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Climber Dies From Fall in the Gunks

A Chilean climber took a fatal 20-foot fall from the Gunks classic Yellow Wall on Saturday.

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Heidi Duartes Wahl, 28, died Saturday after falling on the classic Yellow Wall (5.11c PG13) in the Shawangunks of New York.

 Photo from chileclimbers.cl    Duartes Wahl, from Coyhaique, Chile, was 20 feet up the two-pitch trad route but hadn’t placed any gear when her foot slipped, according to a friend who posted about the accident on gunks.com.

“She hit the ground and her partner immediately went over to her,” her friend wrote. “As far as I know she never regained consciousness.”

She was wearing a helmet.

Duartes Wahl was considered one of the strongest female climbers of Chile. She began sport climbing when she was 19 at Cerro Mackay near Coyhaique, and eventually became proficient in trad, ice and alpine, according to an interview with chileclimbers.cl. She had climbed in Peru and Argentina, and noted her time at the Yosemite-like big-walls of Cochamó in Patagonia as one of her career highlights.

Duartes Wahl had completed a Master’s of Health Science in Chile, studying HIV prevention. She had been pursuing a PhD in Denver when she died.