Luce Douady, promising 16-year-old French climber, dies in cliff accident

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A 16-year-old French climbing prodigy died in an accident on a cliff in the French countryside, the French climbing federation said.

Luce Douady had been climbing a cliff in Isère with friends and died on a difficult trail that had a handrail to get to the foot of the cliff, according to the French Federation of Mountains and Climbing.

The mountain police platoon in Haute Savoie confirmed to Euronews that Douady had fallen 150 metres and that an investigation into the accident had been opened.

The preliminary findings of the investigation determined Douady had likely not secured her cable to the handrail in the difficult pass well enough although she was familiar with the cliff, police said. This type of accident is rare in the area.

The teenager was highly accomplished in climbing for her age, winning her first youth world championship title in bouldering at the 2019 championships in Arco, Italy.

She debuted fifth in women’s bouldering in Vail, Colorado at the International Federation of Sport Climbing Boulder World Cup last year as well and won the women’s bronze medal in the 2019 Climbing European Championships.

“Luce was a very promising young athlete on the French climbing team,” the French climbing federation said in a statement.

“At only 16, she had her whole future before her. This terrible news hit her training comrades, coaches and club, Chambéry Escalade hard. And today, the whole federation is in mourning.”

The 2024 Paris Olympics committee tweeted: “Luce Douady was a promising talent of French climbing, a true champion who had so many summits to climb. Immense sadness and thoughts for her loved ones.”

Her climbing club, Chambéry Escalade, described her as a young woman full of energy, passion and talent.

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