Brad Parker dies after the veteran rock climber proposed to his girlfriend on a mountaintop at Yosemite National Park.
According to Examiner, after climbing Cathedral Peak together in Yosemite, Parker asked the love of his life to marry him. She accepted. A few hours later, he was dead after falling off the rocks he had climbed many times in the past.
Brad Parker told his father it was “the happiest day of his life.” Parker’s girlfriend, Janinee Dial, separated from Parker later that afternoon when he headed off by himself to climb nearby Matthes Crest. The ridge is about three miles from Cathedral Peak and friends say Parker had climbed there on several occasions.
Parker was climbing along with without ropes on an established route when other climbers witnessed him fall about 5:45 p.m., Yosemite National Park Ranger Kari Cobb said.
Jerry Dodrill, who knew Parker, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
“I have no idea what happened on that climb. It blows me away about what happened … I keep replaying what might have happened on what was supposed to be the best day of his life. I can visualize where he fell and it makes all of this even harder to accept.”
The news that Brad Parker dies from a climbing death took many people by surprise. Yosemite park rangers found Parker dead via helicopter on Sunday. Parker’s death was the second climbing death in Yosemite National Park this year, the typical average annually, Cobb said.
A resident of Sebastopol, California, Parker appeared on a cover of California Climber magazine in 2012. He also worked as a yoga instructor and was an avid surfer and mountain biker. He also enjoyed backpacking and fly fishing trips in the Sierra Nevada with his father and brother, Mat.
Bill Parker, the rock climber’s father, said he thinks fatigue from the climb up Cathedral Peak and the run his son made to Matthes Crest may have been a factor in the fall.
Bill Parker struggled for words:
“We’re all so stunned … What happened is so unbelievable.”
Dodrill described Brad Parker as a very outgoing person who usually greeted people, even strangers, with not only a big smile, but a big hug as well.
“He could just interact in different circles very fluidly … No matter how bad it seems things were, he always made the day seem brighter.”
As Brad Parker dies, there were 150 people who attended an impromptu vigil for him on Monday night in Sebastopol, Dodrill said. And the climber’s father said some family and friends planned to hike to the Cathedral Peak area Tuesday. “It’s the only closure we’re able to get,” Bill Parker said.