Filmmaker and climber Chelsea Walsh lost her life in a tragic rock climbing accident at Tahquitz Rock, in Idyllwild, on September 28, 2022, alongside her good friend and climbing partner, Gavin Escobar.
Chelsea was an experienced climber, a perfectionist who took the art of climbing seriously, and a relentless storyteller and adventurer who dedicated herself fully to the things she loved. Climbing was one of those things. She loved the challenge—because no challenge was ever too big for her—and she loved the space that focusing on a problem cleared in her million-miles-a-minute, brilliant brain. And most of all, she loved doing all of this with her friends. There were so many of them that she shared her love of climbing with, and so many of them that she brought into the sport, too—friends who probably never imagined themselves dozens of feet up on a rock or in a gym—purely because her love and drive and spirit were so infectious.
But because Chelsea was Chelsea, there’s also so much more to who she was. Like, first of all, she’d be so pissed that we even have to be here writing this about her, because everything that she did was about supporting and uplifting the people around her. She’d probably tell us to get through this quickly and not to be too sappy about it. But sorry, because there aren’t enough words to describe the heart, dedication, generosity, and compassion Chelsea poured into every single thing she did. She could stop you in your tracks when she focused her warm, big-hearted, unwavering attention on you—and not just because sometimes her hair was blue-green. Her passion and focus were singular. She could disarm you with her rawness and authenticity and clarity of purpose. She spoke the truth and lived in her truth every single day. She was known for being the one to cut through the bullshit and always say what needed to be said. But whenever she did, she always did it with so much grace and humor that you couldn’t help but see it for what it was—a pure expression of love and care.
As a filmmaker, a storyteller, a climber, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a partner, a co-worker, a friend, and a dog-mom to sweet Higgins, Chelsea brought a rare and unmatched combination of fierceness, kindness, courage, and love to all of her relationships. All of us who were so lucky to be in her orbit for any length of time know the feeling of magic she brought to everything she blessed with her immense talent, creativity, and heart. She was always thinking about what more she should be doing to make things in the world better. She took that responsibility seriously, and we were all the beneficiaries. Her light and inspiration extended far beyond her inner circle, and she made all of us who knew her better for it—our world is so much dimmer without her.
Why we’ve set up this page and fund
But back to the things that Chelsea really loved most, and why we’re writing in the midst of processing and feeling Chelsea’s sudden loss and wrapping our minds around everything she was and meant to us. We’re a small group of Chelsea’s friends (and climbing partners) who are mobilizing to support her family during this difficult time.
We’ve set up this page to support Chelsea’s longtime partner Craig as he navigates this unfathomable loss and manages what comes next. All donations will go toward memorial costs and anything else that’s needed so that Craig and others who are supporting can focus their attention and hearts on honoring Chelsea. All of us who know Craig and Chelsea know how strong the love was between these two, and any support you are able to give during this difficult time (including just sharing this page) means so much.
Thank you for reading, and for loving Chelsea.