Patrick Edlinger, has he died?


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Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 17, 2012 - 07:05pm PT
I just saw a post from Kerwin Kline on Facebook
that Patrick had died. Does anyone have the details?

Nov 17, 2012 - 07:07pm PT

Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 17, 2012 - 07:08pm PT
This is Kerwin's link:

end of an era. berhault and edlinger

Nov 17, 2012 - 07:30pm PT

From what I've heard so far they found him deceased in his home.

The cause of death has not yet been determined by the authorities there.

One individual claimed he had an alcohol drinking problem.

Whether this alcohol problem was a factor or true I have no clue ......


Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Nov 17, 2012 - 07:33pm PT
Any real reason to start a new thread and fragment Mr. Amment? Just curious.
Although his death does seem to be unreal, you appeared to be fully aware of it yesterday.

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Nov 17, 2012 - 08:51pm PT
Only in the physical sense. His impact on the sport of climbing will live on forever.

Trad climber
BackInTheDitch BackInTheDirt BackInTheDay
Nov 17, 2012 - 08:56pm PT
Any real reason to start a new thread and fragment Mr. Amment? Just curious.
Although his death does seem to be unreal, you appeared to be fully aware of it yesterday.

I wonder the very same thing.



Social climber
A Sandy Area South of a Salty Lake
Nov 17, 2012 - 08:59pm PT
Ya know, it's possible Pat simply didn't see the other thread, especially if it dropped off the front page (as it did the other day).
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 17, 2012 - 09:02pm PT
How well did you know him, Patrick?

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Nov 17, 2012 - 09:11pm PT
Well I was reading the other thread myself and Pat provided a few anecdotes of his friendship with Mr. Edlinger. As I recall, the mention of his death occurred downthread from Pat's posts. If he didn't go back and revisit the thread like I do, then he wouldn't have known.

Don't ask me nuthin' about nuthin'.

- Mary Tyler Moore


Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Nov 17, 2012 - 09:48pm PT
Ya know, it's possible Pat simply didn't see the other thread

If that's the case, I certainly apologize. Sorry. And as someone who knew Patrick you must be grieving as well. I was sure you had contributed something nice after the tragic news of his death was announced and also there have been several posts deleted now. No biggie. It does make it easier for others to read when it's all in one place.

Carry on.

Jon Beck

Trad climber
Nov 17, 2012 - 09:59pm PT
It was quite a shock to read of his death in an otherwise upbeat thread, I will never forget seeing him at Snowbird. I went with a non-climbing friend and he was as impressed with Patrick's performance as any climber. One did not have to be a climber that day to know you were watching something special. My deepest sympathies to his friends and family, RIP.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 17, 2012 - 10:06pm PT
He iust got shocking news about a friend. An extra thread isn't that big a deal

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Nov 17, 2012 - 10:13pm PT
Yeah, I'm sorry.

Trad climber
Nov 17, 2012 - 10:23pm PT
He iust got shocking news about a friend. An extra thread isn't that big a deal

yeah, and probably my fault.

i saw the edlinger thread not long after it started. got me thinking about him, partly 'cuz i'd been thinking about berhault. so when i woke up today and trolled the french media and found the dauphine article, i fb'd it w/o any translation. so then pat saw my link to that piece.

bad timing.

each one of these tends to pull up all the others.


Social climber
Nov 17, 2012 - 10:31pm PT
hey there say, pat... oh my, please do not feel bad about the second thread... i would not have gone there to read and learn the history
that i learned there... as:
i did not know who patrick edlinger, was...

could have been football, tennis, surfing, etc.. or climber, so,
since i have dial up, i let it sit... and may have let it sit
for weeks...

due to you, and this post, i went to learn who the man was...
learned he was french, as well...
learned so much about him, and of those that enjoyed him...
and--left condolences for his family...

second posts, can do wonders, far beyond what we think...

god bless and condolences to patrick edlinger's family and loved
ones, and to all his past climbing buddies...

very sad for your loss...
*i left a note for ionlyski, too:

special note, there for you--you did well by following
you 'gut feelings' that night that you started your
'name' thread:
you introduced a very nicely and well done thread,
as to the joy of a man's life--a climber...

you will see THE REST what i posted, for you, over there, :)
god bless to you too...
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 18, 2012 - 01:27am PT
I apologize for the second thread. I did not see that the other thread had changed in nature, to include the information about Patrick. I had not
gone back to that thread when I saw Kerwin's Facebook post. I just wanted to know, and usually when I post a question, people are incredible at getting back fast. Maybe I should delete this thread, if it troubles some, but really the information about Patrick is what's important. I really cared about Patrick a lot. He stayed in touch with me. We were friends. I could call him vain to his face, and he would laugh it off and agree, because he knew it meant nothing but a little harmless fun. This is painful.

