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Ice climber dies along NC's Blue Ridge Pkwy
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majid_sabet


Mar 5, 2010, 5:40 PM
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Ice climber dies along NC's Blue Ridge Pkwy
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LAUREL SPRINGS, N.C. -- Emergency workers have recovered the body of a man who was ice climbing alone along North Carolina's Blue Ridge Parkway.

http://www.thesunnews.com/...-along-ncs-blue.html


saxfiend


Mar 5, 2010, 7:49 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Ice climber dies along NC's Blue Ridge Pkwy [In reply to]
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This was Ralph Fickel, a true NC hardman. He will be missed.

http://carolinaclimbers.org/forums/very-sad.html

JL


Adk


Mar 6, 2010, 6:12 AM
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Sad News!Frown


majid_sabet


Mar 6, 2010, 9:15 PM
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update


Mar. 6--LAUREL SPRINGS

The climber who died at Ice Rock along the Blue Ridge Parkway this week was a man who loved adventure, books and most of all the mountains and friends, a fellow climber says.

The National Park Service identified the dead climber yesterday as Ralph Edward Fickel, 59, of Boone.

"He was a fixture of Boone," said the fellow climber, Ryan Beasley, the owner of Rock Dimensions in Boone, a trip and rock-climbing-instruction business where Fickel worked as a guide.

"He's probably been climbing at least 30 years," Beasley said. "He loved climbing and being outdoors, and that's what his life was about."

A biography on Fickel's Web site says he pioneered more than 70 first ascents on rock and ice in North Carolina, New Hampshire and Maine, and also climbed in the Himalayas. He once worked in mountain rescue for the Appalachian Mountain Club and had been a longtime seasonal employee of the park service, working in the Blowing Rock area as an interpretative ranger for the parkway.

His body was recovered about 200 feet below the parkway, in an area about five miles north of N.C. 18. in Alleghany County. The drop-off there is very steep, including some nearly vertical places. Thick ice covers the rock both above and below the road, and climbing is allowed only when that section of the parkway is closed to traffic because of ice and snow, as it has been recently.

"It appears he was coming up from below and may have slipped," said Tim Francis, the manager of the parkway's Pisgah District.

Although the body was found about 200 feet below the road, it appeared that Fickel fell about 70 to 100 feet, said Capt. Brandon Jones of the Alleghany County Rescue Squad, which recovered the body.

Fickel suffered head trauma, authorities said. An autopsy will determine the cause of death.

Parkway maintenance workers saw Fickel on Wednesday afternoon as he set out to climb, Francis said. On Thursday morning, they noticed that his vehicle was still parked at the nearby overlook.

The maintenance workers spotted Fickel's body below the road Thursday morning and alerted emergency officials.

The recovery took about four hours, with emergency workers rigging rope lines. The rescue squad's John Tracy rappelled down. Squad members pulled Finkel's body up the rock face in a metal basket.

Beasley said that Fickel worked part time for Rock Dimensions so he could be out in the mountains he loved so much.

Fickel also had a master's degree in geography from Appalachian State University and loved to read.

"He had a big collection of mountaineering books," Beasley said. "Ralph would always give us books and write a note in it. A lot of us have books from Ralph."

Finkel would have turned 60 on March 21, and his fitness level inspired friends half his age as he continued to hike, climb and ride his mountain bike.

"He loved adventure and loved being out there," Beasley said. "He was a caring guy. A good person to climb and hang out with, a good friend."

Read more: http://dailyme.com/story/2010030600002825/boone-man-ice-fall-victim-veteran-climber.html#ixzz0hSsiHb3X


bigredscowboy


Mar 7, 2010, 12:39 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Ice climber dies along NC's Blue Ridge Pkwy [In reply to]
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Ralph will be missed those will be missed by those who knew him well and those like myself who wished they had known him better


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