31-year-old Californian climber Brad Gobright has died in an accident while descending on the classic multipitch El Sendero Luminoso on El Toro in El Potrero Chico, Mexico. Gobright was known for his audacious free solo ascents - including Hairstyles and Attitudes 5.12b/c on the Bastille in Eldorado Canyon and his multiple free solos of the Rostrum in Yosemite - in addition to his many record-breaking speed ascents of big wall climbs.
In 2016, Gobright teamed up with Scott Bennett to complete a triple El Capitan link-up of Zodiac, The Nose and Lurking Fear in a day, finishing in 23 hours and 10 minutes. The following year, Gobright set a new Nose speed record of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 44 seconds alongside Jim Reynolds, which was eventually broken by Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell in 2018.
On harder Yosemite lines, Gobright was equally capable - and fast. With Mason Earle, Gobright established Heart Route (VI 5.13b V10), freeing all but the V10 dyno pitch. In 2018, he freed El Corazon in just 19 hours. This spring, Gobright freed the Muir Wall via The Shaft in 17.5 hours. A few months later, he paired up with Alex Honnold to make the second free ascent of El Niño (5.13c/8a+) via a three-pitch extension called Pineapple Express.
In 2018, Gobright made the fourth ascent of one of Indian Creek's hardest routes, Carbondale Short Bus (5.14- R).
Tributes to Gobright have been shared widely on social media by his climbing partners and friends. Alex Honnold wrote on Instagram:
'I'm so sorry to hear that @bradgobright just died in a climbing accident. He was such a warm, kind soul - one of a handful of partners that I always loved spending a day with. I suppose there's something to be said about being safe out there and the inherent risks in climbing but I don't really care about that right now. I'm just sad for Brad and his family. And for all of us who were so positively affected by his life. 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...'