Fred Zalokar Reno NV marathoner and avid mountain climber falls 800ft to his death during solo hike at Yosemite National Park.
An accomplished runner and mountain climber was found dead in Yosemite National Park days after he went missing, officials said. While officials declined to give an official cause of death, a close friend said the experienced hiker fell to his death after misjudging a difficult move.
The body of Fred Zalokar, 61, was recovered Tuesday near the peak of California’s 11,527-foot Mount Clark, where he went on a hike Saturday using an off-trail route only to never return, National Park Service officials said in a Facebook release.
‘This incident remains under investigation,’ park officials said. ‘No additional information is available. Our condolences to his family and friends.’
Zalokar, of Reno, Nevada, was reported missing late Sunday after failing to return to Yosemite Valley from his solo trip as planned. Park officials did not indicate how he died, but a friend told the New York Times Thursday he had fallen.
During an interview with CBS47, Crom said Zalokar was likely navigating a difficult manoeuver that would have required the solo climber using a rope along a vertical face only ‘to go for it,’ anyway. The miscalculation led to the experienced mountain climber falling 800ft to his death.
Killed doing the thing he loved the most
‘Fred would be the one to climb up on the technical part and throw a rope down to the rest of us,’ Sean Crom told of Zalokar, whom he met while training for a 100-mile ultramarathon decades earlier. ‘He was very adventurous. He’d kind of pick a goal and go after it hard.’
Crom said the pair had climbed mountains together worldwide. Zalokar’s website says he had attempted six of the Seven Summits — the highest peak on each continent — and summited five.
‘He didn’t make it up Mount Everest, but he tried it,’ Crom said.
Zalokar also reportedly climbed every mountain over 14,000 feet in California and ran the New York City Marathon at age 55 in 2:43:10, winning his age group, official records show.
Zalokar’s website says he was also the first runner to win his age group in all six Abbott World Marathon Majors – races in Berlin, Boston, Chicago, New York, London and Tokyo.
‘Throughout my running, I have maintained a passion for travel & climbing, and combine them all whenever I have a chance,’ Zalokar, who had visited 137 countries, posted. ‘I want to inspire people to dream big and go out there and make it happen!’
‘I just want to keep going, trying to get faster, stronger and do the best every day, every mountain, every race,’ Zalokar told Runner’s World in 2017.
Zalokar is survived by his wife, Deb, and their son, Ian, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.
Crom said it’s unclear whether he summited Mount Clark prior to his death, but said park rangers would likely check a log book near the peak.
‘Fred always signs into the log book,’ Crom said.
Officials to date have yet to cite an official cause of death or to say what led to the extreme sports enthusiast falling as per Crom’s statement.
An autopsy is not scheduled until next week, according to a representative for the Mariposa County sheriff and coroner.