GRENOBLE : Patrick Edlinger, one of the pioneers of free climbing and credited with revolutionising the sport, died on Friday. He was 52. The Frenchman, known as "Le Blond" because of his long blonde hair kept in place by a bandana, made his name as one of the great free climbers in the 1980s, putting up numerous routes, often free-soloing. He gave up high-level climbing in 1995 after a serious fall to run a gite in French Alps.