against the wall. People cheered.

“Everyone just gasped and ran away from the wall; we all ran back to watch him pull over with the sunbeam hitting him as he pulled over the top,” John Harlin, a former editor of American Alpine Journal, recalled in an interview last week. “It was literally a beam, like a spotlight illuminating him and nothing else. What I tell people is that if this were a Hollywood movie script, it would be way too corny.”

For many climbers the moment has become nearly mythological, signifying a broader ascension for Edlinger himself and for sport climbing in general.

“Before that moment, in America, sport climbing was cheap; it was not really respected,” Phil Powers, the executive director of the American Alpine Club, said last week. “And it seems to me that after that moment, sport climbing became something we can respect.”

A quarter-century later, sport climbing drives the growth of rock climbing and inspires the aesthetics of outdoor clothing and culture. Powers said it had also increased the focus on fitness, stamina and athleticism in traditional mountain climbing.

Edlinger was born on June 15, 1960, in Dax, France. Edlinger began climbing as a teenager, and by the late 1970s, he and Gorgeon were climbing the seaside cliffs known as Les Calanques de Cassis. Edlinger eventually dropped out of college to pursue climbing.

Edlinger sought out increasingly challenging new routes. The routes he and other Frenchmen established in places like Gorges du Verdon and Ceuse became climbing destinations.

His fame grew when he was featured in documentary films about climbing, including “Life at Your Fingertips” and “Opera Vertical.” He later toured climbing sites around the world, making remarkably easy climbs of routes over which others had long labored.

“When he climbed, it was like watching a ballet,” Gorgeon said. “It looked like a professional dancer on the rocks. The moves weren’t rough. They were always very purposeful and beautiful.”

Henry Barber, a traditional climber, said that he had been skeptical of sport climbing, but that Edlinger helped change his mind because of his efforts to create harder routes. He added that he also admired Edlinger’s commitment to a more perilous form of climbing called free soloing, in which “there’s no rope, there’s no equipment, there’s just a person and shoes and hands.”

Edlinger had a serious fall while free soloing in the 1990s and had a heart attack related to the accident. He largely stopped free soloing after the accident. He was separated from his wife, Mata, Gorgeon said. Other survivors include a daughter, Nastia.

“When I climb, I feel an interior peace,” he said in a 2009 interview. “You’re obliged to concentrate on here and now, to concentrate totally. All of a sudden, you forget your problems, all the things that don’t interest you.”
Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Dec 6, 2012 Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Dec 8, 2012 Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
160 points
Dec 30, 2012
In July of 1985, I was at Bell Buttress in Boulder Canyon, when my partner and I noticed a climber and his entourage crossing Boulder Creek. As they got closer, it was easy to recognize the climber as Patrick Edlinger by his long blond hair. We stopped what we were doing given the chance to watch one of the best climbers in the world. When they arrived at the climb, Grand Inquisitor , an acolyte handed Edlinger his gear and another acolyte held out the pof for Edlinger to prepare his hands. I was surprised that Edlinger carried a huge rack (on a sling, this was before gear loops on harnesses) with 15 or so Friends. He proceeded gracefully up the climb but came to a move he couldn’t do. He down climbed, never weighting the rope, and after swearing a little started back up. When he got to the move he had backed off of, he tried something different. He lifted his out stretched right leg above his head to lever off a small protuberance. He got a pinch grip with his left hand on a sloping hold and did a pull-up. And then he was gone. Past the crux he climbed so fast, it was hard to see what he was really doing. A few minutes later, he arrived back at the base of the climb as an acolyte held out a cigarette for him.

We had hoped to see a display of his renowned technique, but he simple overwhelmed the route. With his strength and flexibility, there was no need to do any fancy technical moves. It was very impressive to watch him handle the rack for the few pieces he placed. It was like stroking a harp as his hand moved across the rack to the piece he wanted and then his hand moving slowly and gracefully to make the placement.

A couple of weeks later, I was talking to a visiting French climber about how strong and flexible Edlinger was. He regarded me as an ignoramus because I hadn’t known that.

I decided that though I could not become as strong or flexible as Edlinger, I should learn how to handle my rack in his graceful fashion. So the next time I went to Horsetooth Reservoir to boulder, I took my rack with me. I figured that wearing the rack while bouldering I could learn to be smoother in handling it. Despite the snide comments from my climbing partners, I did persist for a while in wearing my full gear sling while I bouldered. But at the end of 10 minutes I decided that it was no fun bouldering while wearing all the gear. Compared to him I’m still a klutz in handling my gear.

So I didn’t learn anything that helped my climbing by watching Edlinger, but I did learn that he was strong and flexible and decided I was no longer an ignoramus.

Edlinger was an inspiration for an era. RIP Patrick.

From Loveland, Colorado
Joined May 2, 2002
515 points
Dec 30, 2012
The Italian websites report that he has indeed fallen in his home from a steep staircase/ladder. They go on speculating that he had a drinking problem as well, but it seems they have only circumstantial evidence for the claims.

Beside how he died, and whatever demons he might have been facing, he was an unbelievable climber. I remember seeing him in Rome on an artificial wall at a sporting event and he was just unreal, and amazing to watch. He was my first climbing hero and I will forever be grateful for his inspiration to pick up climbing.

A very sad loss, sleep well 'Le Blonde', you will be remembered.
From Boulder, CO
Joined Aug 30, 2007
135 points

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