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Nov 18, 2012 - 11:25am PT
^very good reason not to delete it, Pat.
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Nov 18, 2012 - 11:40am PT
Pat, don't delete. Your sincerity is there to see.

And anyway, if you delele/nuke, you will catch sh#t needlessly like I have from people like (EDIT) the poster below.

I only met Patrick once in C4, I tried my broken French with him but his English was far better. He sort of laughed, in a funny and friendly way, at my attempt at Français, but then I have worked in France (after our meeting) and so I understood his laughter now.

Sad to hear of his death.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 18, 2012 - 11:46am PT
Uh oh, Sawyer's butt hurt.

RIP le blonde.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:46am PT
A rough week on the ST, near and far.


Mountain climber
Nov 19, 2012 - 01:05pm PT

I don't know if the story is accessible in the US.

I kind of think of him as a european cross between warrn harding and bachar.

It's a shame someone who probably always thought they would die climbing something phenomenal died while climbing stairs.

Nov 19, 2012 - 01:15pm 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.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Nov 19, 2012 - 01:56pm PT
Yet another great one downed by alcoholism. There ought to be a world wide awareness campaign per alcoholism in the adventure world. We seem to be especially prone to it.

Very sad news for all involved.


Trad climber
Fumbling towards stone
Nov 19, 2012 - 02:08pm PT
Oh dear. I'm so sorry to hear about his passing.

I agree with Largo's thoughts. [Edit to clarify: I meant regarding the general aspect of alcoholism in the climbing community... I don't pretend to know the circumstances of Patrick's life or passing. No disrespect meant.]

I was enjoying the other thread so much and was looking forward to viewing the videos posted there. When I do (and I will), it will be with a changed heart.

Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Nov 19, 2012 - 03:38pm PT
I thought this thread was gone, but Toker Villain linked me into it via an email.

We don't know of the circumstances of Patrick's death. Let's just send our best vibes to his family.

Albeit, alcoholism, I know a thing or two about that.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 20, 2012 - 03:47am PT
Patrick kept wanting me to come to France to climb, where he would
take me on a tour of things... He wanted me to be prepared and
tried to teach me the most important French phrases, such as,
"Vule vu fer la mor avec moi." Forgive my spelling, but translated
"Would you like to make love with me?" He had a great sense of humor.
In turn I would tell him I wasn't about to take him down to Pueblo
to see Gill, because John didn't need another shoot-out on mainstreet.
In my living room Patrick threw himself onto the carpet, outraged that he
was not going to be able to climb with Gill. Well, in fact, Patrick
was too busy with climbs all over the place, taking on whatever route
had the biggest reputation. Vanity? That only means that he was aware
of how beautiful he was and how the women loved him.... No problem. As
noted above, he was wonderfully human and friendly and never a snob.
I remember he was already starting to drink, though, pretty
heavily... That was 1986.... as I recall.

Trad climber
Nov 27, 2012 - 06:30pm PT
There was an obituary in today's NYT. Here is the link and the text:

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.”

Mountain climber
Nov 27, 2012 - 07:12pm PT
a small tangent regarding the above quoted nytimes article and this line in particular:

"climbing culture — a blend of sport, spiritualism, philosophy and bravado"

i don't think i've seen a more successful attempt at explaining/defining "climbing culture". often outsiders describing climbing are painfully misinformed and at best entertaining. assuming william yardley, the reporter of this article, is not a climber, his explanation is a surprisingly succinct and good one, imo.

returning to the topic at hand:

it seems apt that this description was made in an article regarding patrick edlinger. from the accounts i've seen and therefore in regards to his climbing, he pursued and excelled at all four of the above mentioned aspects.

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