Death on El Cap (Freeblast) this morning?


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Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 2, 2018 - 12:36pm PT
My wife just texted me this news story. Any confirmation or details? My sincere condolences.


Nor Cal
Jun 2, 2018 - 12:49pm PT
not good, this suckssssssssssss

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Jun 2, 2018 - 01:08pm PT
I can confirm that this happened. Lisa and I were at El Cap this morning hoping to witness the attempt on the Nose speed record. We could see climbers ascending on Sickle Ledge and on Freeblast, and could also see John Long's (birthday) party at Camp 5 with their portaledges. When Alex and Tommy hadn't appeared, and since I hadn't actually walked to the base since moving back from my life in Hawaii more than 7 years ago, we decided to walk up to the base.

Not familiar with the direct route to the base, we wandered toward the SE face but figured we had to go westward and passed by the third class section at the beginning of the Nose. Shortly after, a woman yelled down, telling us that there was a body up there and not to come up but to tell SAR where to go when they arrived.

Then a group of three came down, saying there was a second body above, and I lent them my binos so they could search for their friends who were climbing Freeblast. Diligent search with binos yielded no climbers above now.

Once back at the road, we found that most of the spectators who'd come to watch Alex and Tommy had departed. But one woman said she'd heard a scream followed by a "thud."

Very subdued and saddened, we send sincere condolences to all family and friends.

Edit: Were they simul-climbing for speed? With bolted belays on Freeblast, did something go wrong there to pull the belayer off? Other possibilities?
We will have to await the report from YOSAR.

The time when the El Cap photo above was taken was 8:10 a.m.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Jun 2, 2018 - 01:51pm PT
Saddened by this,
Condolences to the families of the fallen.

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 2, 2018 - 02:35pm PT
Thanks for the update boodawg. Sorry you had to witness that. Much appreciated.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Jun 2, 2018 - 02:54pm PT
Oh God, shock. Worst nightmare when an adventure ends in tragedy. Condolences to the loved ones, family and friends of these two. Gut wrenching.
mike a.

Sport climber
Jun 2, 2018 - 02:57pm PT
Such sad news heart goes out to friends and family!
Tamara Robbins

not a climber, just related...
Jun 2, 2018 - 03:08pm PT
Just heard from Alex.... he and Tommy are fine, as is Largo's crew. Sounds like the climbers were from Boulder but that is hearsay at this point.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 2, 2018 - 03:50pm PT
Two people's parents and loved ones are very sad right now. Rather quirky to have happened on such a hard route, where only experts tread. Sorry to all. Thanks for the low-down Ken.

Social climber
The internet
Jun 2, 2018 - 03:57pm PT
Also rather quirky for both to fall during what I assume was while ascending. I can think of only a couple scenarios on that route. Regards to friends and family.

Jun 2, 2018 - 04:08pm PT
Maybe they were bailing/rapping off the route?

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Jun 2, 2018 - 04:09pm PT
Sad. I offer my sincere condolences to the Family and Friends of the fallen climbers.


Trad climber
On the road!
Jun 2, 2018 - 04:43pm PT
Maybe they were trying a speed ascent, simul-climbing with minimal gear, and the gear pulled? I think many of us are taking the dangers up there a but lightly - be careful folks, place gear , maybe even more gear than you think you need.
I remember that when MIcah Dash and Jose went for an el Cap speed attempt, they fell, and both were left hanging on only one piece of gear, with one biner.

Jun 2, 2018 - 04:53pm PT
Hard to believe it would be a simul climb fall, given the presence of fixed anchors...

Gym climber
Great White North
Jun 2, 2018 - 05:24pm PT
heard from Pete they might have fallen from Mammoth Ledges. F*#k that is high..

Social climber
Jun 2, 2018 - 05:27pm PT
Terrible, terrible news. That's a land of black belt trad climbers up there, could have been any fluke. Tiny strands of cord and diligence keep us alive up there but the walls are high and so many chances for mistakes to happen.

Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
Jun 2, 2018 - 05:30pm PT
Sincere condolences to family and friends of the departed.

Sport climber
Golf Wall, CO
Jun 2, 2018 - 05:43pm PT
Crap! Sad, sad news.

Even experts can make mistakes/lapses in judgement. And you never know when fate will give you the chop.

This is a time to remember to tell those who are important to you, how important they are to you. In case you don't get that chance again.

San Jose, CA
Jun 2, 2018 - 06:07pm PT
The park released their names They are: Jason Wells, age 46, of Boulder, Colorado and Tim Klein, age 42, from Palmdale, California.

Trad climber
New England
Jun 2, 2018 - 06:13pm PT
This is horrible news.
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