Rock climber dies after 50-foot fall in Shawangunks

Above: One of the many vertical climbing walls in the Shawangunks. Photo by Flickr user Laurel F. 

An experienced rock climber died on Wednesday, June 10 while climbing without a rope in the Mokonk Preserve in the Ulster County town of Gardiner, police say.

Andrew Barnes, a 46-year-old man from Niskayuna who had ten years of climbing experience, fell 50 feet at 8:20 p.m. on Wednesday night, according to a press release from the New York State Police. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police say.

Barnes's death is being investigated. The New York State Police, the Ulster County Sheriff's Office, the Monhonk Preserve Search and Rescue Rangers, the town of Gardiner Fire Department and the town of Shawangunk Fire Department all responded to the scene.

The Shawangunks, most of which are located in the Mohonk Preserve, feature steep cliffs and overhangs that are popular with climbers from all over the world.

Elite climbers have died there before, most recently last November, when 28-year-old Heidi Duartes Wahl, a climber from Chile, died in November after falling off the Yellow Wall climb, according to Rock and Ice