Mbabane: Teenage French climbing champion Luce Douady has died at the age of 16 after she fell from an Alpine cliff.
Douady was climbing with a group of friends near Grenoble when she fell 500 feet while crossing an exposed path equipped with a handrail.
The 16-year-old was already in the French climbing team and was seen as a potential future Olympian in a sport which was due to feature in the Games for the first time this summer.
The French climbing federation hailed her as a ‘very promising’ climber with ‘the future before her’ while her club paid tribute to a ‘young woman full of energy, passion, talents’.
Mountain police in Haute Savoie confirmed the news, telling Euronews that she had fallen 500 feet (150 meters) and that an investigation had been opened.
Douady was walking on an exposed path on her way to start her climb on a cliff at Le Luisset near the town of Grenoble when she slipped and fell.
‘Luce was a very promising young athlete from the French climbing team,’ the French Mountain Climbing Federation (FFME) wrote in a statement on its website.
‘At only 16, the future was before her. This terrible news hit her training comrades, her coaches and her club, Chambéry Escalade hard. But today, the whole federation is in mourning. We obviously think of her family and we will be at their disposal.’
Douady was world champion at the junior bouldering championships in 2019 and placed third at the European Difficulty Championship in the same year, winning the bronze medal.
She also debuted fifth in women’s bouldering in Vail, Colorado at the International Federation of Sport Climbing Boulder World Cup last year.
Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that does not use a rope or harness, and is performed on smaller rocks or artificial walls.
She was seen as one of the brightest young talents in the sport, which will be introduced to the Olympics in Tokyo next year, according to The Guardian.
‘Luce Douady was a in love with all facets of climbing, capable of major achievements in natural sites,’ the statement concluded.
Initial investigations have found that Douady had likely not secured her cable properly to the handrail in the challenging pass, despite being familiar with the cliff, police said. They noted that this type of accident is rare in the area.
The 2024 Paris Olympics committee tweeted a picture of Douady, writing: ‘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.’
In a post of their Facebook page, her climbing club put out a message as well, writing: ‘Luce, this girl, this young woman full of energy, passions, talents! A beautiful person! She left the way she lived in crunch life!
‘Now it’s her family, friends we think. We share the immense emptiness, the pain, the pain… Be strong and strong for her memory! Forever forever, Luce!’
SOURCED FROM DAILY MAIL UK