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British climber Andrew Foster's wife says he died saving her from 1,000-ton Yosemite rockfall

Lucy Foster tells relatives husband dived on top of her as slab of granite the size of 13-storey building plummeted towards them

Chris Baynes
Saturday 30 September 2017 08:56 BST
Lucy and Andrew Foster were keen adventurers and went climbing most weekends
Lucy and Andrew Foster were keen adventurers and went climbing most weekends (Instagram)

A British climber who was crushed by falling rocks at Yosemite National Park was killed saving his wife's life.

Andrew Foster, 32, was trapped when more than 1,000 tonnes of rock fell from the face of the El Capitan monolith on Wednesday.

He is thought to have been scouting out the ascent from a trail with wife Lucy when a "sheet" of granite the size of a 13-storey building plummeted from a height of 200 metres.

Mrs Foster, 28, was seriously injured and has told family members she only survived because her husband jumped on top of her.

Her aunt Gillian Stephens told The Times: "She said: 'Andrew saved my life. He dived on top of me as soon as he could see what was going to happen. He saved my life'."

The couple, who lived in Cardiff, ran their own blog Cam and Bear in which they described their love of the outdoors.

"We are a young married couple who enjoy nothing more than getting out and having adventures in the mountains together," they wrote.

"We are not extreme athletes and describe ourselves simply as passionate weekend warriors."

Mr Foster proposed to his wife, who is originally from Shropshire, during a skiing holiday in the Alps in 2015 and they married the following year. The couple met at Cardiff University and were both experienced climbers and skiers.

A cloud of dust is seen on El Capitan after the rock fall that killed Andrew Foster (National Park Service)

Mr Foster, who grew up in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, worked for clothing company Patagonia and was previously employed by outdoor store Up and Under.

Staff at the Cardiff shop said in a statement: "Andy Foster was an inspirational member of the Up and Under family.

"He was a highly regarded member of staff for five years, before he took a job with Patagonia.

"He remained a dedicated friend of Up and Under, and was regularly to be found in the store. His passion for the outdoors, and mountains in particular, was enormous and infectious.

"Andy and Lucy's intentions upon returning from Yosemite were, with the help of Andy's father, to covert a van into a motor home to enable them to explore the European Alps for the next 12 months.

"It was then our hope that Andy would return to Up and Under in a part-time consultative role, whilst he also chased other ambitions.

"Andy was highly respected, loved and his loss will be sorely felt by us all.

"Our thoughts are with Lucy and his family."

The couple are thought to have been the only people injured when the slab of rock around 130ft (40m) by 65ft (20m) collapsed on Wednesday.

They were on a three-week trip to the Californian park reportedly planned to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

Friend Jess Spate wrote on Facebook said: "Rest in peace Andrew Foster. Always cheerful, never a mean word to say about anyone, up for anything, anytime.

"Never so much as a cross word even when he must have been as cold and tired as it's possible to be while still walking.

"There's nobody I'd rather climb a rapidly thawing frozen waterfall with at 2am on a work night.

"Nobody better to play hangman with at midnight in Cardiff City Hall, waiting to impersonate beautiful female ninjas. Nobody better to be topping out of a mountain route with when the weather turned."

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