25-Year-Old N.Y. Woman Dies After Falling 50 Feet While Rock Climbing: 'A Light to Everyone'
New York State Police said Lauren Sobel was setting protection gear in the rocks when she lost her grip and fell close to 50 feet
A 25-year-old woman who was an avid climber died doing the very thing she loved after she fell nearly 50 feet while rock climbing in Ulster County, New York.
Lauren Sobel was confirmed dead on Sunday afternoon following the tragic incident in the area of the Trapps Trailhead at the Mohonk Mountain Preserve in Gardiner, according to a press release from the New York State Police.
Officials said the tragedy unfolded as Sobel was serving as the lead climber in a group of three.
The Brooklyn resident was approximately 70 feet up the rock, setting protection gear in the rocks when she lost her grip and fell approximately 50 feet to her death, according to the New York State Police.
Authorities arrived at the scene around 3:30 p.m., where they pronounced Sobel dead.
In the wake of her death, Sobel's family spoke out and expressed their devastation, while also remembering the woman as "a bright, brave, and kind person."
Sobel's older sister Ellie Sobel Whitcher confirmed her death in a post on Facebook, writing, "She was an incredibly amazing, bright, brave, and kind person who loved and was loved by many during her 25 years on earth. She will always be remembered."
Whitcher noted that Sobel was a Lead Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at the Adaptive Climbing Group of New York (ACG), an organization that provides accessible climbing to people of all ages with physical disabilities.
"Helping others, people with disabilities, and especially veterans, to inclusively participate in climbing was very rewarding for Lauren. We are grateful that at the end of her life, she was pursuing her passion," she continued.
In the comments section, loved ones also paid tribute to Sobel.
"In the limited experience I had with Lauren, she was a force. She was so funny and yet so intimidatingly intelligent at the same time," wrote one user. "She will always be in my memories as one of the most truly vibrant human beings I have ever know."
"Lauren was beautiful, extremely smart, and had a great sense of humor!" wrote someone else, while another added, "I remember your sister being so silly and incredibly smart growing up... Your sister was and will continue to be a role model for many."
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Outside of her Brooklyn apartment, Sobel's friends echoed that praise and said the climber was always giving back and enjoyed helping others, according to WCBS.
"Lauren was a light to everyone who knew her. She was really just the brightest person in the room," friend Tom O’Connell told the outlet. "Everyone gravitated toward her, and anyone who knew her loved her."
In addition to ACG, O'Connell told WBCS Sobel helped with Crux Climbing, a group focused on providing access to rock climbing for the LGBTQ community.
Following her death, ACG announced it would host a virtual session on Tuesday for anyone impacted by Sobel's death with help from the Climbers Grief Fund of The American Alpine Club.
"I have no words at the moment," Whitcher wrote on Facebook beside ACG's post, "but I’m hoping this will help others, like myself, who are greatly struggling with my Sister’s death."