Man who died at Smith Rock identified as Intel engineer from Hillsboro

Chaitanya “Chai” Sathe, front, is pictured with other climbers on the summit of Mount Hood. Sathe, of Hillsboro, died Saturday at Smith Rock.(Submitted photo)

The man who died Saturday at Smith Rock State Park has been identified as a 35-year-old Intel employee from Hillsboro.

Chaitanya “Chai” Sathe was descending on a hiking trail in the Lower Gorge area of the park to begin a climbing route when he fell approximately 100 feet.

His climbing partner was ahead of him on the trail and did not see the fall.

The fall was reported about 9:40 a.m. Saturday. Sathe was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sathe was an engineer at Intel in Hillsboro. He was unmarried and did not have children. Most of his family lives in his native India, according to Sarah Bradham, interim director of the Mazamas mountaineering club.

Sathe was an active member of Mazamas and participated and assisted in many of its climbing programs, Bradham said.

“He was just a bright and shining light. He was a very friendly person and his loss is going to be deeply felt in our organization,” Bradham told The Bulletin.

The nature of the accident underscores dangers inherent in climbing, Bradham said.

“We do participate in a risky sport, and we know that accidents happen, and this unfortunately is one of those,” she said. “It sounds like a really freak accident.”

Sathe’s is the second death this year at Smith Rock State Park. In January, a person died of suicide.

There was one fatality in 2018. The body of climber Alex Reed was found on the Misery Ridge Trail about 300 feet below the point where he’s believed to have fallen from.

From 2002 to 2017, seven people died at Smith Rock.

The Deschutes County Search and Rescue program has assisted on nine service calls at the park in 2019. The calls have ranged from twisted ankles to body recovery, according to sheriff’s Lt. Bryan Husband.

In 2018, there were 16 total calls for service at Smith Rock State Park.

— Reporter: 541-383-0325,

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