Three Canadian social media celebrities died Tuesday after they were swept over a 100-foot waterfall at Shannon Falls, near Squamish, British Columbia, the CBC reports. Two of the three, Ryker Gamble and Alexey Lyakh, who were two of the creators behind the popular travel YouTube channel High On Life, dove into the pool above the falls in an attempt to save Megan “Mindy” Scraper, Lyakh’s longtime partner, who’d slipped into the water. None survived. Scraper was 29, Lyakh was 30, and Gamble was 30.
Gamble and Lyakh were members of High On Life, a Canadian adventure collective that posts videos and photos of themselves doing daring stunts in exotic locales; since 2011, their exploits have earned them more than half a million subscribers on YouTube, and 1.1 million followers on Instagram. The group wasn’t without controversy; in 2016, they took a road trip through America that led them through Yellowstone, where they illegally left the beaten path to film themselves near the Grand Prismatic Spring. A year later, based on their social media posts, American authorities charged them with a number of infractions for breaking the laws at a few different national parks. Ultimately, Gamble and Lyakh returned to Wyoming, and were each sentenced to a week in jail, on top of paying thousands in fines. The pair were also banned from accessing U.S. public lands for five years.
Today, the High On Life crew posted a video remembrance for their friends, in which they implored their viewers to share memories and memorable moments with a hashtag. In response, users across social media have been sharing images and quotes.
Grief seems to bring everything to a halt. What was once possible seems irrelevant. The schedule is cleared, the mundane ignored. One moment a wave of catastrophic emotions, the next a cavern of emptiness. Death is not a request to stop living, it is a request for loving. It calls us to see fully what is in front of us. To see what needs healing. To see those for whom our hearts would break if we did not speak the words that need speaking. It asks us to tend to one another. To value this moment here and now. To face our own ephemerality. Death violently shakes us awake, time and time again. Words by @heyheatherobscura. . The only words I have right now to share are from my dear soul sister Heather. May we all send prayers to their souls as they transition.
In the wake of their deaths, a GoFundMe campaign for Gamble, Lyakh, and Scraper with a $100,000 goal has sprung up to cover the trio’s final arrangements. At press time, the fundraiser had raised $1,210 from 19 people; meanwhile, commenters on the page have voiced frustration that members of High On Life are asking for money at all, calling it “narcissistic” and “low” for social media celebrities — people who got paid to travel and engage in high-risk stunts, including cliff-jumping, in other words — to ask for such a sum. (While High on Life says its members have been “trained and involved in gymnastics, diving, stunts, and the extreme sports community for over a decade,” it’s unclear whether any of the deceased had travel or life insurance.) A separate GoFundMe page appears to have also been set up to benefit Gamble’s girlfriend, Alissa Hassan; it has passed its $10,000 goal and at press time had raised around $12,300. “Love and support goes a long way and we just want to make sure Alissa has what she needs to get through this time of grief,” the description reads, in part.