Renowned rock climber Brad Gobright of the United States fell 1000 feet to his death in Northern Mexico, while fellow climber Aiden Jacobson survived with injuries, crashing through a bush into a ledge. Gobright was 31.

Known for his fearless attitude and free soloing, which meant climbing without any safety gear, Gobright was abseiling down El Potrero Chico near Monterrey when he plunged about 300m to his death.

“Brad set up the rope for a short rappel and didn’t use the middle point,” Jacobson said in a message sent to another American climber, Ryan Borys. “I tried to pull more rope on Brads (sic) side but he said he was fine. We started simul rapping and Brad rapped off his rope.”

“It was basically a blur. He screamed. I screamed. I went through some vegetation, and then all I remember is seeing his blue Gramicci shirt bounce over the edge.”

Alex Honnold, the world’s leading free climber and who features in the Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo, paid tribute to Gobright, who once held the coveted speed record on the Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite.

“He was such a warm, kind soul – one of a handful of partners that I always loved spending a day with,” Honnold wrote through an Instagram post.

“I suppose there’s something to be said about being safe out there and the inherent risks in climbing but I don’t really care about that right now. I’m just sad for Brad and his family. And for all of us who were so positively affected by his life. So crushing. Brad was a real gem of a man,” he added.