Goodbye Chloé Graftiaux
On Saturday 21/08/2010 Chloé Graftiaux, the Belgian sport climbing champion and one of the strongest athletes in the world ranking, died after falling from the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey (Mont Blanc).
It doesn't seem possible, but it is. Last Saturday the young Belgian climber Chloé Graftiaux died while descending from the summit along the South Face of Aiguille Noire de Peuterey in the Mont Blanc massif. Graftiaux was climbing with her partner Antoine down the enormous face, the symbol of the Italian side of Mont Blanc, and on that apparently easy section Graftiaux was betrayed by a loose boulder which became detached.
23-year-old Chloé Graftiaux was undoubtedly one of the most important and beautiful Belgian and international climbing talents. She was known above all, and perhaps mistakenly so, for her excellent competition results - after her victories in Vail and Sheffield this year she won overall bronze in the Bouldering World Cup - and she confirmed her versatility by also winning the Belgian Lead title on various occasions.
But Chloé was far more than simply competitions. Her passion for climbing was far greater and this took her far higher, much further. From ice climbing competitions - her victory in the Valle di Daone 2010 confirms her extreme versatility once again - to the "real" ice found on Super Couloir on Mont Blanc and other famous icefalls, such as Polar Circus in Canada.
In winter Chloé also carried out a series of impressive steep ski descents, while in summer she managed to find the time for long rock routes, up the smooth limestone Verdon Gorge in France and the rough granite in America's Yosemite (Astroman, Freerider and The Nose to name but three). Above all though she travelled to the Mont Blanc mountain range every summer, where she climbed extreme classics such as Voie Contamine and Les intouchables, the Gervasutti Pillar and the Central Freney Pillar.
We got to know Chloé through her competitions, and what always struck us was her seriousness and commitment, unfailing combined with a beautiful smile. This happiness distinguished her, it accompanied her wherever she went. We like to think that she will be remembered like this, forever.