Patrick Edlinger


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Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Nov 17, 2012 - 11:11pm PT
Inspirational. It's tragic for one so young and gifted to go, and it doesn't matter if it was a fall or at home. I watched the Snowbird VHS tape until it would no longer play.

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Nov 18, 2012 - 12:10am PT
Here's the article from Paris-Match:

Patrick Edlinger a effectué l'ultime ascension. Âgé de 52 ans, il a été retrouvé sans vie à son domicile de La Palud-sur-Verdon, dans les Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, selon les informations du «Dauphiné Libéré». Le héros blond de «La vie au bout des doigts» a durablement marqué le monde de l'escalade. Dans ce film de Jean-Paul Janssen sorti en 1982, la France a découvert le style époustouflant de cet adepte de l'escalade libre. Le quotidien local ajoute que le sportif, qui devait participer à un festival de cinéma prochainement, confiait encore en début de semaine se définir comme «un homme libre».

Véritable artiste de la discipline, Patrick Edlinger avait continué de documenter ses exploits, notamment dans «Opéra Vertical», où on le voit évoluer pieds et mains nues à des dizaines de mètres au dessus du sol dans les majestueuses gorges du Verdon, qu'il s'était choisies pour voisines.

Mais Patrick Edlinger avait aussi des démons. Selon l'écrivain Jean-Michel Asselin, qui travaille à une biographie du grimpeur, celui-ci souffrait d'alcoolisme. Patrick Edlinger s'était confié à l'auteur: «Tu sais, je suis seul à pouvoir trouver une solution, c'est le combat le plus dur que j'ai jamais mené, comme un solo impossible, mais je vais m'en sortir».

My translation, loosely based on the Google Translate result:

Patrick Edlinger has made his final ascent. Aged 52, he was found dead at his home in La Palud-sur-Verdon in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, according to information from Dauphiné Libéré. The blond hero of the film Fingertip Life made a lasting mark in the world of climbing. In this film by Jean-Paul Janssen, released in 1982, France discovered the amazing style of this free-climbing master. The local newspaper adds that this athlete, who was about to attend a film festival, had earlier in the week defined himself as "a free man." (Note: although not mentioned in the Paris-Match article, the rest of that quote, from the Dauphiné Libéré, is "I have no regrets about the path I've taken.")

A true artist of the discipline, Patrick Edlinger had continued to document his exploits, notably in The Vertical Opera, where we see him flowing, hands and feet bare, tens of meters above the ground in the majestic Gorges de Verdon, which he had chosen to live near.

But Patrick Edlinger also had demons. According to the writer Jean-Michel Asselin, who is working on a biography of the climber, he suffered from alcoholism. Patrick Edlinger had confided in the author: "You know, I'm alone in trying to find a solution, this is the hardest battle I've ever fought, like an impossible free solo, but I'll top out. "

Rest in peace, Patrick.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Nov 18, 2012 - 12:15am PT
So sad to hear of the passing of a legend, and younger even than me.

I remember him winning at Snowbird, back in the infancy of climbing comps, and how the sunshine caught him as he pulled the final overhang.

His movie La Vie au bout des doigts was captivating, and I particularly remember the seemingly gratutitous nudie scene and thinking, "Too funny! He's so French."

So when Pat Ament writes of Patrick Edlinger walking around his place naked in front of him and his girlfriend, I just had to laugh!

Rest in peace, Patrick Edlinger. You were an inspiration. I'm sorry I never had the opportunity to meet you.


Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 18, 2012 - 12:21am PT
**please do not
feel bad or troubled...**

Well you are insightful and kind as always Neebee. Yes, I have asked myself why. We all have our own ways of explaining that which we don't understand.

Yet this is and always was about Patrick and now his loved ones and friends too. I never met Edlinger, not even close but I feel I know a little of his fine spirit now.

Rest In Peace Sir.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 18, 2012 - 02:19am PT
Why are you posting these links that are in french?

Perhaps better than no link at all. A fair number of people here have at some French, plus there's google translate.

As for my occasional lapses into Norwegian...

Sport climber
Nov 18, 2012 - 03:04am PT
From Panetmountain for those who want English:

"On Friday 16 November 2012 Patrick Edlinger died aged 52. The Frenchman was one of the early pioneers and absolute legends of sport climbing.

It seems almost impossible, but the news has been confirmed by French newspaper Le Dauphine which stated that on Friday 16 November Patrick Edlinger passed away aged 52. It's superfluous to say that the news of his death has profoundly shaken the sport climbing community which recognised the Frenchman as being one of the greatest of this sport.

