16-Year Old French Climber Luce Douady Dies in a Fall

Unfortunate news from the world of rock climbing today, as it has been revealed that 16-year old French climber phenom Luce Douady has died in a fall. While details are still being sorted out, it appears that the fall took place this past Sunday. It occurred not while she was on the rock face itself but while navigating a tricky footpath on the way to the start of her climb. The accident took place in the southeast of France near Grenoble, where Douady had been staying and training this summer.

Last year, Douady burst onto the competitive climbing scene, winning the junior boulder world championships while just 15 years old. Not long after, she made the jump to the seniors level of bouldering competitions and finished 5th in the world championships on that level, too, despite the fact she was the youngest participant.

Luce was expected to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which have now been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus. Luce was widely seen as a rising star in the competitive climbing world and the French’s future. As you can imagine, her friends, teammates, and climbing partners are stunned by the tragic news of her passing.

According to reports, Douady fell more than 150 meters (492 ft) after losing her footing while navigating the trail that took her to her intended climbing route. An investigation is underway to sort out the exact details of the accident, but since she was still on the approach, she wasn’t wearing a harness or roped up at the time.

While eventually, we’ll probably learn more about exactly what happened, it appears to be a simple accident that has led to an immense tragedy.

Our condolences go out to Luce’s friends and family. Such a tragic loss, and she will be missed.

Kraig Becker

9 thoughts on “16-Year Old French Climber Luce Douady Dies in a Fall”

  1. Sports are only extreme if you don’t understand the risks, which clearly you don’t. Accidents will always happen, whether you’re climbing a mountain or crossing the road. Most people could only hope to be so lucky to die doing what they love. A life of shelter is no life at all.

      • Also not true, she likely would’ve been one of the hopefuls for 2024 but for this year, the French quota was already filled by Julia Chanourdie and Anouck Jaubert. There might have been a possibility that she could have qualified through the European continental championships (which were cancelled due to Covid, Anouck Jaubert got her slot because she was the highest ranked not-yet-qualified European climber in the World Championships) but considering she and Fanny Gibert would have had to battle it out for the last French spot it would have been unlikely. This is not to say she wasn’t an absolutely brilliant climber of course and it’s desperately sad that this happened.

        • (I have to correct myself on the continental championships, they are only postponed and not cancelled of course. But the point still stands, the French quota is filled regardless of the outcome of the continentals later this year.)

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