The British couple hit by a 1,300-ton “sheet” of granite at Yosemite National Park on Thursday were on a dream holiday to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.
Experienced climbers Andrew Foster, 32, and wife Lucy, 28, from Cardiff, Wales, were at the end of a three-week vacation at the national park when disaster struck at the foot of El Capitan.
The U.S. National Park Service described seven rockfalls happening over a four-hour period from the southeast face of El Capitan, releasing approximately 1,300 tons of rock. Andrew was later found dead at the foot of the monolith by Yosemite park rangers and a search and rescue unit, while Lucy was airlifted to a local hospital with a fractured skull, according to KSEE24 News.
In a haunting social media record of their trip to Yosemite, the Fosters describe themselves as “a young married couple that enjoy nothing more than getting out and having adventures in the mountains together” on a blog titled The Adventures and Thoughts of Andrew & Lucy Foster.
The couple wrote, “We are not extreme athletes and describe ourselves simply as passionate weekend warriors. While our blog is just a log of what we have done we do hope that it will inspire other people to get out and experience the natural world.”
In one post, Andy is shown with a damaged hand after he “took a wiper off serenity crack.” He bravely added, “Pride was more damaged than my hands or shoes.”
Another post reveals they attempted to climb up the Washington Column but decided to turn back at the “half way ledge” because the face was overloaded with other climbers. “There loads of other teams so decide to bail rather than spend hours waiting in line,” reads the post.
Tragically, the feeds end with a picture of a tired but happy Andrew Foster at the foot of a climb, alongside the chilling words “Yosemite has broken Andy. Time for a rest.”
While Yosemite records about 80 rockfalls per year, Foster’s death is the first rockfall-related fatality in the park for 18 years. Overall, there have now been 16 fatalities and more than 100 injuries from rockfalls since park records began in 1857.
“It is with much sadness that we mourn the loss of our dear friend and colleague Andrew Foster, who was killed in a tragic accident in Yosemite,” reads a statement from Alex Beasley, U.K. manager for clothing company Patagonia.
“Andy was a sales representative working in our UK team and had been with the business for five years. He was a much-loved member of our team and a passionate climber, mountaineer and skier who loved being in the outdoors. Our thoughts and condolences are with his wife Lucy and their families. We offer them our deepest sympathies.”