YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — Officials have identified two climbers who died when they fell from El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
The climbers named Saturday were 46-year-old Jason Wells of Boulder and 42-year-old Tim Klien of Palmdale, California. Klien had family in Colorado.
Rangers received multiple 911 calls that two climbers had fallen while climbing the Freeblast Route.
Climbing.com reports the two men were roped together when they fell 1,000 feet.
Friends Stefan Griebel and Brady Robinson said Wells was a great climber and an even better person.
“He was very kind and very patient. For someone who was as bold and great of an athlete as he was, he was very mellow and warm and unassuming,” Robinson said.
Griebel said he climbed El Capitan with Wells and Klien multiple times. He said both men were skilled, fast and efficient climbers.
He was always impressed by their speed and ability, placing them in an elite group of climbers.
Wells and Klien enjoyed climbing El Capitan twice in one day, an endeavor that took most a few days to complete just once.
“They were just both passionate people that lived every day fully. They were both humble and selfless and always wanted to have fun,” Griebel said.
“They weren’t out there to be famous. They weren’t out there to prove anything to anybody. They weren’t trying to beat records. They just loved it. They just deeply loved it,” Robinson said.
“Those of us who knew the truth knew that he was part of this elite group but he didn’t wear it on his sleeve. He didn’t care about people knowing about it.”
Griebel and Robinson said based on their skill and experience, it’s hard to understand their fall.
While they were on a challenging route up El Capitan, they were on an easy stretch, well within their ability, when the accident happened.
“Jason was not a thrill seeker. He wasn’t reckless. He was an adventure athlete with a skill set that most people can’t even fathom,” Robinson said. “That particular section would have been totally trivial for them so something unusual must have happened for either one of them to fall.”
“Maybe it was a haul bag, maybe it was a loose rock. Maybe something else happened. Maybe it was just a slip. Maybe we will never know for certain,” Griebel said.
Wells worked as an investment manager at Granite View Asset Management and is survived by his wife and child.
The investigation is ongoing and no further details were immediately available.
It was the second fatal incident in Yosemite National Park in a little more than a week.
Last week, a hiker fell to his death while climbing the iconic granite cliffs of Half Dome in rainy conditions.