Saturday 24 February 2018

British climber crushed to death in Yosemite rock fall was on 'big dream' adventure to celebrate first wedding anniversary

Andrew Foster who has been crushed to death by falling rocks at Yosemite National Park while hiking with his wife, who was also badly hurt.
Andrew Foster who has been crushed to death by falling rocks at Yosemite National Park while hiking with his wife, who was also badly hurt.

Nicola Harley

A British climber has been crushed to death by falling rocks at Yosemite National Park while hiking with his wife as they celebrated their first wedding anniversary.

Andrew Foster, 32, died after more than 1,000 tonnes of rock fell from the face of the El Capitan monolith on Wednesday.

His wife Lucy, 28, remains in a critical condition.

The pair, who live in Cardiff, had been living their "big dream" enjoying their love of climbing  ahead of a year of travelling together.

They were at the end of a three-week trip to Yosemite National Park in California and had saved the most difficult climb until last.

They had been scouting out a route on the iconic rockface El Capitan when the "sheet" of granite fell on them.

In this photo provided by Peter Zabrok, climber Ryan Sheridan who had just reached the top of El Capitan, a 7,569-foot (2,307 meter) formation, when a rock slide let loose below him. (Peter Zabrok via AP)
In this photo provided by Peter Zabrok, climber Ryan Sheridan who had just reached the top of El Capitan, a 7,569-foot (2,307 meter) formation, when a rock slide let loose below him. (Peter Zabrok via AP)

Rangers on the national park beauty spot said the granite, measuring 40 metres by 20 metres, fell from a height of 200 metres while the couple were below and buried them.

Experienced climber Mr Foster, originally from Cheltenham, was killed instantly but rescuers managed to reach his wife and she was airlifted to hospital where she is in a "critical" condition.

One witness, Mike Kane, tweeted that the collapse was "very loud", adding it was a "miracle more (were) not hurt".

Meanwhile, a second rockfall at the site on Thursday left one person injured who was airlifted to hospital.

The couple, who married in August last year, had climbed some of the most difficult rock faces in the UK but wanted to test themselves in the Yosemite National Park.

They told friends it was their "big dream" and described themselves as Yosemite virgins.

They flew to the US on September 11 along with friends who were also experienced climbers.

The day before the tragedy Mr Foster was pictured in the national park looking exhausted and smiling at the camera.

His wife put a chilling caption underneath saying: "Yosemite has broken Andy."

The pair were hit by the falling boulders the next day as they planned the highlight of their holiday.

It was the first climbing fatality in the national park in 18 years.

They had been planning for their climb for months and were writing a detailed blog of their experiences and preparation for it.

Mr Foster had written: "Yosemite is an awesome place and for many climbers is one of the many places to go before you die. Big Walls often scare most UK climbers just due to the size but with the right attitude and a basic understanding of the skill then you’re in with a good chance of bashing out a route that you will remember for the rest of your life."

The couple, who met at Cardiff University, were also keen skiers and Mr Foster proposed while they were on a slope in the French Alps in March 2015.

On their blog they say: "We are a young married couple who enjoy nothing more than getting out and having adventures in the mountains together.

"We are not extreme athletes and describe ourselves simply as passionate weekend warriors.

"We hope to inspire other people to get out and experience the natural world."

Mr Foster was a manager with outdoors equipment and clothing company Patagonia.

A spokeswoman at the company's European headquarters in the Netherlands confirmed their employee Mr Foster had been killed in an accident in America.

The company said it would be making a statement later.

Mrs Foster, from Market Drayton, Shropshire, also worked in the same industry and the pair spent all their spare time in the great outdoors.

The couple practiced for their trip to Yosemite by climbing cliffs in Cornwall and Pembrokeshire.

Mrs Foster had told her friends they were both "Yosemite virgins" but were prepared for the trip and had bought expensive climbing gear.

Telegraph.co.uk

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News