VALENCIA (CBSLA.com) — 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.
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.
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.
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.”