Record-breaking US mountain climber Brad Gobright, 31, falls 600 feet to his death while attempting to descend rock face in Mexico
Veteran climber Brad Gobright has died during a rappelling accident on November 27, Outside Magazine confirmed. The 31-year-old fell 600 feet to his death in El Potrero Chico, a national park in Mexico after he failed to tie a knot at the end of his rope that led him to fall off. He had been simul-rappelling with another climber Aiden Jacobson, 26.
Simul-rappelling is known to save time during climbs but is also known to increase the risk of an accident. Simul-rappelling or simultaneous rappelling involves two climbers descending one rope at the same time. Sometimes two ropes are tied together and one climber's weight is meant to counterbalance the other. It is an advanced method.
Gobright was one of North America’s top climbers and had once held the speed record on The Nose with Jim Reynolds. He was a highly accomplished free-soloist and big wall climber.
Gobright and his partner for the climb had met each other the same morning after Gobright had put out a post on Instagram asking if anyone wanted to join the 2500 foot climb through the El Sendero Luminoso route. Jacobson had responded positively. He had earlier been traveling with a group of 15 Southern California climbers to El Potrero Chico and was guiding Julie Anne Baxter. The two had climbed a sports climb called Space Boyz, approximately 1000 feet tall.
Baxter told the Magazine that he did everything by the book when the two climbed. "He was trying really hard to teach me safe multi-pitch techniques and went out of his way to keep me safe," she said.
Jacobson and Gobright chose not to tie the knot at the end of the rope. Most climbers do it to avoid the rope getting stuck. "Since it was such a short rap, we figured we’d be fine with an 80-meter rope. I asked if we were good, and he said, ‘Yes, we can untangle the rope on the way down,’” Jacobson said, "We didn’t tie knots in the rope, either. We started rappeling. 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."
They had been approximately 30 to feet above the ledge, according to him, and he fell into some bushes that broke his fall. "It was basically a blur,” Jacobson said, “He screamed. I screamed. I went through some vegetation, and then all I remember is seeing his blue Gramicci shirt bounce over the edge…” Jacobson injured his ankle in the fall.