Brad Gobright, 31, a record-breaking climber has died after falling 600-feet from the El Sendero Luminoso mountain at El Potrero Chico, Mexico on Wednesday while climbing with climbing partner Aiden Jacobson, 26.
The night before his death, Gobright had posted to Instagram asking whether anyone wanted to join him, Jacobson, another climber from Phoenix, answered the post, and the pair met up the next morning, meaning they both met each other for the first time before Gobright’s death.
During the climb of the very steep mountain, Gobright and Jacobson used a 260ft rope to simul-rappel down the side of the mountain after they reached the peak, according to Outside. This climbing technique is where two climbers, using opposite ends of the same rope, descend down the side of a mountain while the rope is rigged to an anchor, and each climber acts as a counterweight to the other.
In this technique, If one stops weighting the rope, it could cause the other to fall.
Gobright and Jacobson did not tie stopper knots in the ends of their ropes because it could cause the ropes to get stuck and as they both descended, they misjudged the length of rope they had on either side – with Gobright having less than he thought.
When the rope had reached its end, since they hadn’t tied the knots it slipped out of his rappel device, causing him to fall 600-feet but his climbing partner Jacobson’s fall was broken by bush, injuring his ankle.
Jacobson speaking to Outdoor said: ‘I asked if we were good and he said “yes, we can untangle the rope on the way down. We didn’t tie knots in them either … 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.’
‘It was basically a blur. I screamed, he screamed. I went through some vegetation, and then all I remember is seeing is his blue Gramicci shirt bounce over the edge,’ Jacobson told the publication.
Costa Rican climber, Gino Negrinni, who was on the mountain at the time said he saw the climbers drop to the fifth pitch and went down to help Jacobson.
The rope was also on the fifth pitch but Gobright was not and it was assumed he continued falling down to an area known as the Skull Ampitheatre.
‘I arrived with Brad in Potrero at 3:40 in the afternoon and Brad just dropped his bag, and fifteen minutes later went and free soloed Yankee Clipper,’ Joel Garcia, the man who picked Gobright at the Mexican irport few days earlier told Rock & Ice.
Gobright’s many achievements as a climber include;
1. He had been climbing since he was seven years old and is among the few who have climbed the Salathé Wall free in a single day.
2. Gobright and climbing partner Jim Reynolds raced up the nearly 90-degree, 2,900-foot precipice in just two hours and 19 minutes.
3. In October 2017 he set a speed record for ascending the Nose route of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
4. In June 2015 he made the first free ascent of The Heart Route with Mason Earle.
5. He climbed the Zodiac, The Nose and Lurking Fear in less than 24 hours in 2016.