This Climber Proposed To His Girlfriend – But Just Hours Later The Ultimate Tragedy Struck

After Brad Parker proposed to his girlfriend, and she accepted, he was on top of the world. The 36-year-old even said that he had never been happier. But just a few hours after the exciting moment, a terrible and unexpected event changed everything.

Parker grew up in Santa Rosa, California and was living in Sebastopol. He attended Montgomery High School and then studied at Cal Poly university in San Luis Obispo. Following his graduation from the institute, he spent a couple of years traveling the globe, including visiting New Zealand and Thailand. The adventurer also worked as a yoga teacher.

The instructor was extremely active and a keen cook who enjoyed cycling, climbing and surfing. In June 2014, he confirmed on Facebook that he was dating Jainee Dial by sharing a photo of them kissing. She is the manager of Wylder Goods, an internet store that sells outdoor products for women.

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Less than two months after announcing their relationship on social media, the couple traveled to Yosemite National Park in California. On August 16, 2014, they hiked up Cathedral Peak, reaching its summit. It was here that Parker asked Dial to marry him.

Yosemite National Park is located within the Sierra Nevada mountains. It has been under government protection since 1864 and is famed for its huge sequoia trees and picturesque waterfalls. The park stretches across 1,200 square miles and is popular among hikers, campers and tourists.

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The park is also considered one of the foremost climbing destinations in the world. However, this means that it’s not entirely uncommon for people to injure themselves or have any number of mishaps while on the rocks there. In fact, of the over 100 accidents that befall climbers there annually, only between 15 and 25 need rescue missions.

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Cathedral Peak is thought to offer one of the best views in the park and is sought-after by many visitors. It takes one hour to reach the summit, which is just big enough for two people to stand on together. And when Parker proposed to Dial at the idyllic spot, she said yes.

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Parker’s father, Bill, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that his son was elated. “This is the happiest day of my life,” the climber apparently said to Dial. But he couldn’t have known that the ultimate tragedy would take place just a few hours later.

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After the proposal, the pair went their individual ways within the park. Parker wanted to climb the Matthes Crest Traverse, a few miles away in the Tuolumne Meadows area. The ridge is described as, “a dramatic fin of rock,” according to BackPacker.com.

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However, the crest is not an especially taxing climb for experienced mountaineers. The website states that its characteristics, “make for ladder-like, easily protected climbing.” So, Parker scaled the rock without any ropes or gear. He was completely on his own.

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Parker was following the recognized route along the crest of granite. But then, somehow, disaster struck. At around 5:45 p.m. local time, park visitors watched on helplessly as the newly-engaged climber fell approximately 300 feet.

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It’s not clear exactly what caused the yoga instructor to lose his grip or footing and plunge from the rock. Park rangers formed a rescue party that traveled down to his location. However, he was declared dead upon their arrival.

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The rangers stayed with Parker until the morning, when a helicopter arrived to transport his body from the park. “We’re all so stunned,” his father, Bill, said. “What happened is so unbelievable.”

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Parker’s dad suggested that he may have accidentally fallen during the climb as he was tired from summiting Cathedral Peak earlier in the day. The 36-year-old’s friend, Jerry Dodrill, who was also his climbing partner, was equally surprised at his fall. He explained that it wasn’t his pal’s first time navigating that spot.

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“Brad was a very, very strong climber. He was fit, and he has climbed this route before, so it is kind of a mystery how it happened,” the photographer told the website SFGate. “In every aspect of life, he’s always landed on his feet, except this time.”

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Another of the climber’s friends, Lindsay Ptucha, called him, “the best human being he could be.” And Parker’s uncle, Kit Kersch, added that his nephew lived a full life despite his untimely death. “He was all about fitness and spirituality,” Kersch told Santa Rosa’s Press Democrat. “He did more in his 36 years than most people do in 75 or 80 years of life.”

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Parker’s death was the second to take place at Yosemite National Park in 2014. Indeed, there are usually one or two fatalities a year, according to Park Ranger Kari Cobb. After the incident, the yoga instructor’s parents, Gayle and Bill, traveled to California from Hawaii. They had had relocated there eight months previously.

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The 36-year-old’s family chose to cremate his body and leave part of his ashes at Yosemite. They also planned to spread his remains along the Pacific Coast near Sonoma. In addition, the climber’s family, as well as a couple of friends, have decided to take the trip to Cathedral Peak in his honor. “It’s the only closure we’re able to get,” Bill explained.

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Friends of the 36-year-old have carried out further outdoor activities as a tribute to him following his death. And to mark the one-year anniversary of his passing, Dial decided to traverse Matthes Crest herself. Parker’s former fiancée, who now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, has continued to climb in the years since. And it’s clear that her connection to him will never leave her.

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“To Brad Parker: You continue to give me life. And what an awful, stinging irony that is,” Dial wrote on Facebook in 2016. “It’s so bittersweet. So big. So brutal. And yet, so precious and true. You not only live on in me but continue to live on in others and give them life. And not only life, but that great consciousness of life that reminds us what truly matters.”

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