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Australian Rock Climber, 18, Dies in 40-metre Fall

The experienced university student who worked at the local gym died on Mount Ngungun

On Saturday, Peter Garlick fell in a rock climbing accident on Mount Ngungun in the Glass House Mountains of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The 18-year-old university student was an experienced climber who’d visited the area a number of times.

Onlookers watched on as he fell about 40 metres down a cliff suffering fatal injuries. Whether the big fall was caused from gear ripping, a lack of protection, a rappel error or a belay issue is not currently known.

Garlick was studying teaching at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane and was a member of the school’s rock climbing club, the QUT Cliffhangers. He spent his life climbing throughout southeast Queensland and New South Wales. He also worked at the climbing gym Urban Climb in West End, which was closed on Sunday to mourn the loss of their team member.

Other Urban Climb franchises across the Sunshine State closed at 3pm on Sunday to pay their respects. “Loved by everyone and he will be missed so deeply,” one friend said after learning of his death. “You could never forget that smile.” Leadership organization BB Queensland also shared a touching tribute, saying: “Peter, an avid and experienced climber, was doing what he loved.”

His former high school, Northside Christian College, described Garlick as “effervescent and joyful” in their tribute to the late alumni. “The Garlick family have all been an integral part of Northside Christian College for many years, and we mourn alongside them today. He will always be remembered for his effervescent and joyful personality, as well as being a truly kind, humble follower of Jesus.”

Sunshine Coast Senior Sergeant Jimmy Driver said it was a horrible incident witnessed by others. He said the coordinator of a nearby rock climbing group provided first aid to Garlick before paramedics arrived. “The mountain this afternoon was extremely busy. It was a harrowing event.” Martin Worth, who has been climbing for 30 years and was there on Saturday morning, said while he did not witness the incident, the teenager was an experienced climber.

There are nearly 200 single-pitch trad and sport climbs at Mount Ngungun, which is said to have solid rock, and a climbing history that dates back decades. It’s a popular cragging area.

Our condolences go out to Garlick’s family and friends.

Peter Garlick at Mount Ngungun in 2021