French climber Luce Douady, a rising star of the IFSC circuit, has died at the age of 16 following a slip and fall on an approach path at Le Luisset - St Pancrasse in the Isère department of France. Despite her young age, Luce had earned multiple national and international titles and was set to be one to watch ahead of Paris 2024 and beyond.
According to Le Dauphiné, Luce was with a group of friends and approaching a sector of Le Luisset/St Pancrasse close to her home in Saint-Bernard, when she slipped on an exposed section of access path and fell.
Last year, Luce won the World Youth Championships in Boulder and placed 3rd in Lead, before picking up a bronze in the senior European Lead Championships at EICA: Ratho, Edinburgh, in September.
Perhaps her most memorable achievement, though, and the one which turned heads towards her talent, was her 5th place in her first ever senior Boulder World Cup in Vail, Colorado last June, at 15 years old. Qualifying for the final in her first Boulder World Cup - and the last round of the 2019 season - was a highly promising start to Luce's senior career, which she sadly didn't get the opportunity to build on in 2020 due to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements.
Luce's climbing style was dynamic and determined and she seemed to thrive in the modern style of competition bouldering. Athletes and coaches sharing tributes online are recalling the energy that she brought to competitions with her ever-smiling presence.
Luce began climbing from a young age with her father on crags in the Chartreuse Massif near her home. In May, Luce ticked her first 8b+ on rock at a local crag, just weeks after French lockdown ended. Grimper.com reports that only two weeks ago, she was working Mister Hyde 8c+ at Céüse and making good progress. 'She was the future of climbing', the headline reads.
Alongside her climbing talent, Luce was a keen musician and frequently shared videos of herself singing and playing guitar on social media.
C'est avec une tristesse immense que la communauté de l'escalade a appris, ce dimanche, le décès d'une des siennes. Luce Douady, 16 ans et jeune espoir de l'escalade française, a été victime d'un accident dans un passage équipé d'une main courante entre deux secteurs d'escalade sur une falaise proche de Crolles (Isère) durant une sortie avec des amis. Luce était une jeune athlète de l'équipe de France d'escalade, très prometteuse. A seulement 16 ans, l'avenir était devant elle. Cette terrible nouvelle a touché de plein fouet ses camarades d'entrainement, ses entraineurs et son club, Chambéry Escalade. Mais, aujourd'hui, c'est l'ensemble de la fédération qui est en deuil. Nous pensons évidemment à sa famille et nous nous tiendrons à sa disposition. Brillante en compétition, 3e au Championnat d'Europe de difficulté 2019, championne du monde jeunes de bloc en 2019 à Arco et 5e à l'issue de sa première étape de Coupe du monde de bloc à Vail cette même année, Luce Douady était une amoureuse de toutes les facettes de l'escalade, capable de réalisations d'envergure en sites naturels (8b+ en 2020).
The International Federation of Sport Climbing commented on her loss in a statement:
'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.
Luce was a young, brilliant and talented athlete who won her first Youth World Championships title at last year's competition in Arco (ITA), where she first placed 3rd in the Youth A Lead final, and then climbed atop the podium in the Youth A Bouldering event. Also in 2019, Luce made her first appearance in the IFSC Boulder World Cup circuit, debuting with a fantastic 5th place in Vail (USA), while finishing 20th at the 2019 IFSC Climbing World Championships in Hachioji (JPN) and participating in two Lead World Cup events in Chamonix (FRA) and Inzai (JPN).
The IFSC's thoughts and prayers are with Luce's family and friends at this tragic time.'
Donate to a crowdfunding campaign to support Luce's family.