A world-renowned Californian free solo climber has died attempting to descend the side of a cliff in northern Mexico.
31-year-old Brad Gobright, from Orange County, fell around 1,000 ft to his death in El Potrero Chico. His climbing partner Aidan Jacobson, 26, also fell but survived with injuries.
Gobright is famous for free soloing, but the pair were rappelling at the time. Rappelling accidents are believed to be the most common cause of fatalities in the sport.
The two men were simul-rappelling the seventh pitch on El Sendero Luminoso, a 15-pitch 5.12+ multi-pitch on El Toro. Simul-rappelling is a technique where two climbers descend opposite strands of an anchored rope, with their bodies acting as counterweights to each other.
“We started rapping,” Mr. Jacobson told the Outside website. “I was a bit above him. I was on the left. He was on the right. Then all of a sudden, I felt a pop, and we started dropping.”
Jacobson hit a bush, breaking his fall, before landing on a ledge. Gobright fell to his death.
“It was basically a blur,” Mr Jacobson added. “He screamed. I screamed. I went through some vegetation, and then all I remember is seeing his blue Gramicci shirt bounce over the edge.”
Gobright once held the coveted speed record on the Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite. Tributes have poured in from across the climbing community.