Patrick Edlinger


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Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 16, 2012 - 04:55pm PT
Snowbird's first comp, which both the men's and women's first place finishes were French, was in 1988.

1989 was the "North American Invitational" or some such.

Be great if the footage from the '88 comp was available. Saw a clip of it. Great being there for both comp's.
all in jim

Nov 16, 2012 - 05:00pm PT
Oh Man this makes me sad.

Patrick was the greatest rock climber of his generation and a super nice guy. There are places in the south of france you just can't go without thinking of him: Ceuse, Verdon, Volx. He was the John Bachar of Europe. I had the luck to spend a few days bouldering with him in Hueco in 1996 or so. He loved it there and ran a 23-page photo spread in his magazine, Rock n Wall. He was so passionate about traveling and trying different areas and new styles.

So sad he passed away so young.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Nov 16, 2012 - 05:04pm PT
Derek and Patrick were old friends, if memory serves from previous visits of Patrick to the USA.
It could also be that they knew each other from Derek's early trips to Verdon. I climbed with Derek when he first visited the Valley in 1980. I was 16 yr. old there for the first time, as Derek didn't know anyone and was just dirt bagging. A couple of years later I met another climber in Camp 4 from the Manchester area, Mark Davies, who knew Derek from home and climbed with him at the Verdon. When I later visited Mark in the UK, he showed me some old photos of him and Derek hanging with some French locals. Who knows...?

Also, didn't Patrick dedicate his win at Snowbird to Henry Barber, who was sitting in the stands? The story I always heard was that when he was lowered off, he flashed Henry a double thumbs up and said "for you."

Mountain climber
Anchorage, AK
Nov 16, 2012 - 05:44pm PT
RIP, sad news
Thought I would share something Michael Kennedy wrote in the 1989 AAJ about the snowbird comp.

“You Americans are selling out too easily,” an English friend told me on the eve of the finals at the International Sport Climbing Championship, held last June at Snowbird, Utah. He elaborated in earnest on how competitions, with their big media hype and big purses, would inevitably destroy the spirit of climbing.
My English friend was not the only skeptic in Snowbird that weekend. I was a bit doubtful myself; to be honest, I’d rather have taken the time off to go climbing. A broad range of people did show up, curious about how the first European-style climbing competition to be held in the United States would turn out. Climbing industry leaders and outdoor journalists, trendsetters and hangers-on, American Alpine Club representatives and weekend climbers-well wondered what we were in for.
Attitudes changed rapidly as the weekend progressed. It soon became obvious that these climbers weren’t just good-they were really good. The artificial wall on which the competition took place looked very difficult, and it was both exciting and inspirational to see such superb athletes perform at close range.
There were problems as well: disagreements about the rules and their interpretation, technical difficulties with the wall, and a few petulant tantrums when competitors didn’t climb as well as they wanted to. But while both organizers and competitors took a serious approach to the game-after all, prize money, sponsorships and reputations were at stake-the weekend felt more like
a community celebration than a no-holds-barred contest.
Wednesday and Thursday had been devoted to open qualification rounds, which allowed climbers not on the invitation list a chance to vie for six spots in Saturday’s semi-finals. (The event’s organizers had invited the majority of the competitors based on previous contest results.) Canadian Dave Lanman and veteran American climbers Merrill Bitter, Pat Adams and Dan Michael qualified for the men’s semi-final, and Lieija Painkiner and Melissa Quigley for the women’s.
Meanwhile, the international superstars had trickled in, even as contest organizers finalized the wall for the weekend’s event. After a late start on Saturday morning, the first of thirty-nine climbers was led to the wall, cheered on by a modest but enthusiastic crowd; nine hours later, ten men and six women advanced to Sunday’s final. Along the way were some brilliant performances.
The French men all seemed to do well, perhaps not surprisingly considering their success on the international circuit, but Americans Christian Griffith, Jason Stem, Scott Franklin and Ron Kauk gave them a run for their money. Among the American women, Lynn Hill was predictably strong, as were Catherine Destivelle and Isabelle Pkissier of France; American Mari Gingery’s effort was as good as any, although having touched out-of-bounds well before falling, her results didn’t reflect the high point she actually reached.
Sunday morning dawned cool and cloudy, forcing the first few competitors to warm their hands frequently while climbing. I shared a photographer’s balcony that day with Henry Barber, one of the most influential rock climbers of the 1970s. We discussed our changing perceptions, how our guarded skepticism had given way to qualified approval, and eventually to unbridled enthusiasm. We even began to speculate about the potential competition in a Masters’ division!
For two of the old guard, it seemed particularly interesting that the standard of excellence in competition is a traditional one: the on-sight lead.
We saw some superb climbing as competitor after competitor cranked by just a few feet away. But even the best efforts were stymied by a hard section below the roof at two-thirds height. Tension mounted as the afternoon wore on; had the organizers made the wall too difficult? The women, in particular, had a rough time on the route’s long, technical reaches, and none of the men even came close to getting to the roof. Eventually, only two contestants had yet to climb, but what a pair: Patrick Edlinger and Catherine Destivelle, both from France and both well-known for their competitive prowess.
As Edlinger prepared for his climb, Henry recounted a conversation with the French superstar the previous evening. Steeped in European climbing tradition, Edlinger first visited the United States in 1977 as an impressionable 17-year-old. During that trip, he had seen a film in which Barber soloed a number of difficult English sea-cliff routes, and here at Snowbird he told Henry how much it had impressed him. Indeed, Edlinger said that Barber’s films, and watching Ron
Kauk boulder in Yosemite that same year had inspired his climbing from that day on. Soon, Edlinger stepped up to the wall. His performance was nothing short of astounding as he danced past all the previous competitors’ high-points, climbing like a super-flexible spider. Pulling over the lip of the roof as the sun broke through the overcast, he was lost from our sight on the slab above. The rope inched upwards with agonizing slowness as we gauged his progress by the reaction of the crowd below.
Suddenly, pandemonium broke loose; he had completed the route and clipped the top anchors. As he was lowered down, Edlinger glanced over at our balcony. Seeing Henry there, he flashed him a thumbs-up and shouted an exuberant, “For you!” It was a moving gesture of respect from one generation of climbers to another, and for me; at least, it helped bring the whole weekend into focus.”

