American climber falls to his death in Mexico; hiking buddy rescued


Nolan Smythe was resting on ledge that broke off the face of El Gigante, in Chihuahua; Aaron Livingston left suspended from a rope for several hours before rescue

Nolan Smythe. (photo shared by friends and family on a GoFundMe page)

American hiker and base jumper Nolan Smythe. (photo shared by friends and family on a GoFundMe page)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Mexican officials have recovered the body of an American hiker from Utah who fell off a cliff near the Basaseachi falls in Ocampo, Chihuahua.

Nolan Smythe, 26, dropped more than 1,000 feet to his death Friday while scaling the face of El Gigante, the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office said. His body was recovered on Tuesday after a four-day ground search by police and army units with aerial support from the Mexican Air Force and drones from the Civil Protection Office.

Smythe was from Moab, Utah.

Another American, Aaron Livingston, was rescued from the face of the cliff on Saturday while suspended from a rope. Livingston was able to use a satellite phone to call a friend in Toluca, Mexico, who alerted authorities about the accident.

Nolan Smythe. (photo shared by friends and family on a GoFundMe page)

Chihuahua state authorities said the accident was caused by a rock that came off the face of the mountain. A GoFundMe page started by friends to bring the body home to the United States and help his family says that Smythe was taking a rest on a ledge that broke off beneath him and cut his rope.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of AAC member Nolan Smythe, a climber and base jumper who lost his life in an accident on Friday on El Gigante,” the American Alpine Club posted on its Facebook page. “Our community will remember him for his talent, passion, and kindness. Rest in Peace, Nolan.”

Sergio “Tiny” Almada and Jose David Martinez, two hiker buddies of Smythe and Livingston, participated in Livingston’s rescue Saturday night, Mexican authorities said. The rescue lasted four hours and forced the hikers and their friend to stay at the top of the mountain until Sunday morning, Mexican officials said.

Livingston was cared for by paramedics from the Mexican Red Cross and taken to a clinic in Cajurichi, Chihuahua. The hiker was deemed in good health and released without need of hospitalization, Mexican officials said.

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