Remembering a Climber and a Friend

Remembering a Climber and a Friend

“A great soul never dies. it brings us together again and again" – Maya Angelou.

This sentiment perfectly encapsulates the enduring legacy of our dear friend, Elie Diab, within our climbing community. Elie was more than just a climber; he was a source of boundless energy and inspiration. I remember when I first ventured into climbing, he welcomed me with open arms, generously sharing his knowledge and passion for the sport. His carefree spirit and adventurous nature infused every moment with joy and laughter.

One of my most memorable experiences I recall with him was  when he pushed me to compete in the first friendly climbing competition at Urock. At the time, I had never led any route, but he simply said, "Just go for it, clip by clip." While it might not have been the safest advice, it taught me alot about myself and who he is as a person. I also remember when we traveled together to Jordan with no plans whatsoever, we ended up sleeping at the gym and later venturing into the desert for unforgettable experiences. For me personally, the things I experienced with him had big impacts on who I became as a person, and I will always be grateful for it. Elie's adventurous spirit filled every aspect of his life, leaving a profound impact on everyone around him. 

Jean Kreiker, one of his climbing partners writes "Elie Diab played a significant role in introducing me to rock climbing and helping me improve both indoors and outdoors. Having a friend like him, who is also a coach and a brother, has been invaluable in my climbing journey. It's inspiring to reflect on the positive impact he had on my career as a climber". 

Edgard Kazzi also remembers Diab, not just as a climbing partner, but as a source of joy and strength in our community. “Despite his health struggles, Diab's spirit was unwavering. We shared countless adventures, laughter-filled parties, and challenging climbs together. He never missed a gathering, always arriving with his trademark smile and a big basket of chocolates for Christmas and Easter, a gesture that reflected his generous nature. His determination to join us on climbs, despite his health, was a testament to his passion and resilience. His absence leaves a void in our lives, but his memory will forever inspire us to embrace life with kindness, courage, and a generous spirit. Elie, you'll be deeply missed, but your presence will always be felt in our cherished memories.”

Jad Khoury, a friend and climber, recalls how he connected with Diab during the first IFSC sport climbing championship, in Amman Jordan. “The  trip cemented a friendship with Elie, we spent a week there climbing alongside the local community and watching our climbing idols crush the competition routes. It still is one of the most memorable moments I had with Elie.” Elie together with Georges Emil were the first to represent Lebanon in the IFSC competition back in 2011. Georges shares that he first crossed paths with Elie at Gecko Climbing Gym back in 2010, and from the moment they met, there was an instant connection. “Over the years, we shared countless memories together. From our exhilarating first climbing world cup experience in Jordan to witnessing our climbing idols up close, to tackling challenging climbing projects in Amchit and Tannourine El Tahta, every moment was filled with excitement and camaraderie. I have always admired Diab's motivation and enthusiasm pushing his climbing limit higher. Those days spent climbing will forever be etched in my heart, filled with motivation, laughter, and cherished memories.”

I'm sure that like Georges, Jean, Jad, Eddy and myself,  a lot more people from the community have their unique adventure and experience with Elie that they remember and cherish. I´m also sure that those memories will be carried with everyone during every climb, every community gathering and hopefully we, in turn, can bring the same energy to others around us, as Elie did.

From me, Georges, your old friend, from our Climberspace family Jad, Elias and Abdo and all the community, we will make sure that your legacy is never forgotten, will do our best to push climbing in Lebanon and the Middle East forward as you always did, we will make sure to celebrate your memory in every adventure and we will smile, no matter how hard life gets, just like you did. 

Until we meet and climb again our friend, we love you!

photo by Georges Emil
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