Nov 16, 2012 - 05:53pm PT
Patrick Edlinger did clean onsight leads.

He would not watch someone else on a lead to get "beta".

Did someone up thread say he died free soloing?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 16, 2012 - 06:05pm PT
Extremely tragic news.

At fifty-two years young now beyond mortality.

I hope some solid news about the circumstances is forthcoming because I really can't believe that he is gone...Damn

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 16, 2012 - 06:06pm PT
"Les causes de son décès ne sont pas encore connues."

Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 16, 2012 - 06:10pm PT
"The causes of his death are not yet known."

Trad climber
da'Raven / Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Nov 16, 2012 - 06:29pm PT
Dang! So sudden and so sad, especially after reading that last quote of his from just a couple days ago (Wednesday, i believe) and his positive attitude and outlook. He was one of my favorite euro climbers to follow and read about during the 80's! Had a lot of influence and was great inspiration to me.

edit: it may sound kinda silly, but, PE was the person i attempted to emulate/envision whenever i went bouldering, toproping, climbing or soloing back then! a smooth operator! Watching those vids of him soloing in Verdon was like watching water flowing over stone!
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 16, 2012 - 08:02pm PT
Very sad news. As it's now late at night in Europe, there may not be much more news before Saturday.

Social climber
Nov 16, 2012 - 09:20pm PT
Patrick's passing is truly sad news!
I remember him when he came to Colorado many years ago.
He stayed at my friend Steve Morris's house for a while.
I just mentioned the news to my friend Frank Sabb (who is also a climber from our generation) at the beach a while ago and we shared our own Patrick stories for a bit while we watched giant waves breaking here on the north shore.
He was a true super star in my eyes!
Aloha Patrick Edlinger

Social climber
Tujunga CA.
Nov 16, 2012 - 09:32pm PT
the valkaries ride again

Nov 17, 2012 - 12:16am PT
Very sorry to hear of Patrick's sudden passing today. The fact that an ST thread started about him two days ago is cosmic to say the least. What a shining star he was.

I was fortunate to have watched him from above free solo the Beaver Wall (in Josh) one fine sunny day in 1985. He cruised it in fine style and reversed the crux and climbed through it again. Just like Wolfie, he was a very nice guy. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Vive Le Blonde!
gonzo chemist

Fort Collins, CO
Nov 17, 2012 - 12:20am PT
wait...WTF? seriously? I had somehow heard of him when I started climbing (not all that long ago) and looked up some info on him. I watched some videos of him training on Bachar ladders and soloing in Verdon, and all I could think was, "holy sh#t...this guy was a game-changer."

sad day for the climbing world...


Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Nov 17, 2012 - 01:12am PT
I'm stunned. This thread shows up and now he's gone? Some mystic shee there.

RIP Patreek

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 17, 2012 - 02:04am PT
I am speechless. I don't know how this can be. Tuesday, my birthday I was feeling sorry for my aging self and Patrick E. came into my mind as I knew we were about the same age. I wondered how he was climbing these days. Couldn't shake the thought till the next day it brought me to post. I never post man, this is really stinks bad. Broken hearts for all I'm sure.

Gregg Olson

Boulder climber
Moorpark, Ca
Nov 17, 2012 - 04:41am PT
I saw this thread late Thursday night and I stayed up tell 4am watching all the vids posted here several times each.They brought back very specific memories of when I first started climbing in the early 80's... The dreams of moving like Patrick did, of training like he did, of living a life free and expressive as he did. I was mesmerized by his flow and confidence on the stone... something I gained, and have since lost. For a few hours last night while watching these vids I was transported back to those times, the feelings of what climbing meant to me, of what it was to put your intire being into a succession of moves and unlock the microcosms of flow and kinesthetic awareness, to dance on the vertical. It became clear that seeing Patrick climb back when I found the sport literally formed my perception of what it was to be a rock climber. Yetserday In those early Friday morning hours all the failures, all the successes, trips, friends, lovers etc.. were erased and I was brought back to that moment as a 14 year old kid when I saw these same videos and knew in my soul that I had found something that would forever change my life. I came back tonight for another dose and got this sad news. R.I.P. Patrick.

Nov 17, 2012 - 05:11am PT

RIP Patrick.

Sport climber
Nov 17, 2012 - 09:58am PT
Adieu Patrick Edlinger!

Trento 2009 interview:
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 17, 2012 - 10:43am PT
Well this just sucks.

I was talking about him 2 days ago!
Spoke with Jeff last night, wonder if he knows.
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