Man Dies in Fall at Breakneck (Updated)

Hiker found at bottom of cliff near tunnel

A Brooklyn man died last week in a fall while hiking on Breakneck Ridge.

According to the state parks office, the body of Jason M. Kindopp, 48, was recovered from difficult terrain near the Route 9D tunnel on Monday, July 17. After state park police, forest rangers and emergency response teams developed a plan, officers rappelled about 30 feet down a cliff to reach the body, which was entangled in thick brush and trees.

The Putnam County medical examiner’s office took custody of the body and will determine the cause of death. An investigation into what happened was still underway as of July 20.

Posts by family friends on Facebook said that Kindopp had gone hiking last week but never returned. His body was spotted several days later by another hiker. According to an obituary released by the family, Kindopp fell on Thursday, July 13.

Kindopp was born April 23, 1969, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the son of Dallas and Sharon Kindopp. The family moved to Texas in 1979, but Kindopp returned to Canada to complete high school at Parkview Adventist Academy, a boarding school in Lacombe, Alberta.

He graduated in 1992 from Pacific Union College in Angwin, California, with a double major in business administration and French. Each summer, he went salmon fishing in British Columbia to pay for his tuition. He also loved to hike, climb and bike.

After spending a year teaching English in China, Kindopp pursued graduate studies in Chinese economics and politics at George Washington University, receiving his master’s in international affairs in 1995, and his doctorate in political science in 2004. While completing his PhD, he was a resident scholar at the National Committee on United States-China Relations in New York and was a Civitas Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He also co-authored God and Caesar in China, published in 2004.

He married Iris Lieb, of Linz, Austria, whom he met at the University of Beijing, on Aug. 24, 2003. From 2004 to 2007, Kindopp was with the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy firm in New York as their China specialist. In 2008 Jason and Iris moved to Beijing where he was the China director for Hawker Capital until 2012. After returning to the United States, Kindopp worked as a private consultant in Chinese economics and politics.

Kindopp is survived by his wife, parents and siblings Charmaine and Durral. His sister Gayla died in 2013.

7 thoughts on “Man Dies in Fall at Breakneck (Updated)

  1. As an avid hiker in the Hudson Highlands going back over the past decade, it’s sad to hear about these incidents. It is not surprising, however. The number of unprepared people I see on these trails is astounding. It’s not a joke, these are serious cliff faces.

  2. So sad. It’s such a busy trail and I often worry about the dangers of walking along the road near the trail entrance. But the cliffs are incredibly dangerous too…one misstep and you’re done.

  3. So sad. I went hiking recently and encountered two pit bulls. They became aggressive until the owner magically appeared moments — and I’m talking moments — later, which felt like hours. Being alone and lost in the woods is an indescribable fear when things turn and you’re alone. My prayers go out to this family.

  4. I live at the base of Mount Beacon. I deal with lost and ill-prepared hikers almost daily. Could we please communicate to our visitors that there is no water up there, it is not a park, you are outside any local jurisdiction for fire, police and ambulance. Do not hike alone. When I assist a lost visitor (I’m former EMS), I’m responsible for them and too often their pets, until they rendezvous with their party. Our visitors deserve more information.

  5. As Metro-North is responsible for bringing way too many hikers to Breakneck, even stopping at the substation just before the bridge twice on Saturday morning and twice on Sunday morning, I think it should be providing an etiquette guide to hiking. Far too many of their passengers are clueless as to the sheer terrain of Breakneck.

  6. Breakneck is very similar to Camelback in Scottsdale, Arizona, with many people from the city arriving with half a bottle of water in their hands. It is a serious hike that is also extremely safe if you avoid the optional paths on the edge and carry enough water and flashlights. In about 500 trips up there, the worst I’ve had was a severe ankle sprain. Walking on the road is the most dangerous part of the hike.