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Veteran Rock Climber Dies in Yosemite Park Fall After Proposing to Girlfriend

Updated: Thursday, August 21 2014, 09:12 AM CDT
EBASTOPOL, Calif. (AP) — A veteran Northern California rock climber
died in a fall in Yosemite National Park, just hours after proposing to
his girlfriend during another climb, authorities said.

Brad Parker’s girlfriend, Jainee Dial, had accepted his marriage
proposal Saturday after the couple reached the top of Cathedral Peak.
His father, Bill Parker, said his son told him it that was “the happiest
day of his life,” the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported Tuesday.

Later in the day, the couple separated as Brad Parker headed off by
himself to climb nearby Matthes Crest, a ridge of upturned rock about 3
miles from Cathedral Peak.

Then tragedy struck. Other climbers witnessed Parker fall about 5:45
p.m., Yosemite Park Ranger Kari Cobb said. Parker, 36, went climbing
alone and without ropes and fell on an established route, Cobb said.

Park rangers hiked in and located Parker’s body, remaining with it
overnight before a helicopter retrieved it the next day, Cobb said.

Parker’s death was the second climbing death in Yosemite 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,

Jerry Dodrill, 41, a longtime friend and photographer who has taken
pictures of Parker on his climbs, said Tuesday that Parker has climbed
Matthes Crest with relative ease on several occasions.

Dodrill said he and Parker were scheduled to climb on the High Sierra
this weekend. Instead, Dodrill will be attending a memorial for his
friend Saturday.

“I have no idea what happened on that climb. It blows me away about
what happened,” Dodrill said. “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.”

Parker’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.

“We’re all so stunned,” Bill Parker said. “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,” Dodrill
said. “No matter how bad it seems things were, he always made the day
seem brighter.”

About 150 people attended an impromptu vigil for Parker 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.

Veteran Rock Climber Dies in Yosemite Park Fall After Proposing to Girlfriend

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