VALENCIA ( — A popular Valencia High School teacher and track coach died while hiking in the Sierra Nevada, school officials confirm.

The teacher, Pat Hadley, fell to her death Thursday while reportedly climbing a ridge, alone, along Baxter Pass.

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The school said they learned of the woman’s death Friday from her husband.

“It’s a devastating loss,” Assistant Principal Rick Lopez told the OC Register. “She was a member of our family here.”

Hadley — described by fellow climbers as “accomplished,” was a faculty member at the school for the past two decades, taught ceramics, chaired the Fine Arts Department and was also a track coach for the boys cross country team as well as boys and girls regular track program.

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The teacher was on a long hike challenge that began a week ago and was set to end tomorrow.  The remainder of the hike — to climb 10 peaks in 10 days — was canceled.

Valencia High’s Principal Jim Bell eulogized the teacher by praising her athletic achievements.

“Pat’s athletic achievements include being a two-time National Champion in her age group in Mountain Bike racing (1993, 1997), competing as a member of the US team at the World Mountain Bike Championships in France, Germany, and Colorado (1995-1997), running the Catalina Marathon, and competing in Rio de Janiero, Brazil in the first unofficial World Cup Soccer tournament for women,” wrote Bell.

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He added, “Pat tragically lost her life doing what she loved. She will be missed and we ask you for your thoughts and prayers for her family.”