Patrick Edlinger

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Patrick Edlinger
Personal information
Born(1960-06-15)15 June 1960
Died16 November 2012(2012-11-16) (aged 52)
La Palud-sur-Verdon
Climbing career
Type of climberSport climbing, bouldering
Highest grade
Known forPioneer of sport climbing
Achievements and titles
World finals
Updated on 15 May 2013.

Patrick Edlinger (15 June 1960 – 16 November 2012) was a professional French rock climber. Edlinger is considered a pioneer and a legend of sport climbing.[1][2] He was the second-ever climber in history to ascend routes of grade 7c (5.12d) with Nymphodalle (1979), and grade 7c+ (5.13a) with Le Toit (1981). He was the first-ever climber in history to onsight routes of grade 7b+ (5.12c) with Captain crochet (1982), and grade 7c (5.12d) with La Polka des Ringards (1982).

Early life[edit]

Verdon Gorge, where Edlinger lived

Patrick Edlinger was born in 1960 in Dax, Landes, in southwestern France. He was barely a teenager when he began climbing and, after attaining his first job as a truck driver, decided he loved cliffs more than highways.[3]


In 1983 he made the first ascent of Ça Glisse Au Pays des Merveilles at Buoux, one of the first 8a (5.13b) in France.[4] He won some of the first climbing competitions in history: Sportroccia in 1986, Rock Master and Snowbird in 1988.[5][6]

He is also known to the world for his films on soloing in the steep, 500m Verdon. "Le Blond" had a smooth and beautiful style of climbing that lent itself to film. He became famous in 1982 after La Vie au bout des doigts, a documentary by Jean-Paul Janssen depicting him free-soloing in Buoux.[7]

Final years and death[edit]

After a near-fatal fall in 1995 from a steep-sided cove in southern France, Edlinger suffered a brief cardiac arrest. Following this he retired from the extreme forms of free climbing and co-founded the magazine Roc 'n Wall, which served as a bible to the burgeoning European "free solo" climbing movement. He settled close to Verdon Gorge, where the vacation rental he ran with his Slovakian-born wife Matia, Gîte l'Escales in La Palud-sur-Verdon, became a starting-point for rock climbers. His final years were marked by a long battle against depression and alcoholism, which he described as the "greatest challenge of my life."[3][8]

Edlinger died at age 52 after falling down stairs at his home. He is survived by his wife, Maťa, and their daughter, Nastia, who was 10 years old at the time. The French minister of sports and youth, Valérie Fourneyron, said of Edlinger, "Patrick was a pioneer in France for free climbing at a high level, a man who had a thirst for the absolute challenge. He refused to compromise and disdained conventions. He dedicated his life to his passion – climbing. He was the first to establish climbing as a true discipline of live art, paving the way for many to climb with respect for nature."[2][3][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

Notable climbs[edit]

The following a summary of his notable ascents:[1][16]

  • 8c/5.14b:
    • Maginot LineVolx (FRA) – 1989 – Second ascent of Ben Moon's route (1989)
    • AzincourtBuoux (FRA) – 1989 – Ben Moon's route (1989)
    • le MinimumBuoux (FRA) – 1989
    • AsymptoteSaint-Crépin (FRA) – 1989 – Second ascent of Antoine Le Menestrel's route (1987)
    • Are you Ready?Châteauvert (FRA) – 1988 – First ascent
  • 8b+/5.14a:
  • 8b/5.13d:
    • Les sucettes à l'anis – Cimaï (FRA) – 1988 – First ascent
  • 8a+/5.13c:
    • La Femme BlancheCéüse (FRA) – 1985
    • La Boule – Sainte-Victoire (FRA) – 1984 – First ascent
  • 8a/5.13b:
    • Orange Mécanique – Cimaï (FRA) – 1989 – Free solo ascent
    • Sphinx Crack – South Platte, Colorado (USA) – 1985[17]
    • Ça glisse au pays des merveillesBuoux (FRA) – 1983 – First ascent[18]
  • 7c+/5.13a:
    • La Femme Noire (7c/7c+) – Céüse (FRA)
    • FenrirVerdon (FRA) – 1982 – First ascent
  • 7c/5.12d:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Adieu Patrick Edlinger". 17 November 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Patrick Edlinger: The highs and lows of France's pioneering rock god". The Independent. 1 December 2012. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Davison, Phil (2 December 2012). "Patrick Edlinger: ‘The god of free climbing’ who became a national hero in France". The Independent.
  4. ^ Semet, Matt (2011). The Climbing Dictionary. The Mountaineers Books. p. 204.
  5. ^ "Deseret News", 'French Dominate Climbing Meet at Snowbird", 13 June 1988.
  6. ^ "Continuing to dream of Patrick Edlinger". 19 November 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  7. ^ "documentaire de Gilles Chappaz sur le grimpeur Patrick Edlinger. Le temps n'a pas de prise sur Edlinger". Libération. 14 June 1997. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  8. ^ Lichfield, John (30 November 2012). "Patrick Edlinger: The highs and lows of France’s pioneering rock god". The Independent.
  9. ^ "Patrick Edlinger obituary". The Guardian. 10 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Patrick Edlinger". The Daily Telegraph. 28 November 2012.
  11. ^ "Escalade : Patrick Edlinger est mort". Le Dauphiné Libéré. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  12. ^ "Edlinger : mort d'un pionnier de l'alpinisme". Le Figaro. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012. Né à Dax en 1960, Edlinger était devenu célèbre après le film "La Vie au bout des doigts", réalisé par Jean-Paul Janssen, qui avait connu un succès retentissant en 1982
  13. ^ "Patrick Edlinger, pionnier de l'escalade à mains nues". Le Monde. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2012. Avant lui, l'escalade n'était qu'une section de l'alpinisme. Il lui a permis de conquérir son autonomie et ses lettres de noblesse à une époque où les murs de varappe urbains n'existaient pas.
  14. ^ "Emotion après la mort de Patrick Edlinger, figure marquante de l'escalade". Libération. 17 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012. Patrick Edlinger qui avait effectué à mains nues et parfois même sans être assuré plusieurs ascensions dans les Gorges du Verdon au début des années 80, fut l'un des pionniers de "l'escalade libre" de haut niveau
  15. ^ Edlinger Died in Fall Down Stairs
  16. ^ "Ha muerto Patrick Edlinger" (in Spanish). 16 November 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  17. ^ Jeff Achey; Dudley Chelton; Bob Godfrey (2002). Climb!: The History of Rock Climbing in Colorado. The Mountaineers Books. p. 250.
  18. ^ "French Advantages – Part II. The short history of rock climbing 1980–1990". Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  19. ^ Hobley, Nicholas (17 November 2012). "Adieu Patrick Edlinger". PlanetMountain. 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.

External links[edit]