A Legend Lost: Patrick Edlinger

posted by dpm on 11/16/2012


From the French site ledauphin comes word that French climbing legend Patrick Edlinger has died at the age of 52. They report the cause of death as not yet known.

Photo: grimpavranches

Edlinger shaped climbing as we know it. As one of the leading climbers of the 1980's he pushed standards forward, mostly at his home cliffs of the Verdon Gorge. He was onsighting routes as hard as 7c/5.12d in 1980, a time when very few climbers had achieved the grade. He was one of the first to break the 8a/5.13b barrier in 1983 and remained at the cutting edge of the sport for over a decade. In the late 80's he established his own 8b+/5.14a, one of the first in the world, with Are You Ready, as well as repeating the world's hardest routes like Le Specialists 8b+, Maginot Line 8b+/c, and possibly the world's hardest at the time, Agincourt (8c/5.14b).

Photo: geneticmatrix.com

More than his achievements on rope, Edlinger will likely be remembered for his accomplishments without one. Some of the oldest climbing movies made feature the blond Adonis floating effortlessly up multi-pitch routes in the Verdon. He appears to glide up the rock like a sloth with perfect form and oftentimes without shoes; only a headband, short shorts, and a chalkbag. Though he soloed routes as hard as 8a/5.13b, it will be those long, effortless solos up the massive blue walls that linger as indelible images even to those that never knew him.    

Click the images below for a few videos of Edlinger in his prime. The sport we know and love today would not be the same without his influence. RIP.

Click for Opera Vertical Part 1

Click for Opera Vertical Part 2

Click for Opera Vertical Part 3

Patrick Edlinger La vie au bout des doigts. Watch for the one arm, free solo, french blow at 23:30. Legend.

Free Climbing Falesia - Patrick Edlinger - Arrow Head

Wolfgang GULLICH vs Patrick EDLINGER, Munich 1989

Free Climbing Patrick Edlinger Verdon Forever

Sources: ledauphin, wikipedia