Brad Gobright, renowned US rock climber, dies after fall in Mexico

The American was abseiling in El Potrero Chico near Monterrey when he plunged about 300m to his death

One of the world’s most renowned rock climbers, the American Brad Gobright, has died after falling off a mountain in Mexico.

The fall occurred on Wednesday on an almost sheer face known as El Sendero Luminoso on the El Toro mountain in the El Portrero Chico area near the northern city of Monterrey, civil defense officials said.

Gobright, who was from California, fell about 300 metres (1,000ft), the officials said.

The publication Rock and Ice described Gobright, 31, a native of Orange County, as “one of the most accomplished free solo climbers in the world” and famed for setting a speed record for climbing the Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite national park in California in 2017.

El Sendero Luminoso face on El Ptrero Chico in Mexico where Brad Gobright fell to his death.
El Sendero Luminoso face on El Ptrero Chico in Mexico where Brad Gobright fell to his death. Photograph: Wikipedia

Rock and Ice said Gobright was climbing with another American, Aidan Jacobson, and that they were on their way down after completing the climb of the extremely testing face which is rated as a 5.12 in American grades, 7c in European and E5 in Britain.

The pair were abseiling down the face together on the same rope, an advanced technique known as simul-rappelling, when the accident happened, Jacobson was quoted as saying.

“Brad set up the rope for a short rappel and didn’t use the middle point,” he said in a message sent to another American climber, Ryan Borys. “I tried to pull more rope on Brads [sic] side but he said he was fine. We started simul rapping and Brad rapped off his rope.”

Alex Honnold, the world’s leading free climber and who features in the Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo, paid tribute to Gobright on Instagram, describing him as a “gem of a man”.

“He was such a warm, kind soul - one of a handful of partners that I always loved spending a day with,” Honnold wrote. “I suppose there’s something to be said about being safe out there and the inherent risks in climbing but I don’t really care about that right now. I’m just sad for Brad and his family. And for all of us who were so positively affected by his life. So crushing. Brad was a real gem of a man.

View this post on Instagram

I’m so sorry to hear that @bradgobright just died in a climbing accident. He was such a warm, kind soul - one of a handful of partners that I always loved spending a day with. I suppose there’s something to be said about being safe out there and the inherent risks in climbing but I don’t really care about that right now. I’m just sad for Brad and his family. And for all of us who were so positively affected by his life. So crushing. Brad was a real gem of a man. For all his strengths and weaknesses (like his insanely strong fingers, or living out of a Honda Civic...) at the core he was just a good guy. I guess there’s nothing really to say. I’m sad. The climbing world lost a true light. Rest in peace...

A post shared by Alex Honnold (@alexhonnold) on

The civil defense office described the area as “inaccessible”.

In a statement, the office said: “We extend our sympathies and support to the rock climbing community.”

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

Contributor

Martin Farrer and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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