Rock-climbing friends plummet to their deaths
A PAIR of expert climbers fell 300 metres to their deaths from a granite rock wall in Northern California's Yosemite National Park - the second fatal accident there in a little over a week, authorities said.
A scream was heard as Tim Klein, 42, and Jason Wells, 46, - who were roped together - fatally plunged to the ground from the famous wall known as El Capitan on Saturday morning, according to climbing.com.
"I've rock climbed more pitches with Jason than any other human being. His energy, laughter, and genuine passion for climbing were absolutely infectious. And Tim … After my last trip up El Cap with Tim, I later confided in Jason that Tim was the most Jesus-like man I've ever known," wrote Stefan Griebel on Facebook.
"So true, and also such a great topic for both jokes, laughter and deeper conversations. Both of them, humble and selfless. And yet, my hurt and sadness seems insignificant to that of what their wives and families must be feeling. A horrible loss."
According to the New York Post, the pair had started to climb together while living in San Diego during their college days, friend Wayne Willoughby told climbing.com.
"Tim told me that Jason was the strongest and best partner he ever climbed with," he said.
Klein, a married dad-of-two and Mission Viejo, California native, was a teacher at Antelope Valley Union High School, and had just earned the teacher-of-the-year award there in May.
Wells was married in June 2016 and is survived by his wife and child.
The Colorado native was an investment manager at Granite View Asset Management.
Last week, a hiker fell to his death while climbing the granite cliffs of Half Dome, WTOP reported.
A British climber was killed and his wife badly injured last September when a rockslide from El Capitan rained boulders on their hiking trail.
More than 100 climbing accidents occur in Yosemite every year.
Park rangers are investigating the incident.
This story was originally published in the New York Post and is reprinted with permission.