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Rangers investigating the death of champion marathon runner, 61, found in Yosemite National Park

Rangers investigating the death of champion marathon runner 61 found


Endurance athlete, 61, who has scaled the world’s highest peaks, is found dead near the summit of Mount Clark at Yosemite National Park after going missing during weekend hike

  • Fred Zalokar was found dead on July 20, two days after he failed to return to Yosemite Valley as planned 
  • Officials said that the world-renowned endurance runner was last seen hiking off-trail from Yosemite’s Happy Isles to Mount Clark 
  • Zalokar’s body was located by rangers near the summit of the mountain
  • The record-setting athlete had scaled the tallest peaks of 85 countries and won all six world-marathon races within his age group 
  • According to his blog, Zakolar hoped to set an American record at this year’s USA Track & Field Masters Outdoor Championships this week
  • Authorities did not reveal his cause of death

An experienced endurance athlete who has scaled 185 of the world’s highest peaks was found dead in Yosemite National Mark after failing to return from a weekend hike.    

Fred Zalokar of Reno, Nevada, 61, was found dead on Tuesday, July 20 near the summit of Mount Clark, according to park rangers. It’s not clear how he died.

Zalokar, who has previously celebrated victories in all six major marathons, was last seen hiking from Happy Isles to Mount Clark on an off-trail route on July 17.  He was reported missing on July 18 when he failed to return to Yosemite Valley as planned, and rangers launched search efforts.

‘For something like this to happen in Yosemite Valley, an area that he knows well, something must have really gone wrong for him not to either be back early or to be back on time. That mountain is nothing compared to a lot of the others that he’s climbed,’ Zalokar’s longtime friend and climbing partner Todd Huston told KSEE Sunday. 

Zalokar was reported missing when he failed to return to Yosemite Valley as planned after a day of hiking in Yosemite National Park on July 17. His body was located on July 20 near the summit of Mount Clark, rangers said.

Zalokar was reported missing when he failed to return to Yosemite Valley as planned after a day of hiking in Yosemite National Park on July 17. His body was located on July 20 near the summit of Mount Clark, rangers said.

Zalokar's longtime friend, Todd Huston, said that the relatively short trek to Mount Clark should have been easy for the experienced climber: 'For something like this to happen in Yosemite Valley, an area that he knows well, something must have really gone wrong for him not to either be back early or to be back on time. That mountain is nothing compared to a lot of the others that he’s climbed.'

Zalokar’s longtime friend, Todd Huston, said that the relatively short trek to Mount Clark should have been easy for the experienced climber: ‘For something like this to happen in Yosemite Valley, an area that he knows well, something must have really gone wrong for him not to either be back early or to be back on time. That mountain is nothing compared to a lot of the others that he’s climbed.’

Citing an ongoing investigation, National Park Service officials did not release Zalokar’s cause of death.  

Last February, Zalokar broke the record for the fastest ascent of Mount Aural, the highest point in Cambodia, by climbing the 1813 meter mountain in just three hours and 27 minutes

Last February, Zalokar broke the record for the fastest ascent of Mount Aural, the highest point in Cambodia, by climbing the 1813 meter mountain in just three hours and 27 minutes

The trailblazing mountain runner had summited the world’s tallest peak, Mount Kilamanjaro, and the tallest peaks in 85 countries. According to Runner’s World, he may have been the first person to win his age group at the Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City World Marathon races.

Last February, Zalokar broke the record for the fastest ascent of Mount Aural, the highest point in Cambodia, by climbing the 1813 meter mountain in just three hours and 27 minutes. His latest goal was to set an American record at the USA Track & Field Masters Outdoor Championships, scheduled for July 22 in Ames, Iowa. 

 ‘I hope that I can help people build confidence, set goals, and start to reject the idea that they have to slow down [and] stop doing things they love, just because they are getting older,’ reads the ‘about’ section of Zalokar’s extensive adventure blog. ‘I want to inspire people to dream big, and then go out there and make it happen!’ 

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