Born on 15 June 1960, Edlinger began climbing aged 13 and right from the outset it was clear that climbing would take over his life, become his raison d’être. After having repeated all the hardest routes close to home, the youngster didn't think twice, abandoned his studies and hitchhiked to the South of France where he was awaited by that famous, infinite sea of limestone and a sport which still needed inventing.

It was at the famous Luberon crag Buoux that Edlinger first began to leave his indelible mark, climbing numerous routes up to 7a solo (such as the exposed Pilier des Fourmis), succeeding 30 years ago in the world's first 7b on-sight (Captain crochet) and then, in that magic 1982 and still at Buoux, managing to on-sight the world's first 7c, La polka des ringards. These extraordinary performances were repeated in other exceptional crags such as Cimai (were he carried out the audacious free solo of Orange Mécanique 8a in 1989) and obviously also the Verdon Gorge which would then become his second home.

In those starting years Edlinger also took part in numerous competitions and he won the first official sport climbing events, Sport Roccia at Bardonecchia and Arco in both 1985 and 1986. Thanks to this immense talent Edlinger succeeded in first ascending and repeating cutting edge sport climbs, which include Les Specialistes in the Verdon. A route for which he put forward the first-ever 8c grade and which over the years has become a total reference point, a line that all the strongest in the world wish to repeat. Even if the time wasn't perhaps sufficiently ripe for this enormous step forward (the route was soon downgraded to 8b+), Edlinger didn't lose heart and repeated the incredible horizontal roof Le Plafond (also known as Maginot Line) at Volx (by discovering a heel-hook which "sweetened" the grade from 8c to 8b+) as well as Azincourt, the monstrously powerful 8c pocket climb at Buoux.

But apart from these albeit important details, Edlinger will be remembered for another, immeasurable contribution to climbing: the development of one of the most beautiful cliffs in the world, Ceuse. Towards the end of the '80's this band of perfect grey limestone split in two by its famous waterfall captivated the climber, so much so that for numerous seasons it became his "secret garden" where he imposed a style of ascending new routes - extremely severe but always completely loyal - which was copied worldwide and which rendered sport climbing far more than just a simple execution of athletic moves.

Yes, climbing for Edlinger represented the search for an innate beauty applied to faultless technique, often described as a vertical ballet and if one thinks about it, "Le blond" was destined right from the outset to become much more than just a climbing rock star. His roles in the films "La Vie Au Bout Des Doigts (Life at Your Fingertips) and the unforgettable Opéra Vertical, both by filmmaker Jean-Paul Janssen, shot him to stardom not only in France but also throughout the rest of Europe. These timeless classic were followed by a series of other films as well as books which taught and fuelled the dreams of entire generations.

Dreams. Perhaps this is the key to understanding the legend called Edlinger. Ever since childhood Patrick knew how to live out his dreams and perhaps it is because of this that, for those of us who started to climb by imitating his technique, he is an absolute Legend. One of those with a capital L, just like his great friend and partner of a thousand other adventures, the other climbing Patrick, Patrick Berhault. This is why we like to remember Edlinger as he was when we met him at Trento three years ago, when he wanted to talk about his friend who had died prematurely, about Ceuse, about those daring early years and about his climbing. Yes, an authentic dream."

Trento 2009 interview (texted in English):

My RSPCT to Jello as organiser of Snowbird '88. There are stories within stories within stories that should be told.

Sport climber
Nov 18, 2012 - 03:14am PT
Patrick Edlinger and Patrick Berhault on "Il Pesce"/"Fish" (Marmolada, Dolomites) - the route mentioned in the interview.

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Nov 18, 2012 - 04:06am PT
He made it look easy.

R.I.P. Patrick.
climber bob

Social climber
Nov 18, 2012 - 07:52am PT
a true master at his craft..and a beautiful spirit, R.I.P

Nov 18, 2012 - 09:20am PT
He obviously touched a lot of our lives, when he spoke of the small things in life that he savored after a solo, like a drink of water I understood, climbing, and especially soloing can distill life and make us appreciate even the most minute aspects of life. In his recent interview it was evident he still held climbing in a special place in his life. I wanted to emulate him, to just live and climb, abandoning the constrains of life to do so, but alas I like most of us just couldn't make that commitment but Patrick I understood and admired and I hope your spirit is forever in your beloved Verdon.

