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If you’ve seen this year’s Oscar-winning doc Free Solo, you’ll appreciate the life-and-death gamble that climbing can be. That was put in sharp focus this week by the news that world-renowned American climber Brad Gobright died on Wednesday attempting to descend a cliff face.
Alex Honnold, who in the film became the first person to complete a ‘free solo’ (i.e. climbing without ropes of protection) ascent of Yosemite rock face El Capitan, led tributes to the 31-year-old Gobright in an Instagram post.
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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,” 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”
Gobright also appeared in climbing films, including the short Safety Third, which focused on his gutsy free solo endeavors, and the 55-minute film The Nose Speed Record, which chronicled Honnold and fellow climber Tommy Caldwell attempting to break a record speed climb of the 3,000-foot Nose of El Capitan set by Gobright and Jim Reynolds.
According to reports, on Wednesday (November 27) Gobright was attempting to descend a cliff in El Potrero Chico in northern Mexico. He was not free soloing at the time, instead he was abseiling using ropes. His companion climber, 26-year-old Aidan Jacobson, was also injured in the accident but survived.
Jacobson told the website Outside, “It was basically a blur…He screamed. I screamed. I went through some vegetation, and then all I remember is seeing his blue Gramicci shirt bounce over the edge.”
Here’s Honnold Instagram post:
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