Nobody knows for sure what Frank Olding's final moments were like. But friends were not surprised to learn that he likely died trying to ensure the safety of others.
An experienced climber, Seattle attorney and former Army Ranger, Olding fell to his death Monday while climbing Disappointment Peak in Wyoming's soaring Grand Tetons.
Olding, 40, had been leading a climb up the technically demanding East Ridge of 11,618-foot Disappointment Peak. He was about 400 feet from the summit when he apparently decided the final ascent was too risky for two less experienced climbing partners, said Jackie Skaggs, spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park.
Olding, a consummate climbing teacher according to friends, had probed above the fourth of six "pitches," or segments, of the climb. Intending to find an alternate route, he began rappelling down the mountain's granite face, when his anchor failed. He fell about 50 feet to his death, Skaggs said.