Free solo climber Brad Gobright died on Wednesday at the age of 31 following an accident in El Potrero Chico, Mexico. The Californian rock climber was reportedly killed while descending the famous climb El Sendero Luminoso.
Rock and Ice reports that a fellow climber, Joel Heriberto Guaddarrama Garcia, learned from a Costa Rican witness named Gino that Brad and his partner Aiden Jacobson, 26, were rappelling the El Sendero Luminoso on the front side of the El Toro formation at about 3:40 p.m. on Wednesday when they both fell to a ledge.
According to the witness, Gobright and Jacobson were using an 80-meter rope without having tied knots at the end of the ropes. Gobright’s partner Jacobsen survived the fall with no serious injuries, but Gobright bounced off a ledge and fell farther down towards the bottom to a lower ledge and died.
Many rock climbers commented on social media about the claims that the accident was caused by a failure to tie knots at the end of the ropes while rappelling.
Such an unnecessary tragedy, this stuff pisses me off. Failing to tie knots at the end of your ropes when rappelling. It takes literally 5 seconds. This guy was a badass and inspiration, and now he's tragically gone, from a careless mistake.https://t.co/5uasD6Dl2T
— Accidental FIRE (@Accidental_Fire) November 28, 2019
Another pointless tragedy that could probably have been avoided. Another example of the lion tamer turning his back once too often.https://t.co/hAKRpz7Y49
— Andy Kirkpatrick (@psychovertical) November 28, 2019
Another talented climber sadly dies. Tragic that it was an abseiling accident which should be the safest part of the climb. https://t.co/qwL9H29Ka2
— Mike Tinnion (@miketinnion) November 28, 2019
Tributes pour in on social media
Friends and colleagues, including climbing legend Alex Honnold, have been paying tribute to Gobright on Twitter and Instagram:
Rock and Ice is reporting that Brad Gobright has died in an accident in El Potrero Chico, Mexico. They are reporting that Gobright rappelled off the end of his rope this afternoon. Link to the rockandice story in… https://t.co/K2XckV3z8C
— CDNclimbingnews (@CDNclimbingnews) November 28, 2019
The climbing world lost a true light. Rest in peace… Brad Gobright https://t.co/L9Q8VOcxZz
— Daniel Mastria (@MastriaDaniele) November 28, 2019
— Andy Day (@kiell) November 28, 2019
— David Asscherick (@dasscherick) November 28, 2019
Heartbreaking — I actually met Brad Gobright this past spring while climbing in Red Rock. I was struggling up a 10b on top rope yet he was non-judgmental and super encouraging. https://t.co/iWXNTKlVB5
— Rio Lacanlale (@riolacanlale) November 28, 2019
31-year-old Californian climber Brad Gobright has died in an accident while descending on the multipitch El Sendero Luminoso in El Potrero Chico, Mexico. Gobright was known for his bold free solo ascents and record-breaking speed ascents of big walls.https://t.co/cq5Htc9Lum
— UKClimbing (@UKClimbing) November 28, 2019
I’m sad to learn that Brad Gobright died in a rappelling accident. Take care you yourselves today. https://t.co/TGegDoneWA
— Phil Powers (@jhmgphil) November 28, 2019
Who was Brad Gobright?
Gobright was a highly talented free solo climber known for his daring free solo ascents and record-breaking speed ascents.
He soloed Hairstyles and Attitudes on the Bastille, Eldorado Canyon, Colorado, and the Rostrum in Yosemite, multiple times.
He is also known for his speed record on The Nose of Yosemite’s El Capitan with partner Jim Reynolds in October 2017. They ascended to the peak of the 3,000-foot route in 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 44 seconds. The record was broken in 2018 by Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell.
In 2016, Gobright and Scott Bennett climbed three El Capitan routes — Zodiac, The Nose, and Lurking Fear — in 23 hours 10 minutes, and on May 8, 2019, he completed a free ascent of the Muir Wall via The Shaft in 17.5 hours.
In June 2019, he and Alex Honnold teamed up to make the second completely free ascent of El Cap’s Pineapple Express variation of the El Niño route.