California Teacher Dies in Rock-Climbing Fall at Joshua Tree National Park

A San Diego teacher has died after falling while rock-climbing at the Joshua Tree National Park in California.

Michael Spitz, aged 35, fell during a climb around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Sentinel Rock Formation, according to the press release issued by the Riverside County coroner's office. The National Park also released its own statement and gave further details regarding the discovery of Spitz's body.

National Park Service responded to a report of a deceased man on Monday around 9:50 a.m. Spitz's body was found at the base of the Sentinel Wall, a short distance from the Hidden Valley Nature Trail.

The statement said more details will be released once the ongoing investigation, led by Riverside County Corner's Office, is completed.

The school Spitz worked for, Sante Fe Christian School, issued a statement on its Facebook page Tuesday detailing the impact his death has had on the community.

In addition to rock-climbing, Spitz also took part in skydiving, surfing and backpacking, according to the school's post.

"The entire Santa Fe Christian community is deeply grieved to have learned of the sudden loss of our beloved Upper School Spanish teacher Michael Spitz in a rock-climbing accident," the statement read.

It continued: "Michael Spitz's passion for the Lord was infectious and came out in every conversation. This, combined with a love for the kids, made us a better school."

The statement also highlighted Spitz's passions outside of the school environment and praised his adventurous nature, as well as his dedication to religious endeavors for communities in Mexico.

"Outside of teaching, he was drawn to the outdoors and travel. He was a multi-sport adventure athlete, life-long surfer, avid rock climber, licensed skydiver, backpacker, and love of books and coffee.

"He co-founded Vida Outreach in Baja California, Mexico, to share the hope of Christ and help families fight the cycle of poverty. As much as anyone he modeled the calm and strength and peace that comes from a deep and abiding relationship with Christ.

The statement closed by asking people to pray for Spitz's family and the community as they deal with the loss. It also noted the Facebook page will bring further updates on any plans of remembrance for Spitz.

"Please pray for Michael's family, our Upper School students, staff and the entire community as we walk through the loss of a dear friend and colleague we knew and loved," it said.

"We will share opportunities for support and remembrance in the coming days."

Newsweek has contacted the Santa Fe Christian school and National Park for further comment.

Joshua Tree National Park
A National Park Service sign welcomes visitors to Joshua Tree National Park in California. A teacher has died after falling while he was rock climbing at the National Park over the weekend. Robert Alexander/Getty Images