Veteran rock climber Brad Parker died just a few hours after proposing to his girlfriend Jainee Dial during a separate climb. Parker's death happened when he was climbing alone on Saturday in the Tuolumne Meadows area of the Yosemite National Park.
The Press Democrat shares that Brad Parker died the same day he had proposed to Dial at the summit of Cathedral Peak. Parker had apparently called his father shortly after the proposal to say that it was the happiest day of his life, and then Parker and Dial went their separate ways as he tackled the Matthes Crest. Other climbers saw Parker as he fell from the ridge around 5:45 p.m. and of course they immediately contacted park rangers for help.
Reports indicate that Parker was climbing without ropes and by himself, but the traverse where he fell is not typically considered a technically difficult route as a whole. Park rangers immediately hiked in to where Parker had fallen, and they stayed with his body overnight. Unfortunately when rangers found Parker, it was too late in the evening to bring in a helicopter. Parker's body was brought out Sunday morning.
Those who knew Parker say that he was all about spirituality and fitness. He was a practictioner of deep tissue massage, a yoga instructor, a mountain biker and a surfer in addition to being an experienced climber. It is clear that he was well-loved and respected, and that his sudden passing is heartbreaking for those who knew him.
As KSBW notes, Parker appeared on the cover of California Climber magazine back in 2012. He seems to have been extremely close to his family, and he loved fly fishing and backpacking. His father, Bill Parker, says that they believe fatigue may have been a factor that led to the incident where Brad Parker died.
Services will be held Saturday in Sebastapol, and some local surfers will do a "paddle out" at Ives Park in Sebastapol in his honor. Some of Parker's ashes will be spread in the area of the Tuolumne Meadows. Some of the other ashes will be spread in the ocean around Kauai, where his parents now live, and others will be spread in the Pacific Ocean by the coast of Sonoma. In addition, Brad's father and some friends and family plan to hike to the Cathedral Peak area to get some closure.
Parker's is not the only Yellowstone climber fall to garner headlines this year, but his story is certainly one of the most heartbreaking. As difficult as it is for those who knew him to hear the news that Brad Parker died, it seems clear that he died doing exactly what he loved and embraced most in life.
[Image via Daily Mail]