French Competition Star Luce Douady Dies in Accident at Age 16

An apparent slip while approaching a cliff led to a fatal fall for the young French climber.

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On Sunday, June 14, the 16-year-old French climber Luce Douady perished in a tragic accident at Le Luisset near Grenoble, France, not far from her home. According to Le Dauphiné, Douady was approaching the cliff with a group of friends when she slipped and fell on an exposed section of the trail, falling 150 meters. More-specific details of the accident are not available at this time.

Douady began climbing at a young age with her father in the Chartreuse Massif near her home. She was a prodigious climber, both at competitions and outdoors. Last year at the IFSC Youth World Championship, she took third place in the Youth A lead event, and first place in the Youth A bouldering event. She also—very impressively—took fifth place at the 2019 Vail Bouldering World Cup, her debut in the adult competition circuit at just 15-years-old. Her style of climbing was dynamic and committal, an excellent match for competition bouldering.

“It is with great sadness that the International Federation of Sport Climbing learned of the tragic loss of French climber Luce Douady, at the age of 16,” wrote the IFSC. “Luce was a young, brilliant and talented athlete”

Last month, just weeks after the lockdown ended, Douady sent her first 5.14a on rock, and was reportedly making progress on Mister Hyde (5.14c).

In addition to being a talented climber, Douady was a musician who would share videos of herself singing and playing guitar on Instagram.

“Petite Luce,” wrote fellow French climber Julia Chanourdie. “Tragic news when I woke up this morning, I knew Luce through the competitions that we shared together. I will remember her with incredible energy and motivation, clearly nothing could stop her, she was an example to follow despite her young age. It’s unfair.”