Famed Seattle mountaineer dies during Patagonia climb

PATAGONIA, Argentina - The mountaineering community in Western Washington and worldwide is mourning the death of one of its elite athletes.

Seattle climber Chad Kellogg was killed by a chunk of falling rock Friday during a difficult descent of Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia, Argentina. Kellogg's climbing partner, Jens Holsten of Leavenworth, survived.

"They descend with a series of ropes. The rope got stuck either in one of the notches on the rock or in some loose rock," explains Kellogg's friend and colleague Gordon Janow.

"As they pulled the rope out, it brought down a large boulder or a fairly large rock that fell on Chad," Janow says.

Janow is programs director at Seattle's Alpine Ascents International. He compares Kellogg to a standout athlete on the level of the Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch.

"He's been not only a great climber, but he is known for his speed ascents," Janow says. "People have seen him running up Mount Rainier in not more than track shoes. So he's a very unique athlete."

Kellogg, 42, was a former climbing ranger at Mount Rainier. He is said to have climbed Rainier, and descended again, in just five hours.

An unrealized goal of Kellogg's was to ascend Mount Everest without oxygen in a world record 36 hours. While there, he planned to scatter his wife Lara's ashes, who died in a 2007 climbing accident in Alaska's Denali National Park.

Mount Fitz Roy, also known as El Chalten, is a jagged vertical peak in Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park. Moutaineers consider it a difficult technical climb.

According to the web site, Kellogg and Holsten reached the summit of Fitz Roy late February 14. Kellogg died instantly when the rock struck him. Holsten continued the descent on his own.

A local authority says no attempt will be made to recover Kellogg's body because of the complexities of the location.