Brad Gobright, a world-renowned rock climber known for his free solo ascents, fell to his death Wednesday while rappelling off a mountain in Mexico. The California native was 31 years old.
Together with Aidan Jacobson (pictured below inside an ambulance after the accident), Gobright had summited the 15-pitch El Sendero Luminoso route in El Potrero Chico, Nuevo León, Mexico. According to Rock and Ice, the two were simul-rappelling downward when both fell — Jacobson just 30 feet onto a ledge, Gobright some 1,000 feet to his death.
Gobright’s previous climbs included a free ascent with partner Alex Honnold of the El Niño route on Yosemite National Park. Honnold reacted to the “crushing” loss of a “warm, kind soul” on Thursday, calling his friend a “real gem of a man” on Instagram.
“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,” Honnold posted. “I’m just sad for Brad and his family.”
Gobright also made headlines in 2017 when he and Jim Reynolds set a speed record on one of the most dangerous parts of El Capitan—the Nose.
“Thinking we could try for the record seemed crazy at first,” Gobright told the San Francisco Chronicle afterward. “It was this really big, big goal that seemed kind of out of reach. I think that’s why we wanted to do it.”
Honnold’s full tribute reads:
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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…