Patrick Edlinger was found dead at his home in La Palud on 16 November. He was 52 years old. “He was the first who raised his sport to an art of living, and paved the way for many adepts for whom climbing, respect for nature, and to overcome itself became a philosophy of life,” writes the French Sports Minister in a press release after Edlinger's death and adds that he was an exceptional man, known and loved by the French people.Edlinger became known to a wider public through the films ‘La Vie au bout des doigts’ and ‘Opéra Vertical’ (both by J-P Janssen 1982).No one who saw the films about Edlinger, which also appeared on SVT, was left unmoved and still more than twenty years later non-climbers sometimes strikes up a conversation about the blond man they had seen hanging on without a rope holding his life in his bare hands high above Provence's Verdon river, "... but he's dead now, I've heard," is the usual way to end this conversation. "No, Edlinger lives," we can no longer answer.For the general public Edlinger was best known for his long and exposed free solos. Even those who never climbed rock can clearly see the elegance and control with which he performed those solos. Only after his daughter, now ten years old, was born did he gave up solo climbing completely.But above all, Edlinger had significance as one of those who created modern climbing. Edlinger anticipated sport climbing as it is practiced today, not only by his physique, his dazzling technique, and through his strong focus on competition climbing, but also by his strict and simple ethics that came to define the 'approved' styles for a free ascent.Edlinger has also had influence on the general increase in climbing ability on the continent as the author of perhaps the first training manual for rock climbing (“Grimper!: Pratique et plaisir de l'escalade”, 1985, with A Ferrand and J-F Lemoine).During the eighties Edlinger also put up some of the hardest routes in France, and for that matter the world, including ‘Ça Glisse Au Pays des Merveilles’ (1983, France's second 8a) and a five-day period in 1988 he put up ‘Sucettes à l'anis’, 8b, ‘Are you Ready’, 8b+ and repeated ‘Les Spécialistes’, 8b+. That same year he also won the Arco Rock Master competition (together with Stefan Glowacs).The following year Edlinger soloed ‘Orange Mécanique’, 8a, in Cimaï, repeated Ben Moon's masterpieces ‘La Plafond’/‘Maginot Line’, 8b+, and perhaps the world's then hardest route ‘Agincourt’, 8c, and he also confirmed his level as a competition climber by winning the major international climbing competition in Snowbird Utah, in superior style.Climbing on the highest level has now moved away from the mostly vertical and high walls that dominate Verdon and we often associate with Edlinger, but remember that he was also the most active in the development of Ceuse, one of the truly central cliffs in today's sport climbing.After an accident in the Calanques in 1995 Edlinger gave up climbing at the elite level, but even after that he has been a continued strong direct influence on the climbing scene e.g. as the editor of 'Rock'n Wall' (1997-2000).In recent years, Edlinger run a gite near Verdon. Edlinger has also struggled with severe alcoholism, and Asselin, who is writing a biography of him, he said: “You know, I'm the only one who can find a solution, this is the hardest fight I've had, as an impossible solo, but I will find a way out.”
I got up early once. It was to do Polka des Ringards before the sun hit the sloper.Warmed up, clips in and redpointed by 8.30 am. Don’t think it’ll catch on.
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