Alpinist is sad to report that Brad Gobright died in a rappelling accident in El Potrero Chico, Mexico, yesterday, November 27.
Rock and Ice and other sources reported that the 31-year-old Californian was simul-rappelling on the seventh pitch of El Sendero Luminoso, a 15-pitch 5.12+. His partner survived with injuries. A story for Outside Online by Andrew Bisharat includes an interview with Gobright’s partner and can be found here.
Gobright was a highly accomplished free-soloist and big wall climber. In 2017 he and Jim Reynolds set the fastest time on the Nose of El Capitan at 2 hours, 19 minutes, 44 seconds, which was then famously bested in 2018 by Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell (1:58:07). Gobright also free climbed El Capitan by various routes, completing a few of the approximately 30-pitch 5.13 testpieces in a day. He was one of the few climbers in the world who rivaled Honnold’s ability to climb huge, difficult cliffs without a rope and was known to have a goofy sense of humor. On Thanksgiving Day, November 28, Instagram was flooded with posts from climbers around the world grieving his loss.
“I’m just sad for Brad and his family. And for all of us who were so positively affected by his life,” Honnold posted. “So crushing. 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. I guess there’s nothing really to say. I’m sad. The climbing world lost a true light. Rest in peace.”
Alpinist will follow up with an obituary at a later date.