Continuing to dream of Patrick Edlinger
While the grief continues regarding the death Patrick Edlinger, we have published a portrait of this climbing legend that was first published in 2005 in the book Rock Master.
Dreaming of Edlinger… like of Beckham nowadays? In the ‘80s this wouldn’t have been too far-fetched, and the present-day reference is to the happy and easy-going spirit of Jess and Jules who in Bend it like Beckham dreamt of emulating their football idol. Well yes, this held true for climbers (but not only) who at the time had seen Patrick on the screen, protagonist of La vie au bout des doigts or Opera vertical, and who cannot forget their amazement at that climber who danced on Verdon's walls. This is how things were: Edlinger really was an unreachable dream and, at the same time, a yardstick of how beautiful climbing was and could be. New school, obviously.
In those years the images of Patrick “Le blonde”, climbing without shoes following the rhythm of his breathing and the air - so much immense air beneath his feet - was an absolute dream. He was free climbing and the freedom of climbing. An unreachable goal, which was hungered for during that heyday of sports climbing. To dream, naturally, and to improve.
Patrick Edlinger came to our help in this desire to improve, to taste greater difficulties and dance around them. But watch out, only fools considered imitating him completely, copying his free-solo style. Despite accusations, it is absurd to think he was instigating others to climb without a rope and suicide. He, like Berhault, Manolo, Mariacher, Le Menestrel, Güllich, Moffat and many other extremely strong climbers (and there were many) in those initial years represented an example, the confirmation that things were possible. One often talks about the art of climbing, and Patrick was a role model. It is logical therefore that his book Climb! became a sort of bible for climbers. Pyramids, pull-ups, diets... the first organic training manual for climbing nourished all of us, the new free climbers of the '80s. And with us our biceps, our flexibility and (oh dear) some of our muscle pains. But this was the start, we were the enthusiasts of a new discovery and never spared ourselves for this vertical passion.
Then came the Edlinger of competitions and Rock Master. In truth he did not compete in many, but here too he left his mark. Winner in the combined 1986 Bardonecchia and Arco competitions, joint first with Stefan Glowacz at Rock Master 1988, the first master on an artificial wall. And, furthermore, winner in Snowbird ’88 and the international Championship in Germany. An impressive list of achievements for the future director of the magazine Rock’n wall.
Patrick has never stopped climbing, combining it with traveling, a Leitmotiv which unites all climbers, then as now. You might bump into him at a crag. He has never stopped climbing there. How could he? He is still one of us. The Edlinger that dreams are made of or, if you prefer, the routes at Ceuse: Patrick's routes, those which you have to battle against to win. Those that you remember and dream about most!
published in Rock Master - l'arrampicata ad Arco / August 2005
> Adieu Patrick Edlinger / 17.11.2012
> video Patrick Edliger