Nov 18, 2012 - 11:17am PT
Rest in Peace our friend, condolences to his family & close friends and thanks up upping the standard.

Credit: Conrad

Big Wall climber
Nov 18, 2012 - 12:05pm PT
Sad news to here of Patricks passing, but his spirit lives on in those he inspired and the climbing world at large.
I was fortunate enough to climb and get to know him when he and his team came to the states during the 1980s. Although there was a language barrier at first, we some how communicated very well, mostly through the common passion to climb. Watching him climb was inspirational to say the least, and the memories of climbing in the Flatirons, Eldorado and Boulder Canyons as well as our apres-climb gatherings on Pearl Street here in Boulder still remain. The good times and fond memories are to numerous to detail, but rest asure we all had the time of our life back in those days. He motivated me to go to Europe and climb in magnificent areas like Gorge du Verdon, Buoux, Les Calanques, etc, My french speaking also became more fluent, although is surely out of practice today. Last time I saw him, was a random encounter while bouldering in Hueco Tanks, he was with Fred Nicole and we had a bouldering session together, he was in top form then. I could go on and on, but the forum has done a good job[photo[photo[photo
Patrick instantly adapting to gear placement and strenuous crack climb...
Patrick instantly adapting to gear placement and strenuous crack climbing, flashing Blues Power in Eldorado Canyon. 80s.
Credit: sunnyside
id=274361]id=274360]id=274356] exposing his persona and greatness.

Big Wall climber
Nov 18, 2012 - 12:25pm PT
For My Friend Patrick E., Your Spirit Lives On!
Inspirational Spirit!
Inspirational Spirit!
Credit: sunnyside

Nov 18, 2012 - 12:50pm PT
Patrick's story really does not end here. In a sense we who remain will carry it forward.

A really fine, I think, discussion of free soloing by a youngster. Very well put in human terms.

I wound up at it from a link here so I hope it will not be thought off topic.

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 18, 2012 - 04:17pm PT
That is a beautiful piece of art, sunnyside.

I don't normally imbibe at lunch but a couple of hours ago I skinned a few chicken thighs (bone in, french style) and put them in a baking dish with potatoes, onions, carrots, squash, fresh ground white pepper, lots of butter, a bit of coriander and salt, and baked at 400 covered by sprigs of rosemary.
A real southern France traditional fare.
The house is now filled with the aroma of the spices.
So I just opened up a 15 year old french vin ordinaire that turns out to have aged quite well (one little piece of cork fished out).

Lunch is just about on the table, and I drink a toast to the most graceful climber that I have ever had the privilege to see.

Here is to your inspiration Patrick.

Sport climber
Nov 18, 2012 - 04:18pm PT
Credit: Guy Delahaye

Nov 18, 2012 - 06:51pm PT

Ron -great memorial post -i'm sure many of us could ask for no finer when our time comes.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 18, 2012 - 08:02pm PT
Thanks John, just above. Very good little video monologue of Hans Jorge Auer's. One gets a good picture what it could be like, finding oneself in such a dream .

Nov 19, 2012 - 01:16pm PT
A crude translation of the German Yahoo article:

All sports - climbing icon: Died At stairs fall?
Shock to the growing community of climbing: A legend of the Free Climbings died. At the age of 52 years was Patrick Edlinger was at his home in southern France, La Palud-sur-Verdon dead Frenchman aufgefunden.Der a pioneer of free climbing and in 1982 also on expert panels also known by two films of his incredible achievements in the light public engaged:

In "La Vie au bout des doigts" and "Opera vertical" can still amazed at how he climbs about unsecured by the Verdon gorges.

Until 1995, when, after a heavy fall suffered a cardiac arrest, climbed the "Le Blond" called exceptional talents continue at the top level, then he moved increasingly into private life. Of the birth of his daughter in 2002 he renounced risky solo trips.

He was supposed to be a few days ago at a Mountain Film Festival. A documentary film about his life was also in the works, such as a biography of the year 2013 - it had the dark side of an extraordinary way of life found their place.

Because Edlinger struggled for years with severe depression and was therefore become alcoholics - "my most difficult fight," as he has recently been quoted in the local newspaper "Dauphine Libere".

Reports that he died in a fall from a stairway in his house have not been confirmed to date. For now, the cause of death remains unexplained.

Social climber
El Portal Ca.
Nov 20, 2012 - 11:05am PT
RIP Dear Patrick.

Thank you for shining your glorious expression of self.

Wow .. what a life, thank you!

You will be remembered.



Credit: Jobee

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