Brad Gobright: World-famous free solo climber falls 1,000ft to his death

Samuel Osborne
Brad Gobright was abseiling down El Potrero Chico peak in Mexico: Brad Gobright

A world-famous free solo climber has died after falling 1,000ft during a climb in Mexico.

Brad Gobright was abseiling down an almost sheer rock face, known as Sendero Luminoso, on the El Potrero Chico peak near the northern city of Monterrey on Wednesday.

His climbing partner, Aidan Jacobson, fell a shorter distance and was treated for injuries to his ankle.

Abseiling accidents are considered to be the most common form of fatalities in the sport.

The publication Rock And Ice described Gobright, 31, from Orange County, California, as “one of the most accomplished free solo climbers in the world”.

The pair were abseiling down the cliff face together using a technique known as simul-rappelling – where two climbers descend on opposite strands of the same anchored rope – when the pair fell.

“We started rapping,” Mr Jacobson told the website Outside, using the American term for abseiling. “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.”

Mr Jacobson said he crashed through a bush, which softened his fall, before hitting a ledge. Gobright fell to his death.

“It was basically a blur,” Mr 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.”

Alex Honnold, who features in Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo, shared a tribute to Gobright on Instagram.

“He was such a warm, kind soul – one of a handful of partners that I always loved spending a day with,” he wrote.

“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.”

The Nuevo Leon state civil-defence office described the area as “inaccessible.”

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

Gobright’s best-known solo climb was a notoriously difficult route known as Hairstyles and Attitudes on the Bastille in Eldorado Canyon, Colorado, according to Rock and Ice.

He also broke the speed record for the Nose, a 3,000ft-route on El Capitan Yosemite, by conquering the climb in two hours, 19 minutes and 44 seconds. The record was later broken by Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell in 2018.