‘Beloved’ San Diego Trainer Killed in Joshua Tree Climbing Accident – NBC 7 San Diego

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Friends, families and students of an educator at Santa Fe Christian Schools in Solana Beach are mourning the loss of a “beloved” Spanish teacher who died in a rock fall in Riverside County over the weekend.

Michael Spitz, 35, was seriously injured at the Sentinel Rock Formation in Joshua Tree National Park just before 5:30 p.m. Sunday and succumbed to his injuries the following day. According to a press release from the Riverside County Coroner’s Office, Spitz’s body was found just before 10 a.m. Monday at the base of the Sentinel Wall near the Hidden Valley Nature Trail.

Spitz, a San Diego resident, was an accomplished rock climber, skydiver, surfer, backpacker, and avid reader, according to a post on the Santa Fe Christian Schools Facebook page.

“The entire Santa Fe Christian community is deeply saddened to learn of the sudden loss of our beloved high school Spanish teacher, Michael Spitz, in a rock climbing accident,” the post reads in part. “Michael Spitz’s passion for the Lord was contagious and came through in every conversation.”

In addition to his work as a teacher, Spitz also co-founded Vida Outreach, a Baja California-based organization dedicated to poverty alleviation, according to the school.

The National Park Service said a multi-agency investigation led by the Riverside County Coroner’s Office is underway.

More than a thousand students attend Santa Fe Christian, a private school consisting of three high, middle and junior schools and a preschool campus in neighboring Encinitas.

The City News Service contributed to this report – Ed.