French Climbing Prodigy Luce Douady, 16, Dies After Fall From Cliff

Luce Douady Dead

Instagram/Luce Duady Luce Duady pictured on her Instagram page in January 2019.

Luce Douady, the 16-year-old French mountain climber, has died following a fall close to the southern French town of Grenoble. Douady would have turned 17 in November 2020. Douady was a native of the Rhone-Alpes region of France.

The tragedy occurred on June 14, according to French media outlet Le Dauphine. Their report said that Douady slipped and fell from the approach path close to a cliff known as Saint Pancrasse – Le Luisset, which is close to her home in St. Bernard. Le Dauphine added that the exact circumstances of the incident are under investigation. Douady was with a group of seven or eight people at the time of her death. The report says Douady fell around 300 feet.


Douady Had Been Called the ‘Future of Climbing’

In a statement, the International Federation of Sport Climbing called Douady a “young, brilliant and talented athlete.”

In their tribute to Douady, UK Climbing referred to her as “set to be one to watch ahead of Paris 2024 and beyond.” The tribute called Douady “dynamic and determined” and added that she thrived “in the modern style of competition bouldering.” Bouldering is a competition where climbers ascend a route within a time limit. The sport will make its debut at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in the summer of 2021.

French climbing website Grimper referenced Douady’s “calm, her kindness, her smile, contrasted with the incredible energy she gave off while climbing.” The tribute ends by calling Douady “the future of climbing. What class, what elegance.”


Douady Competed in the Bouldering World Cup at 15 Years of Age

Douady competed at the IFSC Boulder World Cup in 2019 in Vail, Colorado, at 15. Douady finished in 5th place in the circuit climb. Also in 2019, Douady won the Youth A Bouldering Event at the Youth World Championship in Arco, Italy. At the same event, Douady came in 3rd place in the Youth A Lead final. While at the 2019 IFSC Climbing World Championships in Hachioji, Japan, Douady finished in 20th place. At the European Lead Championships in Scotland, Douady picked up a bronze medal. Douady competed with the team Chambéry Escalade.

The IFSC website says that Douady competed in her first event in July 2018. At the Senior European Cup in Austria in May 2019, where Douady finished in 3rd place, she was quoted by Grimper as saying her goal at the tournament was to “have fun.”


In Addition to Her Climbing Career, Douady Also Uploaded Videos Showing Her Singing & Playing the Guitar

In addition to her burgeoning climbing career, Douady also regularly posted videos of herself singing and playing the guitar. Douady’s final Instagram post came on May 18. In it, Douady said she was working to achieve the 8b climbing grade.

After becoming a European champion, Douady wrote in an Instagram post, via Google Translate, “It’s so beautiful as an emotion, so beautiful that the work pays, so beautiful to live it.” Douady added in her post that being a champion was “too much fun.”

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