Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

News

Editor Of The Film Light, Former NFL Tight End Identified As Tahquitz Accident Victims

Chelsea Walsh and Gavin Escobar died Wednesday in an apparent rappelling accident.

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.

Chelsea Walsh, 33, was identified by the Orange County coroner as one of two climbers who died in Wednesday’s accident at Tahquitz Rock. Walsh, of Huntington Beach, California, was an experienced climber, and editor and cinematographer for the film Light, a 2021 documentary on the hidden world of eating disorders produced by Caroline Treadway. A talent behind the camera, Walsh shot for the PBS series Roadtrip Nation, where she started as an intern in 2011 before being hired. When she wasn’t filming, she studied the craft, took a course in film writing, and made her own camera gear, says Treadway, with whom she was working with on another documentary.

“She knew more than a lot of guys out there with cameras,” says Treadway. “No obstacle was too great for her. I felt like she could make any film a success, and she made me believe I could do things I didn’t believe I could do. She even got my mom to open up on camera, and no one does that. She brought magic to everything she did.”

Chelsea Walsh, in her element. (Photo: Caroline Treadway)

Wednesday’s accident appears to be rappel related. Walsh and the other victim, identified as Gavin Escobar, 31, a former National Football League tight end for the Dallas Cowboys, were found near the base of  Tahquitz Rock by a rescue team around noon on Wednesday. One climber was attached with a rappel device to a rope with knotted ends. The other climber had a device attached to their harness but was not clipped to the rope. Loose rock, for which Tahquitz is well known, may have been a factor. A thunderstorm passed through the area around the time of the accident and may have prompted Walsh and Escobar to make an unplanned descent.

 

Escobar was drafted 47th overall by the Dallas Cowboys in 2013 and remained there for four seasons, signing with the Ravens in 2017. He left the Ravens a year later, played for the budding Alliance of American Football for a year before retiring from the game to become a firefighter for the Long Beach Fire Department in California earlier this year. He is survived by his wife and two children. It is not know at this point whether Escobar was an experienced climber. This story is evolving and will be updated as details become available.

Gavin Escobar of the Dallas Cowboys in 2016. Gavin Escobar of the Dallas Cowboys in 2016. (Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty)

Related: A Double Climbing Fatality At Tahquitz Remembered