Clarke County

UGA student remembered as ‘gentle’ dies in rock climbing incident

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ala. — Faye Zhang hadn’t been a member at Active Climbing for very long, but she made a lot of friends in a very short time.

Adrian Prelipceanu says it hurts and everyone feels it.

“We are all heartbroken about it. You could tell by the vibe around here,” he said.

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Adrian owns Active Climbing in Athens not far from the University of Georgia. It’s an indoor rock-climbing gym and members are greatly saddened by the passing of a friend.

“Gentle—I think—would be a good word,” friend Owen Donnelly said when describing Zhang.

Donnelly has fond memories of UGA Freshman Yutong Zhang, Faye to her friends. She died over the weekend while rock climbing in Cherokee County, Alabama. She was 18-years-old.


The university expressed its deepest sympathies to her family in Minnesota and at Active Climbing — a place Faye visited two or three times a week since starting school.

They are trying to make sense of it all.

Owen says it will take the climbing community a long time to heal.

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“It is tight-knit. So, when something like this happens, it’s very much a ripple effect. It is felt across the community,” Donnelly said.

Channel 2 Action News has learned that UGA is providing counseling to any of Faye’s classmates who need it.