Christopher Baillie spent last winter skydiving in Arizona and traveling around the West Coast. He was learning to become a pilot and recently beat cancer.
The 24-year-old from Forked River, N.J., who loved the outdoors died in a fall on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington on Sunday. He was hiking along the challenging Tuckerman Ravine trail with four friends when he went off the trail to the top of a waterfall. He slipped on some rocks and was washed over, falling about 100 to 200 feet to his death, authorities said. “He climbed out to get a better look, and I think he got too close to the edge and the water swept his feet out from under him,” said Capt. Kevin Jordan of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
Baillie, a licensed skydiver, had worked for Freefall Adventures in Williamstown, N.J., where he helped assign students to instructors. Owner John Eddowes says Baillie was a mild-mannered, thoughtful person who recently survived jaw cancer. “You’d never suspect he was a skydiver and an outdoorsman and a climber,” Eddowes said. “He was a great friend to a lot of people out here.”
Co-workers said Baillie supported many charities. One of his favorites was Tom’s Shoes, in which the company donates a pair of shoes for every one purchased. He had about 18 pairs. He also attended rallies and raised funds for Invisible Children, which helps rescue African children forced into the military.
Baillie was studying aviation and commercial piloting at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. He enrolled in 2009 and planned to graduate from the program next year. Laura Nesposudny, who grew up with Baillie, said he developed an affinity for living life to the fullest. “He was a beautifully inspiring guy,” she said.
His Facebook page was filled with tributes from friends. “You already made the summit and went far past, overcoming everything life threw your way,” Sean Harkins wrote.