Climber proposes to girlfriend before falling to death at Yosemite

2:50 p.m. on August 19, 2014 (EDT)
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8:31 p.m. on September 14, 2014 (EDT)
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This weekend while climbing in the Sierra, this accident came up. It appears that there are some things about the news reports that are a bit fishy and "romanticized". At dinner, one of the women climbers in the group turns out to have talked to the "fiancee" in the story within a short time after the accident happened. The fiancee's story differs greatly from the media version. Yes, they climbed Cathedral together. But the exchange on the summit was about how great the day was and how it was the greatest day in each of their lives - no mention of any proposal or declaration of mutual affection, much less love. The fiancee was indeed very shaken up by the death of her boyfriend.

The man apparently set off to do the traverse of Matthes Crest without eating lunch and without water. A group of climbers he encountered at the high point of the crest reported that he had mentioned that he was tired and thirsty, and asked if they were going to rappel from the summit. Their intention, however, was to complete the traverse of the crest to the far end and descend there. When they headed on, they saw him start to downclimb, then fall. The suspicion was that he was dehydrated, low on energy, and thoroughly exhausted, hence showing poor judgment.

Since these reports were second hand, it is hard to tell the truth, and the truth may never be known. The only thing that seems to be clear is that the media reporting, while romantic, is incorrect and/or incomplete.

February 22, 2020
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