by Liz Bandini
The first female rock climber to scale El Capitan’s Dawn Wall died tragically over the weekend when she lost her grip and fell, FoxNews.com reported.
Susan Dunklee, 70, died after attempting the 24-mile climb up El Capitan.
Dunklee reportedly took the jump of a lifetime in December 2018, climbing El Capitan’s Dawn Wall. Despite having unsuccessfully attempted the climb countless times, she was reportedly excited about the new adventure.
“She is one of the nicest, most delightful people you’ll ever meet,” Dawn Fox, her friend and fellow rock climber, told Fox News in December. “She just had such joy for life.”
Fox told FoxNews.com she was “shocked” when Dunklee took to the hill in Yosemite National Park. Fox and Dunklee worked on big climber climbs, including Yosemite’s High Sierra wall.
“I was right behind her and cried my eyes out,” Fox said. “It seemed like it was the ultimate test. I hope nobody does it, but she did it!”
Dunklee and her fellow climbers were working on Dawn Wall in December, and were hoping to finish the climb by New Year’s Eve. The grueling climb is more than 4,000 vertical feet of granite.
However, despite Dunklee’s spirit, the journey didn’t go as planned. Her cause of death hasn’t been determined.
According to the New York Times, El Capitan is a gigantic rock formation that rises more than 3,000 feet above Yosemite Valley, making it the third-tallest rock formation in the world. The structure consists of massive, straight layers of rock that support a wide flow of tunnels and panels that let climbers climb and scale the walls.